It’s All in the Math

18 09 2008

I’m always baffled when people talk about the sophomore slump, the idea that the second year is filled with half-hearted attempts, partially-realized goals, and a general lack of actually getting things done. My second year of doing anything tends to be great; I’ve had a chance to acclimate, think some things through, and make some plans. The second year is when all that comes together. It happened in high school, in undergrad, while teaching, and, surprisingly, graduate school is no different.

I’m insanely busy, but that is expected. Having grabbed onto an extra class has really placed some constraints on my time, but I’m feeling really good about the classes and my teaching. I’ve had a year to really think through my materials and methods and am really liking the result. I’ve started to keep blogs with both classes to provide us with an audit trail and will be turning over responsibility for them over to students in the coming weeks. I really wanted to rethink how I approached the idea of literacy and technology this year, integrating it in more organic and meaningful ways that I had last year. Yes, we used the university-designed interface for readings and some conversations but what do they do when they leave this place and have to use technology in real classrooms? We’ve done a lot of talking about possible ways to use blogs in the classroom (shared writing activities with younger students, parent communication) as well as ways to incorporate other tech pieces, like creating online field trip permission forms online using Google docs and linking that to a blog entry. It’s been interesting to listen to them begin to really think about how they are going to do this in their own classrooms, especially as we consider when technology is organic and essential when it is just fluff – unfortunately, it tends to be fluff the majority of the time.

Classes are good, although there’s lots of reading to be done, as always. This weekend will be a time of paper and proposal writing in the library – it’s that time when assignments begin coming due.

Have done a little knitting, working on an Irish Hiking Scarf for my Gram, but it’s no where near done. Anne and I have coffeehouse time tonight and we’re just going to knit, sip coffee, and gossip. I need some down time. That’s the other thing about the sophomore year: I’m no longer excruciatingly awkward (just regular-type) and have a really good group of peers. We lunch and knit and plan dinners. It’s nice. Pleasant even.

Unfortunately, a sophomore year filled with work, friends, and various activities doesn’t leave a lot of room for blogging. Must work on fitting that in a little more. Or find a way to add a couple of hours to the day.

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