Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Finals Week

What are you doing this week?

I have a tradition of sorts that I indulge in during finals week. While I’m sitting there, as students labor over the instrument of paper torture that I’ve devised for them, I read. I don’t read just anything, though. I read the headiest, densest, most theoretical stuff I can find that I think will inform my teaching for the upcoming term. Actually, that’s only partly true. I do read theoretical stuff (and really enjoy it), but I also read selections from texts that I am or may be using in the future term. I read ideas from other instructors teaching in the same discipline in similar ways (or in radically different ways, occasionally) to shake up my teaching and to try to stay fresh. I read across genres and try to bring together seemingly disparate things, looking for the amazing and exciting convergences that make our discipline so much fun.

I’ve also been working, this week, on the ways in which technology works in the teaching (and learning) of writing. It’s not a new field, by any stretch, but it is continually reinventing itself. Take, for example, Michael Wesh’s fascinating work on the anthropology of YouTube. That may not look like writing studies at first blush, but the literacy implications make it a very useful “way in” to what computers and the web are doing to us as readers and writers.

I know students are reading (cramming?) for exams. I know my colleagues are reading papers and exams (and I’m reading those, too, of course). What are you reading? What is engaging your attention these days?


Clint said...

I am reading bogs, book club books and the under side of my eyelids.

Patricia Murphy, a resident of said...

Well, I'm pretty late responding, but I too have finals week rituals, so what the heck. I clean my office way before my final papers are done, I think because I get so worn out by freaked out last minute student drama and/or plagiarism. I also start my Christmas break reading before I ought to. I guess I start to believe I have a life or something once the students leave campus :)
Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas to you and yours.