Internship Journal

Hello, thank you for visiting my journal.



Entry 1:

Kyle was very welcoming in his email response to me, and we set up a  time to meet before class where we discussed his course and a little bit about ourselves. He looked extremely familiar, but for some reason I could not place him until he reminded me that we had actually taken a course together at FSU!

I learned by observing his class the expectations Kyle had set up like how laptops should be put away if they are not workshopping. He had a fairly heavy lecture style punctuated by encouragement of student input. I eventually learn that some days would be more of this lecture style while others would be entirely open to discussion between students. The first day I observed, the first half of class was devoted to students workshopping each other's’ papers. Coming from a high school teaching environment, I was surprised by how on-task and self-monitoring they were as I sat and listened to their conversations. Kyle put up a series of questions during the workshop to guide them in how to approach the papers and what to look for. A few students came up to him for specific questions. After this, two clips were shown that day to illustrate the evolution of genre, specifically “the creature feature” utilizing Hitchcock’s The Birds and 2013’s Sharknado. The class ended with a short lesson on plagiarism with special emphasis on what the students may not realize is plagiarism. The class then signed the plagiarism sheet.

Entry 2:

The class began with a three question journal on the first issue of Saga, a comic the students were to have read. Based on their journal responses, Kyle asked those who had not read to leave and be counted as absent for the rest of the class time would be devoted to a discussion on the comic. Quite a few students left, and Kyle later told me that this was the first time he felt compelled to ask students to leave. He was frustrated that they had not read such a short piece in preparation for class—even after an announcement was made in the previous class. I can attest that this act, even if seemingly drastic, did make the students take the rest of the course more seriously. A productive discussion for those who stayed helped students understand the medium of comics, its genre conventions, and even clear up some plot points for those who were confused. The next day, before most others had shown up, a student jokingly asked Kyle to always kick out those who were not prepared for class. The student admitted that he thought the discussion with only those who had done the assigned reading was more productive

Entry 3:

I sat in on the conferences in Kyle’s office. To make the students more comfortable, I greeted the students but sat at the neighboring desk and simply listened. The conferences were scheduled for 10 minutes (usually going over by a couple minutes) and went by at a breakneck speed. Kyle made to sure to always ask what the students thought about their paper before going into his comments. He then would briefly have them describe their plans for the next paper and try to guide them if he felt they were not understanding the assignment’s requirements. With some students, he even looked up JSTOR keywords as examples of what they could find on their topic in that particular database.

Entry 4:

This day was a visit to the library. I was impressed by the research librarian’s presentation and even learned things myself about how to store citations for later use. The librarian was very thorough concerning what resources were available and what could be considered authoritative or credible.  Students practiced searching for resources based on their individual topics and saved them for later use. I am glad to have witnessed this presentation in the library because I honestly did not quite understand its value until being there for it.

Entry 5:

Kyle went over how to complete proposals. He tied it to genres of writing students may be more familiar with like resumes or grants.  Kyle showed a proposal he had written himself  as an example. He then had a mini-lesson on introductions and had to avoid cliche or boring ones. He went over strategies such as revising the introductory heavily after the paper is complete when the students have a clearer picture of their essay’s direction and purpose. He then showed a clip from the Dark Knight to show the elements of how the film introduced the story and how this can relate to a research paper’s introduction.  

Entry 6:

Kyle showed an example of a student research essay that breaks away from the five paragraph format. He told me before class that he was hesitant to show them an example since many end up closely emulating the style and organization of whatever is shown, but he believed the positives outweighed the negatives, as many students seemed apprehensive when it comes to the research paper. He went over the concept of “MEAL,” and how, though it was not set in stone, the idea of including the main idea, evidence, analysis, and a link back to thesis was not a bad way to frame some of the paragraphs. He also went over how to include the counter argument (or refutation) and strategies to use synthesis in the conclusion.

Entry 7:

I co-taught this course with my lesson being on logical fallacies. I attempted to connect the lesson to students’ prior knowledge as well as their current assignment and why they would want to avoid logical fallacies in their research papers. I obviously needed to work on timing as getting through the fallacies took a lot longer than planned. On Kyle’s recommendation, I used The Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments, which include in-depth coverage of fallacies in conjunction with easily digestible examples in illustrated form but did not present well on the projector. I rushed through a few of the fallacies so students would have time to get into groups, as my plan had not been to lecture so long. In the groups I had them define the fallacy in their own words, come up with an example per student in the group, and explain why they thought that fallacy was important in the real world. They presented their answers, and it became apparent while one group was presenting that they seemed to be confused what their fallacy meant with their examples not aligning to its definition. While I was frozen as to how to direct them without being overt, I was thankful to Kyle who asked some pointed questions that got them back on track. My biggest weakness of the day was surely timing (I also probably gave the students too long in groups) and therefore I did not get to many of the clips and images that could have helped solidify their understanding of the fallacies. Luckily, I was able to show a couple clips during the groups’ presentations when I felt it appropriate to what they discussed.

Entry 8:

Once again, students workshopped each others’ papers. I believe having the conference with Kyle helped them understand what to look for in their peer workshops. I heard a lot more of the language that Kyle had used when discussing papers being thrown around the classroom. Kyle once again put up questions to help guide what the students might look for in their peers’ drafts. They then went over some mini-lessons on formatting.  

Entry 9:

Kyle got to take a break as I led the class. It actually felt very natural and as nice and accommodating as Kyle is, I found myself more at ease, less nervous to have “the instructor” not there. The class was devoted to a discussion on a film they had watched, My Name, which served as an example of mixed or bent genres. I started the class with a journal which I believe helped jumpstart the discussion since the students had more confidence since their thoughts written down and could use these to help contribute to the conversation. Although I had questions written down in case there were lulls, the discussion was both productive and lively and i only interceded when I thought it could be directed more toward the idea of genre, audience, or the rhetorical situation.  We transitioned nicely and naturally to many of the points I wanted to make on my printed sheet of questions and I therefore did not need to consult it like I thought I would. I was thoroughly impressed by the thoughtful connections students made—many I had not thought of. During class, I brought up the trailer for the film with English dubs to contrast with the subtitled version they had seen, and we also analyzed the various international posters for the film. The conversation naturally segued into how the film was also a book and how this fit into their own upcoming remediation project. Having talked to Kyle extensively, I felt authorized to give feedback to their questions on the project and how remixing their paper’s topic could work. I also relayed some of their concerns back to Kyle who made sure to bring in more examples and reinforce some of the requirements of the final project. A student even told Kyle that he thought I did a great job leading the class!

Entry 10:

After commenting on their essays, I sat in once again on conferences but took a more active role this time. Because of me being a part of the conferences, I believe this contributed to every conference taking much longer than the allotted ten minutes. Kyle got push back from one student, but I believe he handled it well. The student wanted to simply delete what he believed Kyle did not like and turn it in the next day, but Kyle repeatedly attempted to show him ways to more holistically alter the paper to meet the requirements of the assignment. Without even consulting Kyle, my comments on the essays often mirrored his own (both strengths and concerns) which I think helped reinforce my confidence in grading students’ papers at a college level.

Reflection:

I am glad Dr. Coxwell-Teague and company took the time to consciously pair us up with instructors who were in similar programs. Kyle is also an MFA student (albeit in poetry), and we got along very well due to our common interests and background. His course, though focused on a theme of movies and thus structured much differently than most, still helped me tremendously, especially in seeing how to break up time in class and his modeling of strategies for teaching at the college level. Our time chatting before class was probably the most valuable portion of the internship, and we discussed at length his transition in teaching methods from his earlier classes and how he had arrived to this point. He even referred multiple times to his own internship and what he had gleaned from the experience. These chats often acted as reflections to the previous day’s observed class and helped organize and delineate my thoughts as to what I had witnessed and recorded.

Kyle admitted that this semester had some of his most difficult students, but I believe he handled the situations with aplomb, making sure to keep his students accountable and responsible for their own actions. This is one area I was most nervous about, but I think it was healthy for me to get to witness one student drop out fairly late and another get a lower grade than he wanted. Overall, they were given every opportunity to succeed, and most did.

One thing that surprised me was how nervous I was the first time I led the classroom, especially since I have three years experience teaching high school and middle school. I admit it had been a while since I had been in front of a class which probably contributed to my nerves. Luckily, I was much more comfortable the second round. Despite Kyle being extremely supportive, not having him there the second time helped me feel like I had more agency over the classroom. This in conjunction to already having been in front of the classroom helped me feel more at ease. My timing and the natural flow of the discussion ended up going way better during the second round. I was more comfortable with even basic aspects of the classroom like layout and how to use the projector screen.

When I taught high school and middle school, I dressed more as an authority (dress shoes, ties, etc.), but I found myself quickly growing more relaxed  in my presentation to the college classroom. College students are more motivated for the most part than the average high school student—or perhaps motivated by different factors is more accurate—and I believe the college instructor’s authority comes more from demeanor, professionalism, and the position itself (as well, of course, knowledge in the field). I enjoyed the ability to be more casual and discussion based with the students and I believe this attitude opens them up to creating more connections and being more insightful. One thing I will probably take from my time as a high school and middle school teacher, though, is the importance of procedures. For after watching Kyle’s class, I see how procedures are still important in a college classroom. Although they can be more loose in such an environment, they still help students understand expectations and are a way for the instructor to keep focused and on-task.   

\Once again, though Kyle’s course is more idiosyncratic than other sections of 2135, there was a lot to be gleaned from observing and co-teaching in his classroom. The fact that it was focused on film/movies made it so many of the resources would not fit well within my own lesson plans, but I am looking forward to implementing the other aspects I gleaned such as teaching strategies and the culture of the classroom. I am especially excited to have the luxury of a longer semester—the summer session moves by so fast!