Teaching means learning, and so help me god, am I ever. I inherited my current course syllabus from my supervisor, and it worked swimmingly last time I taught this course. This time around, not so much, if this batch of papers I'm agonizing over is any indication.
That's OK; lesson learned. I'm taking notes about how I'm going to re-structure the course next time I teach it. There appears to have been too big a gap between the early papers and the big research paper, so I think I'm going to break the process down into a few more short papers before the research paper. I'm also going to give students more leeway with topic choices; they'll have to pass the topics by me, of course, but I hope that by tapping into subjects that they already know at least something about or have some interest in, I'll receive better products. I realize that even I would've struggled to drum up an interest in some of the topics offered in their reader (I'd also have found a way to make a given subject work, but that's a topic for another post...).
I'm also going to spend more time addressing issues I didn't think had to be addressed in Composition II... Thanks, education system; don't worry, I don't mind playing the role of triage nurse. Gah. I really do wonder if I wouldn't be better off trying to staunch the grammatical bleeding from within the system. Can 9th through 12th graders really be much worse than the 13th graders I already teach?
This batch of essays is painful and depressing to grade; I hope for their sakes they take me up on my optional revision opportunity.
Now playing: The Mammals - Do Not Go Quietly Unto Your Grave