Hi! My name is Caitlin McDonnell. I’ve been teaching English in different capacities for 25 years, from undergraduates at NYU while I was in graduate school, to teaching as a teaching artist (poetry), to getting certified and teaching high school, to returning to college teaching for the past seven years. As for teaching online, I have mixed feelings. I appreciate the flexibility it opens up in my schedule. I miss my students a lot. I think my inner standup comedian is fulfilled by classroom teaching and I have not been able to figure out how to regain that in virtual instruction. I currently teach at both Baruch and City Tech. I also have concerns about adjunct work exploitation, and worry that online teaching might even increase the workload.
In the face-to-face classroom, I always started with having students generate a list of words that they can use to interview one another and write poems or descriptive paragraphs about one another to present to the class. They laugh; they talk to one another; they feel dorky; they either show off or try something new. I find it really breaks us in. I don’t see a way to effectively replicate this online, but plan to add a similar kind of twist the discussion board introductions.
I’m a poet and an essayist, but I’m also, for better or worse, a fairly frequent Facebook poster. Because Facebook has the “on this day” memory feature where you can see what you posted years ago, I can see how my skills writing in this genre have actually developed. I’d say there are different kinds of Facebook posts, almost all of which I’ve participated in at some juncture, (the mysterious (I can’t tell you what but something big is happening). the rant, the overshare, the cute thing my kid said, and the sharing of political or artistic articles with a commentary attached.