I know, I know, I have been “missing” for quite a while, but to tell you the truth:
- I haven’t had any blogging ideas to share
- I have been crazy busy
- I haven’t been in blogger mood for a while now.
Today, I am writing because I have a story to share.
A true story.
So, here goes.
I started working at a new place. Still EAP, but a different EAP contract. Compared to my pre-sessional EAP courses, the modules are pretty much the same, the skills that need to be taught the same, the ‘topics/ subjects’ the same. But, this is a new job and I was a new teacher and I shared that with my students.
Hi! I am Joanna and I am new here. I have been teaching……
I gave my BIO/ CV in a 2 truths and one lie warmer type of activity (you know the game where you write 2 true things about yourself and one lie and the students need to guess the lie).
The lie was
I have taught at XYZ before (I hadn’t taught there before)
HA! BIG mistake Jo Jo. Why hadn’t I chosen something else? Why did I want them to know that this was my first time teaching there? Who knows???!!! That warmer sentence came and bit me in the b@#t later on.
Here is what happened.
Students had to write 2000 word first drafts. I had to give feedback and return the first drafts. I gave a lot of feedback. In my mind, I was helping them improve and just making suggestions. I was really happy with my first draft feedback. So were 99% of my students.
You are a very good teacher, Joanna. You gave a lot of feedback.
Now the feedback I gave was sandwich-y.
Some recommendations/ error correction
Now, let’s get back to the 99%. One day, during a lesson, one of my students said,
I think you are a very strict teacher, Joanna. You gave us too much feedback. I am worried that because you have not taught here before you will be too strict and you will give us bad grades. Last term we complained when we got bad marks.
Oh no she didn’t! Oh! Yes, she did. Does that sound like an intimidation? A bit cheeky, huh?
Was she implying that if I did not give a good grade, I would get a complaint of some sort?
My response was,
I have been teaching almost 20 years. I know how to give feedback on an essay. I gave you this much feedback because this is probably the only time you will get this much help with your writing. When you go to uni and write essays, your professor will probably not give you feedback on your topic sentences or your subject verb agreement. I am trying to help you improve.
So, that’s my story. Ever had anyone judge you cause of your newness? Ever had your ‘newness’ challenged?
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Till next time…..
I’ve never had complaints about being new (at least not to my face!) But definitely about being “too strict”. Where I work we usually preempt this by getting g a colleague to cosign on assessment sheets for essays were failing. But it’s weird that those students saw the amount of feedback as a sign of strictness! Maybe it’s due to previous experience? Definitely a belief to work on counteracting! Though it is hard if you’re trying to give helpful feedback but have to give a grade too due to institutional rules!