My apologies for posting after the 6pm deadline; my power was out for most of the day due to the storm and thus using my laptop and the internet was somewhat difficult.
Hello, I am Adrienne. I have been teaching within CUNY since 2013. The college where I have been teaching the longest is at BMCC. As I worked within the college even before I began teaching, many of my ideas about teaching and the readings that I use have been colored by my experiences with the students and faculty there. A lot of my teaching has been at the community college level which means that I am used to dealing with students that are newer to the demands of college and sometimes to the skills and mindsets that enable one to succeed at the college level. I have taught literature courses, composition courses, creative writing courses, gender study focused classes, and research centered courses.
This past semester was my first time teaching online. I found that it was overall a successful experience for the students and I. However, as other participants previously noted, students need to possess a level of self-motivation and independence in order to successfully complete coursework online. Sometimes I have found that this means they need more assistance and more leniency in terms of deadlines (of course this was also happening during a pandemic and an economic recession, so the students were experiencing unprecedented upheaval in their lives). One thing that concerns me is how I can make sure that students are staying engaged and staying caught up with the readings. Many of my younger students told me that they struggle to read on their own and/or that their home environments are too noisy for them to focus when completing assigned readings.
This past semester in my online courses (which were in person courses that suddenly had to transition to online courses) I tried to maintain some of the feel of an in person class by having discussions with the students in regards to the readings over Zoom. By having lively discussions related to the readings the students were able to gain a greater understanding of them and maintain a sense of normalcy during a disruptive transition in their lives. (I even attempted having the students act out a short play via Zoom, and this seemed to be an experience that helped maintain engagement and morale during a challenging time.) As some of the students said that they had trouble reading the assigned texts at home by themselves, I had the students read some of the texts out loud during the weekly one hour synchronous Zoom sessions to help the students with their reading comprehension. I believe that this helped the students stay engaged with the class, especially the freshmen students who were fresh out of high school and new to college. I also made use of weekly discussion board assignments to make sure students who could not attend the synchronous meetings were still engaged and discussing the readings with one another.
A Writing Genre
One genre I am familiar with is that of the journalistic arts review, particularly those related to books, music, and theater. As I have been doing this type of writing since high school, I have become familiar with the standard expectations and rules in regards to this form of professional writing. Typically, a book review will begin with an opening statement about the book’s topic and/or author and the lead into summary of the plot (without giving away the ending or too much detail) and then transition into a critique of the book’s writing. Reviews for certain publications like Kirkus Reviews will always end with one sentence that encapsulates the entire opinion of the review/i.e. the thesis. Meanwhile, if one is reviewing music you must use descriptive language to give the reader an idea of how the music sounds, sometimes using musical terms, or emotions, or references to environments that provoke feelings similar to those which the music provokes (a sunny day at the beach is a common one). Typically, you are expected to quote at least one song lyric in the review, but more than two quotes might be excessive. Many writers will begin a music review with an anecdote before they transition to a discussion of the actual music. I began learning the rules for this genre of writing by reading my parents’ magazines and alternative weeklies as a child in the ‘90s. Typically before I begin writing a review for a particular publication, I will read reviews that the publication has published prior to gain an understanding of the proper tone and format as this can vary. Sometimes though, the best reviews are the ones that throw the templates and rules out the window and try to surprise the reader with the unexpected.