ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
[personal profile] ajnabieh
This is a mantra I tell myself: not all students are like me. I remind myself of it a lot. Not all students are like me: therefore, I should not be surprised that they balk at being asked to read 150 pages a week. Not all students are like me: they may not be interested in doing extensive research papers, so I should make sure that they have opportunities to do different sorts of final projects that allow them to meet the educational goals I have for the class. Not all students are like me: they may not abhor the idea of group work, so I can provide opportunities for small group work in class and on projects. Not all students are like me: they may not feel comfortable speaking up in class, so I should provide alternative means of participation integrated into the classroom.

Some of this is temperament: I was a future professor, of course I'm different from my students who may not be the types to want to read and write and do research all day. Some of this is opportunity: I was living on campus and away from family, working no more than 15 hours a week, in a very traditional university environment; I'm neurotypical, I studied in my first language, and in an environment that was culturally matched to my experiences and identities. My students are not like me, and if I assume they're like me, I'll structure my courses in ways that don't do them justice and don't help them master the material.

I think I've learned this lesson, but then again something hits me about. This week it's this:

Why do my students want to do the reading so damn early????

I was always a "do homework the night before" type. I still am; the evening before I teach, you'll find me curled up on the couch prepping, and not a minute earlier than that. (Sometimes, if I'm very organized, I'll start prepping for Monday's class on Saturday evening.) I plan my schedule week-by-week, and usually day-by-day. One of my classes is scheduled Wednesday/Friday; I don't even think about it until Wednesday morning, unless I have grading to do.

Except my students all seem to want to do their homework so far in advance. When I hadn't uploaded the entire semester's worth of reading in the first week of class (because I had to find time to do all the necessary scanning), they started getting antsy. I get emails about the readings for Friday's class on Saturday (asking details about how to write their reaction papers). Students have been bugging me about this Friday's reading since last Friday (and I legitimately couldn't tell them what it would be, because I hadn't chosen it yet--we're doing topics they generated at midterm).

I can't really be mad, because they want to be responsible and on top of things. But it's very hard to remember that not all students are like me when they're asking me to do things differently than I want to do them.

Deep breath. Not all students are like me. Time to upload more readings.

from network:

Date: 2013-11-04 08:25 pm (UTC)
recessional: a cat peeks out of a desk (Default)
From: [personal profile] recessional
My experience with my undergrad is we all wanted to frontload readings: we could do readings on buses during our commutes, we could do readings on our breaks at work, we could do readings in twenty minute bursts between classes while grabbing food. The more we did readings way in advance and in those snatched bits of time, the more we could dedicate actual chunks of reasonable working time to papers and projects that required space, time and full physical engagement.

Which meant we were still doing a lot of last-minute homework at 12AM! It's just we were doing the five page paper due tomorrow, rather than the readings. >.>

(no subject)

Date: 2013-11-04 08:57 pm (UTC)
wendelah1: (spiritual autobiography)
From: [personal profile] wendelah1
I think students need to get a sense of what their entire semester is going to look like, for all of their classes, not just yours. They have tests, papers and reading to do for four or five classes, and possibly other commitments, like family, church, work. All through nursing school, I worked 24 hours a week, beginning on Friday night, with my last shift from 3:00 to 11:30 pm. My first class was Monday morning, usually at 8:00 am. I had to get my reading done early or it wouldn't get done at all.
Edited Date: 2013-11-04 08:59 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-11-05 02:51 pm (UTC)
liseuse: (Default)
From: [personal profile] liseuse
My students were like that, and luckily because I knew that prepping for stuff a few days before and working on my thesis and working at my part-time job were not all going to work together, I had put together my secondary reading lists well before teaching started (the primary stuff was all the responsibility of the convenor) but I found myself doing the "reminder-reading" the night before whereas they had all read it a couple of (or more) weeks before.

Part of my applauded their foresight, but it wasn't until I set mandatory written responses to one of the discussion questions (only ~500 words or so) that they started to be able to recall the reading that they had done so many weeks prior. I mean, it's fine at the beginning of the semester, but by week five no-one remembered what they'd read in week one, and it meant discussion was a struggle.

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