Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Past and present

Chatted on Facebook with one of my former advisees earlier today, and his advice to me regarding the blog: More stories, fewer photos. ("Write more about us!" he said, and I thought, you guys are gone, away at college, what am I supposed to write? But here goes anyway ...)

Speaking with former students is a good guage as to how I'm doing as a teacher. I always ask them how it's going, and if they think they were prepared. Now that they're gone, there's no need for them to lie. It turns out that speaking with former students is also a good way to plan what I am going to say to current students. So ...

All day today, in all my classes, I said, "You guys remember Jag? I chatted with him earlier. And guess what he said about college?"

Students in one of my classes were pretty funny about it:

"He said you did an excellent job of preparing him for college!"

"Well, something like that. But he said more."

"He said that the warm-ups really helped. He said you're one of the best teachers. He said college is easy compared to your class!"

"No, actually he said almost the exact opposite. He said that college is great, but that there's a lot of reading and writing, way more than he expected." And I told them that I've recently had emails from two other former students, and they said the same exact thing.

And then the kids all knew what was coming.

For my English 12 kids, read the entire chapter of The House of the Spirits, there's a quiz tomorrow. For journalism kids, sign up for on-line tutorials. For English 11, read a chapter in a textbook and revise an essay, including new information from the chapter.

"Thanks a lot," my current students are now saying to my former students.

And I just smile, saying, "I don't want to get the same email message from you in a year or two."

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