Thursday, September 22, 2011

Just flew in from Little Switzerland, and...

This year's CWPA was, as always, fulfilling, friendly, and enlightening in the extreme.

The focus was on grant writing and all it entails, from planning projects, to finding funding sources, and on to starting and polishing proposals. Several new ideas for medium- to long-range plans popped up, not the least of which involves finding financial support for the rhetorical analysis Bella and Damian are still performing on REU students' research writing.

Beyond the professional fulfillment the conference gave me, I benefited from the trip personally, as well. Once again the warmth and welcome of my colleagues in composition and rhetoric reinforced my belief that I've made the right decision in moving my career in this direction.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I'm really enjoying both courses I'm teaching this semester. As is to be expected of a course in which everyone in the room knows well ten or more of the others, my Abstract class is often rowdy, but engaged. The same can be said of the second section of Precalc. I made the mistake of calling them "squirrelly" the other day, in response to their giggliness, and this only made them giggle more. It's a good group, though, and they work hard. Their primary strength as a class, as I told them today, is their willingness to ask questions: they're completely unafraid to "look dumb" in front of one another, and this fact often makes them quick and effective learners. In contrast, my early morning section is quiet and focused, different but equally bright.

I'm going to take a few minutes at the end of class tomorrow to do a one-third-of-the-way class survey, to get the goods on the students' point of view. We'll see how much my take on our classes matches up with theirs.

Also: too early to tell what'll happen for sure, but there are some big opportunities drifting my way. More to come as time permits...

1 comment:

Jean Marie said...

Man, I think some interesting research could be done on my Mathematical Modeling students' writing this semester. Assignment one was rough, but I get the feeling I'm going to get some rockin' assignment twos.