student-teacher rapport

Show Students Your Own Work

Guinea Pig

The best thing I did last semester was to show my students some of my own shitty writing. Previously, I had avoiding putting up any of my own work, not out of some kind of fear of student reactions, but because I didn't want to make the class all about me.

Still, about halfway through last semester, I got the impression my students were feeling all downtrodden and dismal about their writing. I wanted them to see that even though we grade "final" drafts, none of us, their teachers, think about writing purely in terms of product, either.

6 Tips for Making the Most of Your Class Blog

We [Heart] Blog
For several semesters I have had students engage in digital conversations using discussion boards on class management sites such as Blackboard and Canvas. This semester, wondering if writing for a public audience would increase their investment in participating in these kinds of digital conversations, I decided to set up a class blog.

Self Disclosure in the Classroom

girl, tell me about it.

Full disclosure: this blog post may include some self-disclosure.

Technological Nostalgia and the Academic Year to Come

XKCD comic "Time Ghost"

I feel so out of touch when it comes to video games.

Teaching to a Hostile Audience, Or, When Your Revolution Class is Full of Counterrevolutionaries

A picture of the Muppets, Statler and Waldorf, who are always putting down the Muppet Show

This semester has been interesting, particularly because I am always comparing my Fall course on revolution to my summer course on the same topic.

Engaging Different Types of Students

Drawing of a sheep surrounded by the words Call Me Normal and I'll Call You Often

At this point in the semester we’re all sizing up our latest batch of students. Not every student is the student who quietly does all her reading and eagerly contributes to class discussion. In fact, I’ve found that students like the one I just described can sometimes be the least stimulating. What’s fun or interesting about a student who hangs on our every word, and who repeats for us exactly what we want them to say? For those of us who teach reading and writing courses, one goal of our pedagogy will inevitably be imploring our students to think critically about their place in the world.

Negotiating Student-Instructor Relationships on Facebook

Facebook's wordmark floating in front of a blue background with plants

All young instructors know it: that dreaded moment when a student, former or current, adds you as a "friend" on Facebook. We encourage students to call us by our first names, and cultivate a sense of informal comfort in the classroom. As young people closer in age to our students than our advisors, we also realize that Facebook has become a near-universal social networking outlet, filled not only with friends but cousins, colleagues, and (gulp) parents.

Trust Me, I'm a Teacher: Some Reflections on Teacher-Student Power Relations

Stick figure comic from XKCD

Let me immediately note that I’m not intending to demonstrate universal truths with the following anecdotes. My intent is just to share a couple of particular rhetorical situations and the reflections to which they’ve led.

The Many Upsides of the Student Conference

Photo of red, sun-shaped sign with the word Yay!

Even for a small class, student conferences take a lot of time and energy. I often hold conferences to discuss a plan for revision of their essays. That means that 6 hours of conferences (15 minutes each x 23 students) usually follow long nights spent grading the essays that are the basis of our discussion. I’ve often left the campus coffee shop after I’ve met with half the class in and felt like I’ve been stuck on repeat—drained from keeping my enthusiasm up during so many different versions of the same basic conversation.


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