Thursday, February 02, 2006

On the Fly

I have a lot of anxiety about my Introduction to Imaginative Writing class this semester. Mostly it revolves around my ever-present feelings of inadequacy and my inability to make an outline before I step into the class. And, the idea that they won't talk. However, my resolution to break them into small groups has worked quite well so far. Today, we talked and talked about, what else?, dialogue. We had Ann Beattie's " The Burning House" as our subject. It has gems of dialogue like "I love the way you pour cream in a pan." Usually I leave 20 minutes at the end for a writing exercise for them to do while I check their notebooks. Today we just kept talking until there were only five minutes left. So my "teach on the fly" (which is basically my MO) method just keeps working. And, by the way, I did have a brief outline/subject list cribbed from Janet Burroway.
Re: Sleepy E's praise for my blog silence: I wish I could say it means I've been writing up a storm elsewhere. It does, sort of, mean that, I realized as I began blogging intending to say I haven't been writing. I started an essay entitled "What I'm Not Reading" and I wrote a poem, "A Mother Peruses the Dictionary." And I've been writing little "singles" based on lines from Wilco songs. So, ha to me!, I have, unbeknownst to myself, been writing. It's teaching the writing class. I write with them, do the exercises. I'm a person who really responds to assignments.
So here I go: I must go workout and then write 500 words. Now go!


Lisa B. said...

I love teaching on the fly. It totally is my MO, as well. I have a whole justification for it, in case you ever need it. Outlines, shmoutlines. What passes for a lesson plan is a bulleted list with, like, five words on the whole paper.

Paulk said...

Since I too am teaching Intro this semester, I totally empathize. I wouldn't say that I'm teaching entirely on the fly because I've broken down the first part of the semester into "sections" based on Janet's "Imaginative Writing" book, which is really great. But day to day, I've been trying to come up with writing assignments for in-class, ones they can share and talk about. That's been really helpful for both them and me.

We should share notes. Kind of like team teaching, except not with different classes.