College is not wasted on the young. The student who made me sad in the last post has turned out to have the instincts of a reporter. He’s not my most disciplined writer – so he doesn’t pull the best grades – but he goes out and finds stories that could be published in any news outlet. Because they’re newsworthy.
I’ve had so much fun teaching media writing this semester. We have to be generalists at Longwood; some classes feel like more of a stretch than others. Teaching Media Reporting and Writing feels like breathing – teaching it comes that naturally.
Oh yeah, it’s a lot of work. Lots of reading articles and giving specific feedback. Depending on your perspective, I have the luxury and/or the misfortune of teaching 29 people in two class sections how to newsgather and mediawrite.
Of course, it’s the 80 I teach in three other class sections that brings me to the semester I’ve had. Media & Society – a range-y course in which we struggle with two questions: how does media affect society? And how does society create and control media? Like I said – a range-y survey course in which we cover too much. My goal, however, is not the content as much as teaching critical thinking, particularly media criticism. This can be a lot of fun, but it means moving beyond multiple-choice tests and into the realm of blogging and small group presentations and writing.
That’s right – more reading of student writing, more feedback on student writing. And that’s time intensive. Messier than A B C D.
But that’s what these college students need. They need practice writing and they need my feedback on how to do it better. And, like the rest of us, they figure out what they want to say be writing it out. Epiphanies abound.
And I guess that’s why I’m here, teaching at Longwood U, working so hard that I neglect both my personal life and the rest of my professional life … this blog, for example, and my Eastern Shore Stories Project.