Author Archives: Anthony Eid

Anthony Eid Second Day Research

I believe the first time I ever really got interested in research was accidentally. Up until my grad school thesis, yes I do realize I was a late research revelation bloomer, I would just do projects because I guessed that is what you just did in academia- do what you are told to without thinking too heavily upon why you are doing it. It was not because I didn’t care, was uninterested, or anything near to not understanding the purpose of schooling. I just trusted my instructors without a doubt. However, as I have learned as a professor, trust is not easily earned from some students and you have to show them why they should care about the things they are learning. While in grad school, I taught a bridge program where we instructed students in the NY Regents ELA exam and prepared them for their first semester of writing as freshmen in college during their junior year of high school. Teaching to the Regents seemed to clash heavily with preparing them for their first semester of college.

I had not realized this clash when I was a student myself because I was in the process and not outside it. The two ways of teaching were not going on at the same time, so I was not able to clearly see the stark differences because of this as well. So, for the first time in my academic career, I did something out of curiosity that was not clearly defined by an instructor. I wanted to do it for my current students at the time to discover why they reacted so adversely when I taught the Regents exam, but took to first year writing so well. Test taking, test preparation, and thus test pedagogy are somewhat enamored with teaching to a rigid end goal of a test and the outcome of it. Rigidity limits options, curiosity, and want of learning. Unlike myself, who thrived on being told what to do, most students thrive when they are allowed to wander and experience things to develop who they are as students, and this also applies to them as writers. My thesis focused on this clash of ideals.

From the research, I

1)Shifted the way I was teaching my hybrid class- I taught the Regents portions as I would a first year writing class.

2) Learned about my own difficulty transitioning to college writing.

3) I came to understand that options and freedom are more attuned to human nature. If all students are human, then they would yearn for this more than rigid expectation. I was an academic robot most of my learning career, but they would not be.

All of this set me upon the path of seeing writing instructions more than about words on a page, but more aligned with self-discovery.

From my thesis writing experience, I also learned how to expand options for research. The person mentoring me through the process used the words: no, you can’t, that isn’t an option, I don’t know, but this doesn’t seem right to me, etc. This further showed me that freedom is quite essential for research. When I would spend a month alone toiling away in an echo chamber of blissfulness centered around my own ideas, I was immensely motivated and happy.  When I would meet with this mentor, who I was required to have through the process, I was miserable and felt unsure of myself. It took me about a week to recenter myself after those meeting to get back to focusing upon what I felt was the research that had and must be done. After that week, I was motivated, curious, and able to flow with work.

For my students, I never tell them (YOU CAN”T), I ask them (WELL HOW CAN WE DO THAT). I leave their research project very open to what they want/need to do. They can do it upon a topic that aligns with their major if they have one, one that they are interested in personally, or something we just riff about one-on-one. If a student doesn’t know what they want to do, I usually ask a ton of open ended questions to get them to where they feel comfortable and curious about a topic. Sometimes, students just ask to be told  a topic. I honestly tell them that the project is large, research is tiresome, and you’re going to be bored if you don’t see yourself in the research. Mainly, research is about finding yourself in one way or another. Sometimes, it is finding your future self within a topic you will one day dedicate your life to. Other times, it is something you dabbled in your whole life, but never focused on academically. Research is more about finding yourself rather than information I feel. If you show students they are doing this for themselves and not for some unknown purpose or reason, they become so involved that they ask, “I know you said X amount of pages, but is it okay if I can do Y.” Usually, the only time students struggle to make page counts or to find research pieces for their topic is when they are uninterested or disconnected from the topic and they just choose a topic from Google after they typed in- good research paper topics.





Anthony Eid First Day

Sorry I posted this in the Reflection section originally

Hello All, my name is Anthony Eid. I have been teaching, hmmm let’s see here, since 2014 in higher ed. I had to open my resume up to actually see the year. I was a tutor, both online and in person, prior to that since 2010, so I get a bit muddled with the year that I started in the actual classroom sometimes. Tutoring online always felt a bit more reactive. I would wait for students to hand in papers or a request for tutoring would come in, and then I would activate and become a tutor. There was no before or after sometimes, the tutoring would be in the moment mostly and per paper. Sometimes, I would have regular students, but mostly I tutored a new student each time. Being reactive is great when there is no history with students. However, with teaching online the past semester, being reactive made me a bit nervous and anxious.

The situation was very day-to-day and piecemeal the first couple of weeks. However, with some planning, a bit of presence with my students, and tons of emails, things began to settle and I was less reactive which put me at ease. The in-classroom plan got thrown out for the most part. When plans are set out and there is a goal in mind, I feel more comfortable. I assume my students would be as well, so we both benefited from that reorientation and refocusing. It was hectic at fist, but things smoothed out as time went along. I am hoping that with all of us starting online in the fall that there won’t be any whiplash from the sudden shift and classes will start up as they ended my last semester-in peace and reassurance.

Usually, on the first day of class, I introduce myself a bit differently than what I did above here. I focus more upon my struggles as a student. Most students understand that when a person stands at the front of the classroom that comes with some experience and credibility. I don’t tell them how many years I have been teaching. I simply explain how many years it took me to feel like the writer I am today. I tell them about the struggles I had with my first paper in college. From that experience, I was so afraid every time I put pen to paper because the grade I received on it did not reflect how accomplished and confident I felt in high school. Honesty is a tremendous part of my teaching practices. I believe it helps students to be honest with me and helps them voice their needs and wants right away. In addition, I know my students are about to write a literary narrative, and that also helps them right away see what they can do for that piece. The literary narrative comes at them fast, so I hope this is another example of one outside of their readings. However, I believe this approach will somewhat terrify them in a posting. In front of a classroom, my energetic and smiley presence usually smooths out the story and let’s them see it was not all doom and gloom, and that there was a happy ending. I believe doing this as a recording will be better than not, or I can figure out a new way of doing this altogether.

The intended goal of such an introduction may be a bit off center as an online posting in writing. I am trying to reassure my students that they can accomplish their goals in this class if I can work my way up to being a college writing professor from being devastated by my first grade on a college paper. However, as I said before, being online is a situation that may not match this introduction so well in writing. This is similar to a writing style I have dabbled in but have researched a bit more, stand-up comedy. The basic anatomy of a joke is set-up(the information the audience needs and these are usually the unfunny parts of the joke), punchline(the funny parts of the joke that usually brings about laughter from an audience), and tag lines(they are sort of like sequels to the punchlines that can keep a joke going, and thus the laughter). When on stage, these are the usual components audiences watching American stand-up have come to know and expect. Jokes are usually cultivated over a tour. Comics will hit different audiences with the same joke, and then will alter it as time goes on to suit most audiences. If it worked in D.C., Boston, and Minneapolis, it may make 90% of your audience laugh, and possibly get others who have not encountered your act or know you as a comedian to do so as well. My students have not met me yet and as I said above, they expect a certain routine on the first day from their professors. Some comedians get away with a lot on stage because they have the charisma to hammer it out till they get to the next bit. That is similar to my first day gloomy speech. I get away with a lot because of my energy, but that introduction only works because of that. If just put online without context or that energy, students will not connect with it. I am aware of who they are as an audience and what they are expecting. My opening day bit is not good for all situations, so I should change it to be applicable online.