Cooking and Composition

adventures in discourse and dinner

Reflections on Project 1, ENG 305 — September 19, 2014

Reflections on Project 1, ENG 305

This fall, I’m fortunate to be teaching one of my favorite classes again: our junior-level composition course. I taught it for the first time last fall (2013) and it was a genuinely excellent growing experience for me. My first time not teaching first-years, my first time having students who were my age or significantly older than me, my first time being able to really craft an overall course and assignment sequence the way I wanted. What freedom!

It went very well last year, so I’ve mostly been reusing the materials and the same schedule. But this year, I made one crucial change based on feedback from students last fall, and I’m not sure how it’s working. It doesn’t seem like much, but I feel like it’s making a significant impact on student learning this semester. Continue reading

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On Being a Young Academic — August 27, 2014

On Being a Young Academic

The start of the school year reminds me of one thing: I am young.

Well, not really. But at least in terms of professionals teaching university classes at my particular institution, in my particular department, I am a baby.

Hi, I’m your composition instructor!

I frequently get asked if I’m a student, and sometimes my students forget that I am, in fact, their instructor. It does afford me a different relationship with them than, say, my 40-year-old colleagues who are greying and haven’t sat in the classroom in fifteen years.

But I become acutely aware of this every time I step foot into my 300-level composition class. I have to start this by saying that it’s absolutely my favorite class to teach. I have a blast doing it because I teach using discourse community theories with a strong focus on bolstering reflection and metacognition. In short, I get to geek out.

And that geeking out about my academic interests helps because I’m pretty close in age to these students–who have to have a certain number of completed credit hours (which usually puts them at junior-level status). And at an institution where there are many nontraditional students and many students who simply take longer than the “typical” four years to complete a degree, this means that I could be the same age and even younger than the majority of my students in these classes. Continue reading

— July 23, 2014

Is summer really more than half over?

Do I really go “back to school” for the fall semester in about a month?

I’ve been so quiet, readers. I’m sorry. However, we all know that summer is the time when academics stop doing anything related to work or school (okay, maybe not). I made some major life changes this summer that I’m super excited about:

  • I interviewed for and accepted a full-time (non-tenure track) teaching position.
  • I moved to an adorable house that is still not quite put together.
  • I received an award for my dedication to first-year student success.
  • I went on a wonderful vacation to Grand Junction and Palisade, Colorado.
  • And, oh yeah, I started teaching.

Continue reading

Review: Feminist Rhetorical Practices by Royster and Kirsch — April 14, 2014

Review: Feminist Rhetorical Practices by Royster and Kirsch

I started reading Jacqueline Jones Royster and Gesa E. Kirsch’s Feminist Historical Practices: New Horizons for Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy Studies as it was selected for March/April by Goodreads Comp/Rhet Reading Group. This is my first time reading along with the club and attempting to participating, but unfortunately there hasn’t been much discussion happening. If you’re interested, you can (and should) check out the club!

I really enjoyed reading FHP, in part because it’s very different than most of the scholarly work I select on my own. That being said, I am seeing many connections between the practices that Royster and Kirsch discuss and my own strategies for research. It has certainly caused me to think more about where feminist research methods come into play and how I can connect those to my own work. Continue reading

Prepping for #4C15: Innovating Rubrics? — April 9, 2014

Prepping for #4C15: Innovating Rubrics?

If you’re a comp/rhet researcher or scholar who hasn’t yet seen the CFP for 2015 CCCC, fear not! There’s still time to get your proposal gathered and submitted (deadline is May 19 at 11:59pm CST for online submission; postmarked by May 12, 2014 for snail mail submission — this is a recent update, not the same as listed on the CFP I linked to!).

I’m really digging the plans for the next conference, and I will probably find a way to go even if I don’t get to present. Joyce Locke Carter, the 2015 Program Chair, has put out an inviting plan for the theme Risk and Reward, and innovation is a key part of the CFP.

I’ve been dwelling on my own proposal since #4C14 wrapped up by thinking a lot about innovation and what exactly that means for me as an instructor of FYC courses. I already see myself as a reflective practitioner, and in some ways that leads naturally into also being an “innovative” practitioner. But what exactly am I innovating? Continue reading

Stating Your Teaching Philosophy: How Do We Do it? — April 3, 2014

Stating Your Teaching Philosophy: How Do We Do it?

teaching philosophyOver the past three years or so, my teaching philosophy has changed and developed based on my experiences in the classroom, my scholarly research interests, and my reflecting on both of these aspects of my life. I’m fairly confident in my beliefs of what makes an effective composition instructor and why I make the pedagogical decisions that I do.

I just have trouble articulating those in a concise way in a typed document.

In grad school, we spent a lot of time discussing teaching philosophies in a couple of my classes. I have drafts that show, really, just how much my philosophies (and abilities to state those philosophies) have progressed since the first and second semester of graduate school. I still remember some of the advice and feedback I got on those earlier versions: make yourself more present, good use of examples, “coaching” might be misread or misinterpreted. Continue reading

Highlight Your Way to a Better Draft — March 19, 2014