I would like to remember today…somewhere posted in my do not forget list…a former student from the Bridge Program….came up to tell me he is nearing graduation and applying to grad school. He does not anticipate returning to Turkey but staying in the U.S. I was his teacher for Reading and then he followed me to Academic Writing I. Academic Writing I was very difficult for him, but he showed up on time with his books open and ready to work. I am proud of his accomplishments! This blog is from Edarabia posted in 2014 when I began teaching with the English Department.
What do the best teachers carry? It is not the Luis Vuitton hand bag or an Apple. They seem to carry a folder or two, maybe a large bag carried across their shoulders. All the information they need is already at their disposal…it is in the classroom. I am starting to learn this theory. Their best work is in the classroom.
I am having my students present short stories, poetry and bios of authors. They are responsible for two presentations for the semester. I was very pleasantly surprised the past week as I had two really good presentations; one was a presentation about Dr. Seuss and the other was about the original version of some well known Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales. Both presentations were very good and very interesting for the class. In my other advanced class, the students presented their projects on immigration in a Rogerian format. I was really impressed; my Saudi students who followed me from the Bridge Program, they have come a long way. They were still uncomfortable in front of the class but their spoken and written command of English is improving immensely.
I kept some of their old papers and will compare it with the more recent papers. So anyway, I have been noticing that the teachers who carry less are making the students do more of the work which is how I remember my University days at Stony Brook. I remember clearly, Mr. Pequigney, who graduated from Harvard, lecturing about British Literature rocking nervously back and forth, and one day falling over. This was the entertainment in his long class. The best classes were the interactive ones in which we discussed characters, plots, motivations, etc. One of my favorite instructors was a Franciscan Friar, Brother Benelide Montgomery. I clearly remember discussing and dishing motivations, etc. and then attending Broadway plays in New York with the English Club. And then there was the New York Times best seller, author Thomas Flanagan, Year of the French, who lived on Long Island and was a professor at Stony Brook. He was a tough grader!
So, these classes made sense and they were active. In June Jordan’s poetry class, we wrote poetry and read aloud. So, I began to rethink my strategies of PowerPoint, lecturing, in an attempt to carry less and involve my students more. It is working. I have seen some wonderful presentations and while sitting back, I am learning what they know and by reading their essays, I figure out which areas we need to concentrate on whether it is punctuation or learning how parallel construction can be implemented in their essay writing.
For now, I just know, I enjoyed my student reading aloud Dr. Seuss: oh the places you will go if you only knew…It just makes sense or as one student put it, “He is spot on.” And when the going gets rough, remember these words:
I’m afraid that sometimes
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places you’ll go!
Somehow Dr. Seuss, he just knew.
About the Author
Mrs. Eve Dobbins has a BA in English Literature from SUNY Stony Brook. Her MA is in TESOL from the University of South Florida. She began her career as an ESOL tutor at Berlitz in New York. Ms. Dobbins is public school certified in multiple subjects and has taught all levels of public education. In addition to her experience in public education, she has taught ESOL strategies for elementary education teachers at the collegiate level. Ms. Dobbins also has teaching experience at multiple community colleges before accepting her current position at ST. Leo. Her experience does not stop at U.S schools, as she has also taught at different levels in South Korea, France, and most recently the United Arab Emirates. When not teaching, she enjoys baking cupcakes (she is owner of Cupcake Cache LLC in Tampa), reading, and writing a children’s book about desserts of different countries. Our store closed in 12/2015 due to my husband’s health issues (cancer) which is now in remission. We still enjoy sweets, baking, and a less frenetic pace.