Friday, December 08, 2006

Last day

Ferule and Fescue asks "Do you perorate?" on the last day of class. Well, sort of--but at the wrong time, the beginning of the class.

In the fiction class, I use the excuse of going over the exam guide for the final as a way to sum up themes, make connections, and say a few things about the works. The conversation that followed was what was most valuable, though. I'd asked them questions along these lines:

1. What work or works did you enjoy the most? Why?
2. What work did you think was the most significant? Why?
3. What work in this period would you like to see replace one of the current offerings (if you'd like to see this)? Why?

It was an interesting discussion, and the answers to the first question varied widely; most answered Big Famous Novel for the second one, but there were some surprises there, too. We got to talk about the ways in which the works fit together, why I'd included some works instead of some others, the limitations imposed by a 15-week semester (if long novel A is included, it's hard to include long novel B without drastic cuts elsewhere), and so on. Almost as an afterthought, a few months ago I'd included one assignment to find current cultural references on Big Famous Novel and we'd discussed them in class; a student yesterday commented that she'd enjoyed it when we talked more about current cultural parallels with the novels, as we'd done with BFN and another book.

In the other class, I also did a "this is what the course has taught you" at the beginning before continuing the regular class discussion.

So, in short: their voices, not mine, were the last things that they heard. There are no Professor Kingsfield applause lines in that way of wrapping up a class, but I'm satisfied.


Chaser said...

I do the same thing with the timing; I give my spiel at the beginning. Maybe I'll try to save it next semester, but I am embarrassed keeping them sitting around, when they are antsy, just to listen to me gas on.

undine said...

I feel the same way; I'd hate to wait and run the risk of cutting short their comments just so that I can make a speech.