Posted by: L. E. Barnes | August 19, 2009

Impressions made

First impressions were made today. Exactly what those impressions were, I’m not sure. But each of my three classes did the icebreaker activity, and I hope they enjoyed it and even got some encouragement out of it.

The mixture of people in a college class always adds some interest to teaching the course. My students range from North Carolina natives to transplanted northerners, from singles to those married with children, from youngsters right out of high school to nontraditional (read “age 30 and above”) students. A number of them plan to do some general coursework here and then transfer their credits to a 4-year school–typical of many community college students, normally as a money-saving measure. One fellow, whose right arm was covered in tattoos, told the class he had been a professional BMX biker but was now a youth pastor at a local Freewill Baptist church. Another student  is the son of a couple who are almost extended family for me and my parents; his mother lived with my uncle and aunt when she was a teenager, and she and her husband have maintained close relations with them and my cousins over the years. (I chuckled when I saw their son’s name on my roster for the course. He spoke to me after class and admitted that when he looked over the information about the course and saw the name of the instructor, he at first thought it might have been my father, since my dad and I have the same first name.) Then there are all the varying personalities, from the super shy to the exuberant extroverts. After the icebreaker was done and the students had introduced themselves to the class, I dismissed them. That’s one day down…

On Friday I’ll go over the syllabus as well as try to do an activity or two to introduce their first project: writing summaries. Whoo hoo! Pure excitement, right?

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Responses

  1. Hi! I liked your blog and thought I would just pass a suggestion (since u said they are welcome:)) I am a student and I feel that instead of keeping aside some special classes to conduct events like ‘first impressions’, just make it a daily task of 5 mins per every class. This mode was followed by my high school teacher by making us do some activities that boost your knowledge of yours and others, mingling with their attitudes or asking us to take turns to speak to the class regarding the topic for the month. etc.etc.
    Hope its of some use! 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting. That’s an interesting suggestion… Maybe I’ll try it out–especially having them speak to the class about the topics/assignments we’re working on. When I was a graduate student, I read quite a few books and articles by both professors and other graduate students who experimented with ways to “decenter” the classroom (i.e., get the students more involved and not have the teacher completely run the show). Ideally, that should give them a greater sense of ownership in the learning process and help them see they have things to offer the class. Plus, I won’t have to be a talking head everyday! God bless!


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