Monday, January 21, 2008


I've built up a rapport with my students. It's something upon which I pride myself, but, after this first week of classes, I have begun to ask myself if there is such a thing as too much of a relaxed classroom atmosphere. I caught myself going off on a tangent on Friday. It wasn't a long tangent (only about 1 minute of classtime) The students were engaged throughout the class, but I walked out of the class afterward and shook my head. "What did that tangent have to do with anything?" "Did I just waste my students' time with that?" I like presenting the students with an atmosphere where I'm just like them, but I happen to be able to help out with writing and lead classroom discussion. Those of you who have read my teaching philosophy know that I like to see myself as a coach in the classroom. I like being the person who can joke around with their students before we get down to the meat of the class material. There are conversations going on while I take role, the first few minutes of class are usually reserved for "what did you do this weekend? what did you do over the weekend? What did you do Wednesday night" sort of banter and there's a casual dialogue. It's the way I like the class, and the students seem to be accepting of this atmosphere. However, lately I'm starting to wonder if this is the best way I should be running the class. I like running the class that way. the students like the class. But, is it as effective as I can be teaching?

1 comment:

BeardedFury said...

To answer your question: No. Your approach is not as effective and/or efficient as it needs to be. Mostly it sounds to me like you're wasting a great deal of your students' precious time. After all, a minute here, a minute there of tangential and, I daresay, irrelevant "banter" (as you call it) adds up to 48 minutes of time wasted for the semester--and that's if you only waste 1 minute per class on average, and you and I both know you waste at least 5 times that amount in each and every class period, MINIMUM! So, at an average of 5 minutes per class wherein you are (in all likelihood) espousing your perverse brand of Atheistic, pro-Capitalistic dogma to a captive audience, you'll have utterly ruined no less than 240 potential teaching/learning minutes. The shame of it all, Brunson!! Honestly, how can you live with yourself in light of the public humiliation that you are sure to reap as a consequence of your confession?

That said, I burn at least that much time, if not more, in a given class. And sometimes I'm not even talking, I'm just looking at them looking at me until it becomes so uncomfortable for all involved that the only way out of it is for me to flash them a bearded shit-eating grin and then casually carrying on like none of that business actually happened. You should grow a beard and try it sometime; you might find doing so a rewarding experience.