Highlights from the past few months

Before I do my bit for the planned "Things we like" segment, here're some of the memorable moments from my TUWSNBN class:

1. Getting an email apologising for always falling asleep in class (and also reassuring me that "it's not you Professor, but the temperature of the room)

2. Kids apologising for handing things in late but then continuing to do so. I found this more amusing than I should because, each time, they were very apologetic and it was the same kids who didn't hand in their stuff in time every time.

3. Using the word "grown-up" heaps of times. I didn't take attendance (once I knew their names) and told them it was their own responsibility if they fancied coming to class (or not). Surprisingly enough, there was probably only one class (the Monday before the long Thanksgiving break) that had about 1/3 of my kids missing.

4. Having half my class laugh when we discussed "snowballing" (as a technique for ethnographic interviewing) and the rest of the class ask each other "but, why is that funny?" and then asking "Professor, why is that funny?" (I told them to go look online as I wasn't about to explain the slang version of "snowballing" in a bloody TUWSNBN class!)

5. Being called "Professor". Teehee.

6. Having a "Research tip of the week" each week, each named after a (famous-ish) sci-fi/fantasy TV show or book. My Doctor Who tip (about timelines and during the Genealogy class) was the most successful. My Douglas Adams tip was the most depressing. Why don't kids read DA these days? They should. I think I'd be more pleased if they ended up having read DA (after my little sermon on him) than actually getting research methods (which, we all know, is impossible to get)

7. Realising there's just too much going on in this class (and planning on reformatting it drastically for next semester). It's always better to have done it and found that out than to have presumed, in advance, I suppose. Hmm...

8. Realising all my "real world" examples were about football (Liverpool, mainly) or rugby and cricket. Rugby, especially the All Blacks, was a great teaching tool--using the example of the Haka to show how ethnographic and relational research differed.

9. Learning a lot about my kids' topics as well as about kids in general. Being pleasantly surprised as how responsible they all were and how much fun it was to talk to them. Though being told that "Oh, I overslept and thus didn't come to class" fell under the category of "things I'd rather not have known about" or "couldn't you think up a better excuse than that?".

10. Being asked why I was wearing a T-shirt with pickles on it (it was a T-shirt with Maori masks, brought back by LilSis2 from her summer trip to Kiwiland).

The best bit? Changing our social interaction style from having them run away (or, cross the path) when they saw me to actually having them come and talk to me when they saw me about. This took time--my exhortations of coming to talk to me worked less than my plonking myself down in the uni coffeeshop and yelling out "Oy! X, come here, will you?" when my kids walked past.

Most of them are leaving after this semester. Or, after the next semester. A few have had interviews for jobs and are getting advice about what to do after they finish. They ask me how I knew I wanted to do this (teach, I suppose, and research). I don't know how to tell them that, when I finished my Masters, I told my advisor (whom I met at last year's BigNameConference) that I never wanted to return to uni again. Apparently, I danced a jig* around his office and told him I would never "darken the doors of a university again".

And, look at me now--six years later**, slaving away at a flunkie-ing gig while I (try) to impart knowledge, facilitate discussions and write and despairing whether I shall ever finish. I'm hardly the poster child for academia.

* As E would tell you, this is not normal behaviour for me, by any means.

** I feel I should justify the passage of time by saying I actually worked in the "real world" for two years.


Post a Comment

<< Home