No Fancy Name
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
so, the American Novel class...
First, it's a big Victorian Lit reunion. There are 24 or so people in the course, including 7 of us from Vict Lit, including Odd Old Guy and Very Nice Middle-Aged Couple, among others. Again, the participants in this course are definitely skewed toward non-traditional ages. There are probably only 6 people under the age of 23 in the class.

I previously posted that I wasn't so sure about the American Novel course, because the prof's reviews were terrible. Now, before you get your panties in a wad, of course I take these things with a very large grain of salt. An entire salt block, if you will. But they were terrible even with all that taken into consideration (e.g. when a student's complaint is "she's a stickler for grammar and a hard grader" I typically consider that to be a positive review!). The woman is very nice, knowledgeable and seems to be a fine prof. We (those of use from Vict Lit who were all worried she'd suck) walked out of there saying "she's not bad at all! People are stupid." So, no worries there. Except...

There are journal assignments. I hate journal assignments, all that "just write about what you thought" stuff. What I thought? In general? I give it an 80 and sometimes you can dance to it. Who cares what I thought? Ask me an actual question, though, and I'll spew forth plenty. That's what these journal assignments are—actual questions. So, I prefer to look at them as 8 1-page essay responses rather than journals. So there.

We're reading Wieland first. She had us read the first chapter in class—aloud, one paragraph per person. What's up with that, profs? Why do you do that? Really. I'd like to know. Because it only ends up embarrassing people, and that's not cool. People don't like to be called out on their lack of ability to pronounce "big words". I'm not talking about myself, because I personally like reading aloud, but the Vietnamese girls sitting to my left were terrified, and while they didn't struggle with the "big words," did drop every single article and preposition out of their reading.

I can see where some of the students who gave bad ratings to the prof did so because of her manner of correction in in "she will correct you when you're wrong." I see this as a good thing. Sometimes it's fine to continue discussions with "Ok, that's an interesting point, but what about [something actually relevant and correct]" so as not to have the student feel incredibly stupid. BUT, if you're wrong, you're wrong. For instance, when asked "How many of you have read an 18th century novel" and Annoying Suckup Middle-Aged Woman says "I've read Jane Eyre," I would EXPECT the prof to look at the woman and say "That's a 19th century novel." Actually, I'd expect the phrase "you idiot" to be appended to the response. But it wasn't, so the prof gets points for restraint.

What was I saying? Oh yeah—it'll be a fine course.


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