I love Christenbury’s book so far and find that I can even relate to some parts, particularly the lack of movtivation among students and the lack of support from parents. I appreciate the honest account of her experience. In my after-school program, I have had a hard time motivating the tweens to participate in the pre-planned activities. They prefer free time and watching TV. They are NOT allowed to watch TV during program time, and I would expect parents to back me up on this. I had one mother criticize me for this, though, and tell me that she didn’t think the kids did anything in the program anyway. I couldn’t believe she said this because she never gets involved and never communicates with me otherwise. I loved how Christenbury points out that “parents are not always are our friends” and gives us the story about the student who “like Bartleby… preferred not” (38)
It surprises me that some students are not engaged by exciting projects, like the research paper. I was SO impressed by the research paper and would want to do something similar in my own class someday, including the panel discussion afterwards. Christenbury’s assignment reminded me of Sarah’s presentation in ENG 505 about innovative research papers. We need to make these assignments interesting and relevant to the students!!
A final area that I would like to comment on is connecting with students. Christenbury admits that she failed to connect with students. I think we have all experienced this at some point, and it is usually inexplicable. Sometimes you just can’t figure out a way to connect with some of the students. I believe that connection with students is something that you cannot learn from a book or a class. I think you can learn approaches and methods that will help, but ultimately it’s something you have to develop on your own. And sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sad but true.
I’d like to wrap up by thanking Dr. Christenbury for her book. I’m sure it was a difficult one to write. I would also like to thank her for contributing to our class blog.