Greetings from Asbury Park Atlantic City, NJ, where my family is on vacation for a week. Coincidentally, I just noticed that today is my blog’s first anniversary, so here’s a link back to that first post from 2 August 2007. I’m taking advantage of a rare quiet moment when everyone but me is napping to get a quick post off.
Tracy Rosen tagged me in a piece entitled “By Any Means Human”, which asks teachers to consider the human element they bring to the classroom. As anyone who has been to university taught for any period of time knows, content knowledge alone does not a good teacher make.
For my part, my students have always told me that my sense of humor not only helps make sometimes dry material more accessible, but helps them connect a little more to me (and to each other) personally. In fact, I got a very nice thank-you card at the end of this past school year from a senior I had in my first quarter Shakespeare’s Comedy class. In it, she informed me that my sense of humor not only helped her to understand the works we studied*, but also helped the class of to bond considerably. There’s something about laughter that brings people together; I guess it’s the participation in a shared experience that does it. As I’ve said before, I’m all for engendering that sense of community in my classes, through whatever means I have at my disposal, technological or not.
This isn’t to say that the jokes I make are GOOD, per se – in fact, I pride myself on the ability to craft a cringe-worthy pun out of almost any situation (although the one I made about Titania and Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream had the entire class LOLing for a good while!). Maybe it’s more that I can (and frequently do) laugh at myself, which the students may find rare in a teacher. I take my job and my responsibilities very seriously, but myself much less so.
Instead of tagging individuals, I’ll leave the tag open to anyone who reads this – what special human element do YOU bring to your classroom?
* In a nine-week course, we study three of the greats (OK, two of the greats and Measure for Measure).