Thursday, March 31, 2011

Conferences and Teaching and Former Students

I spent most of this afternoon working on my presentation for the AEGIS Conference on Saturday morning in Carbondale (SIU). I thought that it was mostly going to be an opportunity for me to talk about my research "findings" but now that I am finished, it is more along the lines of why I think it's important to use race in the classroom (from a pedagogical perspective). Given the fact that I have been spending a lot of time reviewing my actual sources (since I am working on the lit review portion of my dissertation) I guess this makes sense. I am never sure if I should read my paper like at a formal conference or just talk about my paper, like at an informal conference so ... I am going to do a combination of the two. I still haven't heard back as to whether or not I can use a PowerPoint (since I have some lengthy quotations from sources and students that I would like to use) but I am thinking I might just throw a handout together and that way I am prepared to be non-technological! At any rate -- I am hoping to generate some discussion so I can revamp this presentation for the next conference (later in April) and apply any comments toward my dissertation in general.

I read a short article in The New York Times that made me sad today. Click here for the link! Marie Myong-Ok Lee talks about what she learned from some of her former high school teachers and one line in particular stuck out -- "Good teaching helps make productive and fully realized adults -- a result that won't show up in each semester's test scores and statistics." How gorgeous is that line?? Her insightful description of her English teachers, Ms. Leibfried and Mrs. Borman, are fabulous and Lee's prose reflects what she learned from these instructors -- but then you learn at the end that Ms. Leibfried was "laid off because of budget cuts, and never taught again." That, my friends, is a crime. And that makes me weep.

One last possible related note. One of the first students I ever taught (in ENG 101) about 15 years ago is in St Louis for a business trip. We'll be meeting up later tonight. I'm pretty sure I will be having an "old moment" very soon! :D

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