Classroom Victories

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tee_bee:
My master's-level class on emergency management gave knockout presentations tonight. They used powerpoint, but really well, their presentations were tight, focused, well-researched, and highly professional. I learned more in one night listening than in three nights teaching. Win.

Larry, I got goosebumps reading your story. I think this is going to be a great thread.

peppergal:
One year, while teaching freshman comp, I asked my students on the first day of class to write down some genres that they read for fun (i.e. not school-related).  One student wrote, "Honestly, I have never read anything for fun in my life.  I hate to read."

Three weeks later, he came bouncing into class looking extremely enthusiastic about something.  We had just started a new novel (I had assigned the first three chapters), and I started with my usual question about first impressions.  The non-reader student raised his hand, and before I even finished saying his name burst out with, "This is the greatest thing I have ever read.  I haven't slept for two days and I skipped my physics class because I had to finish it, even though you only assigned the first three chapters and I just couldn't put it down!"  The rest of the class laughed a little, but it started a really good discussion about why the novel was so compelling, how it grabbed their attention (it turned out that they had all read ahead), etc.

Six months later I ran into that same student browsing in a local bookstore.  He told me that I had changed his life, and that since my class he was actually reading for fun and enjoying it.  We had a nice conversation about what I read for fun, and I recommended some books for him.  It just gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling.

notaprof:
Quote from: peppergal on November 20, 2009,  4:44:07 AM

One year, while teaching freshman comp, I asked my students on the first day of class to write down some genres that they read for fun (i.e. not school-related).  One student wrote, "Honestly, I have never read anything for fun in my life.  I hate to read."

Three weeks later, he came bouncing into class looking extremely enthusiastic about something.  We had just started a new novel (I had assigned the first three chapters), and I started with my usual question about first impressions.  The non-reader student raised his hand, and before I even finished saying his name burst out with, "This is the greatest thing I have ever read.  I haven't slept for two days and I skipped my physics class because I had to finish it, even though you only assigned the first three chapters and I just couldn't put it down!"  The rest of the class laughed a little, but it started a really good discussion about why the novel was so compelling, how it grabbed their attention (it turned out that they had all read ahead), etc.

Six months later I ran into that same student browsing in a local bookstore.  He told me that I had changed his life, and that since my class he was actually reading for fun and enjoying it.  We had a nice conversation about what I read for fun, and I recommended some books for him.  It just gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling.


This kid could have been my second child.  Since I am not certain exactly who finally sparked his interest in reading, I will thank you instead, peppergal.  Way to go!

compdoc:
Okay, larryc and peppergal, those are great stories. They are the kind of tales that keep us teaching, I expect.

grasshopper:
The set up:

First year student, taking my intro course, comes to see me after class to discuss ways that she could fit her research interests into a final paper topic for my course.

Although she has only been in school for about a month and a half at this point, she already has a ton of primary material on her research. This student has been digging deep, and with no methodological or research training, she has taken the long road to find a lot of this stuff. It quickly becomes clear to me that she needs some instruction in theory and methodology stat, because she is a runaway train. So I suggest some resources she may want to use (search tips, library resources, etc). In the meantime, I photocopy maybe half a dozen relevant articles for her.

At my next office hours the next week, she comes in to see me. She has accessed ALL of the resources I have suggested, and more besides. I give her the articles.

About a week and a half later, she has read all of the articles, and asks if she can come see me during my office hours to discuss them.

This goes on and on. Every week, she's amazing me.

Did I mention she's a single mother who commutes?

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