Not that teaching English was my direction of choice to begin with. There’s nothing wrong with it – if I didn’t have the amazing English teachers I’ve had so far, I wouldn’t be pursuing it as a degree. However, watching my current English 101 prof is making me see how I certainly would not be able to cope.
Yesterday I learned his age, and was shocked to find out he’s as old as my older brother, and not younger than me. He definitely tries to be the cool, laid back prof, and tries to instill equality within the class between teacher and student. This is great in theory, however I am seeing the flaws in practice.
Every one wants to BS, no one wants to get through the lesson. And the poor guy is trying so hard to keep people on track without stifelling them and their thought processes, and wanting to encourage confidence in the students. But every concept, idea or exercise we begin turns into a half an hour of examples from the class reitterating what he’s trying to say, opposed to just getting on with it. I can see him unwillingly getting frustrated, but an almost pleading in his eyes for every one to just shut the hell up so he can talk.
Thus is the problem with being the cool teacher.
He’s been encouraging the students to present their drafts of this paper to the class to give class feedback, which is a really great thing. But because of the great support he’s been giving us, the class feels the need to do the same for their classmates – which is great. However, no one is giving any real feed back. While voice is encouraged in the papers, many of them are almost written like a diary rant, which might sound unfair to me. And every one applauds those
entries papers because they sound like they’re just having a conversation with their peer.
Poor English Prof asks questions to the class about the voice in trying to steer them in the direction of pointing out that it should sound more academic, but no one is catching on, or if they are, they’re not voice it, myself included.
The sad truth of it is that while it’s encouraging to each student to be told to be themselves and write as themselves, and see that their classmates love it and support them, it won’t do them any favors in later classes. They’ll have a hard time standing on their own with other teachers that may not be so lax. They are not academic papers. They are conversational pieces.
If I were the teacher, I’d be a terrible stickler. I’d mark down for all the I’s and You’s that come up in the paper, and the slang, the standard terms such as “hey”, “you know”, or anything else that I would write in this blog, really. It’s so ironic though, that I know I would do that, since I rebel so much with being told how to write.
I don’t think I could be an English Teacher. Everyone would hate me, and I’d feel bad for being so hated. But, my students would know how to write an essay when I’m done with them.