Syllabus Plot Treatment

Last year I threw myself into the adventure of being an Adjunct Clause. I freaked out about what to wear, what articles to assign, how I was going to talk in front a bunch of college students, and other various and sundry things. I survived that experience. I was awkward in front of the class, but rigorous in my messages to the students. I was reasonably consistent. Every day I was impressed that I didn’t trip and fall in front of my class and that I could string words together mostly.

This year I’m going to do better. Now that I know I can survive a semester talking in front of a class twice a week, I’m going to talk better, be more in control of discussion, and have fewer PowerPoints. Halfway through the semester I realized that the kids wrote down what they thought they needed from each slide and then zoned out.

I knew the slides were mostly for me, to keep me on task and organized. So I began writing out index cards instead and gave the lecture from cards. Students paid better attention because they weren’t sure what they needed to write down.

The other thing that worked really well last year was writing exercises and discussions. Learn by doing, folks! I’ve been thinking a lot about how my knowledge of writing underlies my editing, tutoring, and teaching work. So in preparation for being more prepared this semester, I have written a syllabus plot treatment.

Every day has a theme/subject/part of the writing process I wish to impart to bored young minds. Then I write down some points to make or exercises to do. They’re going to write until their little hands fall off. And I’ve discovered some ordering issues in my setup of the days along the lines of having “here’s how you install windows” before “here’s how you frame a wall.”

What are your minor successes this week?

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2 responses to “Syllabus Plot Treatment

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