Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Some Concluding Comments for the Fall 2013 Term at Oklahoma State University

I realize that I have been far from diligent in maintaining this webspace this term.  I will not make excuses for the deficiency, although I will note that it seems to have not affected student performance substantially; the average grades in the four classes I taught this term seem to be much as they were at comparable institutions, as does the distribution of individual assignment grades.  I take some small comfort in knowing that my deficiency has not translated into student deficiency.

Even so, I am annoyed by my lack of performance even more than I have in the past been with demonstrated lacks from my students.  They are in a position to learn, and so errors from them are to be expected.  I am still learning--I am not so arrogant as to believe that I know all that I need to know--but I am supposed to have demonstrated a work ethic superior to that I expect of my students, here and elsewhere.  That I have not done so galls me, despite the lack of actual and enforceable consequences upon me for the lack.

There is perhaps a teachable thing in this.  Even if I am not strictly accountable to others for what I do or do not do here, I am accountable to myself for my in/actions.  The intrinsic motivation demonstrated (if abortively) is something I hope that my students will develop in their own lives as readers and writers; to truly engage with the written word requires that the reason for doing so come from within rather than without.  Indeed, the purpose of the external motivation of the GPA and accolade is to get students--any of us who read and write, really--accustomed to engaging with text so that the internal drive to attend to text and respond to it in kind can be given mental space and material to develop.

Even if it is the case that the internal motivation sometimes falters, as I have shown this term, it is the only real means to find an authentic readerly method and writerly voice, and it is towards the development of those in my students that my teaching is in no small part directed.

No comments:

Post a Comment