Monday, September 8, 2008

Librarian to Teacher a difficult transition

I recently took a position at my local Community College as an adjunct English Composition Instructor.

Having been out of work for more than six months I jumped a the chance. I have a Masters degree in Creative Writing, and a Bachelors in English Literature. I freaking love English. I also love research and argument which is the topic of one of the classes. I am a librarian after all. It was the teaching part that I failed to take into account.

Part of my problem was not being prepared. I was a last minute hire so I was rushing to create a syllabus using the samples given to me. Too bad the sample syllabi and the text books don't correspond. So it's the second class and I didn't have anything for them to read, because I haven't had the time (and I haven't slept in a couple days) to figure it out.

Just lecturing is about as fun as watching paint dry, so I tried to engage them with group work and a discussion, but all I got was blank stares and whispering in the corner. I hate to be the bitch teacher, or the too easy teacher (I had to let them go 1/2 hour early 'cuz they wouldn't talk and my material went way too fast). Add to that the fact that I look like I'm 20 and they're all college freshman and my security/ confidence in front of them shrinks exponentially with the time that passes.

I'm hoping it gets better when they have something to read before hand. I gave them two chapters before they left with instructions to come to class on Wednesday with three topics or questions for discussion. I'm also prepared for another ice-breaker, because if this goes on I'm not going to make through the semester.

Of course - I remember a professor I had once who sat at the front of the class behind a desk and read his notes for three hours (w/ one 15 minute break). So, I should be glad that I care enough not to do that.

If anyone out there reads this thing and has suggestions - please, please post them. I'm desperate.