So I’m done teaching (for two months). It’s been an experience. In the interest of exploring multimodal composition, I thought I would take this opportunity to incorporate visuals into the discussion of my experience.
I was worried about lecturing, so I tried to avoid it as much as possible, but sometimes it was necessary. There was a particularly rough moment when we were discussing logical fallacies and I was trying to explain why the example of a post hoc fallacy one group had come up with was a little iffy. Suddenly I realized I’d been saying a lot of words and none of them seemed to be following. (I’m sure this was exacerbated by the fact that one of my primary means of coping with stress is intellectualization—and thus saying things like “confounding variables” and “demonstrably concurrent” and sounding like an academic snob.) So I cut my losses, said, “There’s a lot of grey area. But grey area is good, because that’s where arguments happen,” and moved on to their next example.
Then there’s the assignment. It asks them to think more explicitly about their argument, I think, than others have, and I tried to nudge them in that direction, but they didn’t always respond very well. Many of them seemed uncomfortable having to make a causal argument about an issue rather than just take a position on it. Many times I told them, “Don’t just focus on your issue. Really pay attention to the argument you’re constructing.” I hope it helped. I hope they moved past that initial panic response.
Because, in part, of the aforementioned intellectualization, and because of my general demeanor, I can come across as cold, overly professional. In the past, I’ve been compared to a robot. I hope my students didn’t feel put off. I really do like most of them—even though “casual argument” showed up in place of “causal argument” in their discussion board posts too many times for it to be a typo.
It’s been an interesting three weeks. I think I should feel more confident as a result. I’m not sure I do yet. How about you all?