Well, I would like to celebrate, but honestly I’m too exhausted. I have finally completed all of my papers, presentations and projects for the semester, and I haven’t an ounce of energy left. I knew graduate school would be a lot of work, but I did not expect to feel so drained at the end of the semester. I supposed the added work and pressure of teaching two sections of college composition was a contributing factor to my exhaustion. However, I would have to say that I consider this semester a success (I’m still alive after all). I’ve learned so much from each of my classes, particularly my Theories of Writing course, and I honestly feel that all graduate teaching assistants at CSU should be required to take the course. Perhaps if the course were presented and taught as an introduction to rhetoric and composition they would all be required to take the course. But as we’ve discussed throughout the semester, Rhet/Comp is still struggling to be seen as a legitimate field of study.
Because of this class I’ve given serious consideration to the course that I teach and the assignments I give. I, of course, will still assign the 5 major papers required by the department, but I want to add in other forms of writing. We teach our students that the term “text” applies to more than just words on paper, and I would like to challenge my students to produce various forms of text. Of course, the mere thought of assigning and assessing oral and/or visual presentations is intimidating, as it is not something I have done before. I am much more comfortable working with print texts, although, as indicated in my previous post, I am not a fan of grading those either. Still, students, after they graduate and become “adults,” will be asked to produce texts through multiple media. Whether the purpose of a college education is to create well-rounded individuals, prepare students for the work force, or simply say that you can follow through with something, the composition course within the overall academic system can provide students will practical skills, but those skills may lose some of their practicality if they are confined only to paper.
My students say that they enjoyed the course (surely not all of them are being 100% honest), and I am glad, but I feel there is definitely room for improvement in the way I teach and how well I help my students develop the literacy skills they will need for the rest of their collegiate careers and their lives after they graduate. It is the job of an educator to push and challenge her students and also herself. I’m still not sure I count as an “educator” yet, but as they say, you must “fake it ’til you make it.”