I know some here don’t like to talk about teaching CW topics so I thought I would talk about teaching CW topics.

Posted by @ 8:07 am on October 4th, 2011

1. Last night visiting writer/professor said he doesn’t believe in grades. He assumes the writers in the class are writers and want to write—that’s what writers do, write. Isn’t a grade a carrot to make a writer write? That’s counterproductive. That causes non-writing. Also: Quit judging writing. Don’t make your class about judging writing. Make your class about writing, the act itself. He said, “I tell my students: You all have an A. If you show up, you have an A.” He said, “Sometimes I grab students who aren’t even in my class, you know students just walking around campus, and I tell them, ‘Join my class and you’ll get an A.’”

11. No cellphones active in class is a default. Why? What if you had a day where students wrote on their cellphones? What if you had the students text their work to a friend for a critique and you had them read what the friend said to the class? And so on. What if you built cellphone days into your pedagogy?

9. A student said to me yesterday, “I didn’t know professors could have long hair.” I said, “They can. If you do something well, people won’t bother you. That’s true in all professions. If you are the one guy who can fix the computers, you can keep a boa constrictor in your office. No one will say a thing.” His eyes flashed. Possibly he “went over to the dark side” (My term for when students switch majors to CW), or something. I felt happy for 11 seconds.

3. People still ask, “But does publishing online mean the same as publishing in print?” People still ask that. I mean like people deciding Promotion and Tenure. I mean Salary people. It makes my head do crinkly things. Do you still hear people asking that question, in academia? How does that question make you feel?

4. What do you think about messy offices? What do you think about messy offices and artists? How does it impact the perspective of students? I like to say, “Creative people makes piles of things.” I’m not sure if I am accurate. Is an office a reflection of…Is an office an important space at a university or just an office? I’m thinking out loud here, a phrase that makes little sense.

5. He said, “If you hear the word rigor, they start talking about rigor, hold onto your wallets.”

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