This week on the blog: evaluate the course. What you learned, what you wish you would have learned. What went well, what could have been improved. Suggestions for future courses I might teach. You don’t have the benefit of anonymity like you do with the in-class evaluations, but you do have the benefit of time–the whole week, potentially, to brainstorm an answer.
Due when it’s always due.
I know that some of you fell enough behind on journals that you won’t be able to get the full 100 points for completing 10 of them on time, and that’s all right. Here is your space for late journal posts. You’ll get 5 points instead of the usual 10, but that’s better than the alternative.
Please make this your home for all late journal posts. I have long since stopped checking the old threads, so if you post there, I won’t see it and you won’t get credit.
Make sure you specify which week you’re writing for at the top of the post. Also keep in mind that you can still complete this week’s post and next week’s on time, so there’s a full 20 points right there.
This week on the blog, I’d like you to reflect on the “real-world application” of your English composition course. You could write, for example, on whether or not you think your writing courses have real-world application for you, or whether or not they even need to. You could also reflect on the strangeness of the term: is college somehow not part of “the real world?” Should everything in your undergraduate education go towards getting you a paying job (as the above illustration half-jokingly suggests), or does higher education serve another purpose?
You all don’t have to kiss up to me—your grades are 2/3 decided at this point, anyway. If you think the class will be useful to you as you embark on your career, I’ll be happy to hear that. If you think it won’t be useful in a career sense, but you think what we do here is important anyway, I’ll be even happier. But if you didn’t get a lot out of the class, it’s important for me to hear that, and now would be the time to say so.
Last reading, comrades.
Richard Rodriguez, “Going Home Again” p. 75
Some really cool images here at the Abandoned Geography site.
Use a photo/the website as a jumping off point. Have you ever been inside an abandoned place? Where was it? What were you doing there? Was it scary at all? Was it sad? What do people add to a place when they’re present, and what does that place lose when they’re gone?
You could also take one of the pictures and write a 200+ word story about it.
There are only two days of reading left in this class. Let’s make them count.
Brent Staples, “Just Walk on By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space” p. 192
Michael Chabon essay (Blackboard PDF)
Consider the following, a quote from the bizarre and wonderful podcast Welcome to Night Vale:
“When we talk about teenagers…none of us are talking to the teenagers that exist now, but talking back to the teenager we ourselves once were—all stupid mistakes and lack of fear, and bodies that hadn’t yet begun to slump into a lasting nothing. Any teenager who exists now is incidental to the potent mix of nostalgia and shame with which we speak to our younger selves. May we all remember what it was like to be so young. May we remember it factually, and not remember anything that is false, or incorrect. May we all be human—beautiful, stupid, temporal, endless. And as the sun sets, I place my hand upon my heart, feel that it is still beating, and remind myself: Past performance is not a predictor of future results. Stay tuned now for whatever happens next in your life.”
My question to you, readers, is what do you make of this? Most (if not all) of you are still technically teenagers. Do you feel that the adults in your lives see not so much you as they are seeing their former selves? Conversely, you might reflect on how you perceive, your own younger self. Do you look back on your middle school selves (as I do) in embarrassed horror?
You know the word count I expect. You know when it’s due.