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Reflecting on my inquiry paper and movin’ on to my reflective essay…

12/06/07

So upon receiving my inquiry paper, I felt really proud to have completed this project and to have completed it to the best of my abilities considering the time constraints I have faced all semester. I remember the turn-in day, it was cold! Waiting for the bus as usual to come to campus to drop of the inquiry paper plus 3 others for classes in buildings spread miles apart. So, me running around to turn in all these paper, all had to have been written at nearly the same time now shows me that hard work and dedication goes a long way.

The process of writing the inquiry paper was not difficult for me, but I know time was an issue. Trying to get participants for my subject was difficult, but I'm glad I didn't give up. My topic of giving voice to the issues multilingual people face when writing in English was very necessary, so my willingness to complete a project that I know would produce some "gray area" magic has helped me to realize much about myself and the writing process that I haven't thought about for some time. Yes, there is more I would like to do, so I’m letting these thoughts marinate for sometime until I have more time to, shall we say, barbecue? :D
Beyond my reflection of my inquiry paper, I move on to thinking about general thoughts about my consultations. I am truly touched that I have had multiple frequent filers. I'm glad to hear it when they say that I have really helped them and that they look forward to coming back. See, this sentence here, this is exactly what I want to say in my reflective essay, hmmm, maybe I should just snatch it from here and put it in my paper, but you know, say it better! :D I've seen the students I have worked with evolve in both their writing and in their personalities. It's funny when I see the one-timers, who cam into the center with an attitude on that particular day, but who now are able to wave at me when they see me walking around campus. I also run into my frequent fliers! Talk about running into a frequent filer at Target, wow, it is a small world.

As for my reflection on my experiences this semester, I'm trying really hard to think about how I have changed. I don't know if "change" is the right word for me, but maybe its how I've "grown." The type of consulting I do, which I have thought about how to explain for my reflective essay has began and continued in the same manner, but now I feel like it comes second nature. Two things I know I had to change: 1) How to write comments after the sessions and 2) how to let it go if students are reluctant to getting help and how to move past this sentiment during as session. I have learned both.

I can remember the conversation I had with one of the TACs about writing comments. I wasn't trying to evaluate or be a teacher by saying I thought they had a strong thesis or something, I just was thinking that I happy they were pleasant to work with and also was proud to see that their work was well-written, which yes, is an opinion, but what I felt that most people need is really to be taken seriously and to be restored a part of them that they have lost when wrestling with writing. Maybe I misinterpreted the “praise? article or maybe applied it wrong? Anyway, now I just write the comments now they way we are supposed to, but in my mind I recognize what people do well and try to tell them during a session in a way that does not evaluate nor either praise, it simply acknowledges the fact that I can rejoice in know that someone has worked hard and has tried to better themselves, even if it is only through an assignment. En punto (period).

Comments

Brittany, I love how you're using the blog as a space to brainstorm on the reflection paper. And, I'm intrigued by what you say about the Comments here. You're right, those Comments don't capture at all the feelings we have when working with students, the praise we give them in sessions, or the potential and value we see in them and their work. They are just neutral records of "what happened"-- not why nor how cool it is. So, I hope you're enjoying working on this paper (and in the future on the SWS internal blog) as a place to explore the feelings and thoughts you have about the work and your students.

Is it necessarily bad to say in the Comments that something was "good" in the session? When I went back to read comments for someone who had an appointment with me, I saw that I had met with them already. But, my comments were so generic and clinical-sounding that I had no idea who it was. It turns out that she was one of the most interesting people I'd ever seen, so I included some good, interesting things we'd talked about in the session in the comments, so perhaps if I had another appointment with her I could remember who she was by the comments. And I've started to do that with other sessions--giving "cues" to myself so that I might be able to read the sessions later and remember who they were. Furthermore, if a session was mind-blowing, I probably will include the fact that they had really good ideas and such in the comments.

So...is that bad??