Classroom Advice for a New Teacher

All new teachers want to know what to expect. Maybe you arrived at this article asking the same question: What can I expect as a new teacher in a college classroom? What should I do on the first day of class? The first week? How should I grade? How many papers should I assign? What…

Teaching Short Stories in Writing Classes

Last week, we talked about the benefits of teaching poetry in literature-based writing courses. I explained that, in my writing classes at the University of Georgia, I incorporate four major genres of literature, and I began to make the argument that a semester of literary study can be deeply beneficial for students who are learning…

Teaching Poetry in Literature-Based Writing Courses

This post on teaching poetry begins a four part series that explores literature-based writing classes. In this series, we’ll explore the concept of literature-based writing courses and how we, as writing teachers, can use literature in our composition courses to teach writing. In order to gain a full perspective on this discussion, I’m going to…

Teaching Without a Plan

Teaching without a plan makes the classroom exciting and a little dangerous. In a good way. Dangerous because it’s a bit of a gamble. You never quite know for sure what will happen. Sometimes the house wins and you go back to your office and close the door, wondering what the hell just happened. These…

This is Why I Teach

Right on cue, my students have gone and done something awesome to remind me why I teach. They apparently anticipated yesterday’s post, making it a good week to return to my teaching theme. You might remember last semester when I wrote about a new teaching experiment I called “Film as Composition.” It was brand new…

“Poetry is for Wusses” and Other Myths

“I watch football every Sunday; I also love poetry.” I always tell this to my English 1102 classes on the first day. At UGA, Comp II is literature-based. We read and write about poetry, short stories, drama, and film. Most of my students walk into class with a preconceived notion about literature. Especially poetry. Somewhere…

Experiments in Multimodal Composition: Going Beyond the Traditional Paper in Freshman Writing Classes

This semester I’ve been doing a lot of experimentation in my freshmen writing classes. Mainly in the form of multimodal composition. I really want to challenge the boundaries of what it means to “compose” pieces of communication. The traditional written essay is fast fading–both with regard to student interest, and also with relevance to contemporary…

Attack of the Robot Graders!

Michael Winerip’s recent New York Times piece entitled “Facing a Robo-Grader? Just Keep Obfuscating Mellifluously” basically just confirms everything we already knew about computer grading. Nothing to see here. Keep moving. Still reading? Oh. Fine then. The article is about the new “e-rater” by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which can grade 16,000 essays in…