I showed up early last night before Night Riders. Of course, my comrade-in-arms for punctuality, Nicky, was also there quite early to get things started. Fairly soon thereafter, Gwynne showed up to ride. Nicky and I had met Gwynne at Trinity when she had first moved here from Michigan and it was then that I had found out she herself just finished a PhD focusing in education research and policy. So, anyways, here we are at the Chat, Nicky, Gwynne, and myself, and I just start going on, rambling off about my classes, my students, my experiences, my expectations and so on and so on and so on. I realize in hindsight (obviously, by definition of that is where the realizations lie (double entendre implied in that brisk little word 'lie,' no?)) that I was being far too hot-headed and borderline nonsensical (not difficult for me to do).
I started going off about expectations because one student remarked off the bat how he was only taking this course as the easier alternative to a similar style course. This led me to a one-sided conversation (bless those two and their ear-lending) of how the high school kids stacked up against the community college students and this led to more harping on responsibilities and how this would bode when they turned in their first papers (which--with the exception for some smaller assignments--I had not yet seen), and this led to something else equally as vast and that I attempted to streamline and present, here, over this wooden picnic bench, covered and carved with every sort of dirty joke and comment one could conjure, drinking a beer in the sun, before a social bike ride.
My point to all of this is that when I was through with whatever poor diatribe I was extolling, Nicky just turns to me and says (and this is a paraphrase): "But you just said you haven't seen their work yet." And I am sure Gwynne, being the education researcher that she is, has tomes of insight for a weigh-in here as well. But the point is, following Nicky's response, is that I have created these expectations and in this creation I have already manifested this huge disservice to my students and to myself. I believe in them, in all of them, that was never the issue, what was at stake here was my near-panic, my pessimistic outlook of our future together as student and instructor. I know already at this point that I want to teach solely in a community college atmosphere and that I would be perfectly fine with never having to step foot into a high school again, but I need to play the hand I was dealt with here (employing this cliche for the sake of brevity, my thoughts are all over the place, clearly; I leave for teaching my night class in 45 minutes or so), I need to see where my expectations in this game decide to lead me.
I am still processing everything about last night's interaction and how this all fits into my teaching methods and philosophies (if even such a thing exists for the latter). Additionally, I need to still feel out my role as doctoral student (this Blip is from my criticism and theory text, specifically a passage from last week's Wolfgang Iser reading), and how I am engaging in my assignments, my readings, my writings, my instructors. Everything is so confusing. What do I expect to get out of this? What should I expect? The rhetorical layers in this query are palpable.