Thursday, May 19, 2005

I've realized that my earlier post about negative course evaluations was the result of a pedagogical mistake. So I self-corrected in the Wednesday section of the same course and voila!! the class was receptive, attentive. It was the best class of the semester for this section. I even saw some "Eureka!" moments in some students as I lectured about the process we went through together for 15 weeks. As one of them said, "I now understand what you mean by transcendence -- that I can actually acknowledge (and not erase) differences as long as I do not maintain hierarchies in my head about them." Or as another student said: "As someone who is theoretically-oriented, the literature helped me understand that stories, myths, poems, also contain history, politics -- all of which helped me understand my life and the history I carry on my back."

I was only concerned with one student who said that doing her poetry journal using Eileen's book was a very traumatic experience for her. I have a feeling that the combination of reading Roshni's The Braided Tongue, stirred up some unconscious stuff via the poems and the novel. I hope she will be okay. Oh, the power of literature!

Thanks to Jean who offered comfort and from whom I'm learning a lot about pedagogy.

And...15 students in my Asian American seminar class came for pancit, adobo, tofu, tropical fruit salad, and pan de sal last night as our end-of- the-course celebration and send-off for graduates. I enjoy this part of teaching as I get to eavesdrop on student-talk about their lives. I'm proud of the student who said that she can now identify herself as Asian American because she understands that she is part of its history as a Hmong. Or the student who is raising two daughters and is finally graduating. Or the Fil Am students who now plan to go to the Philippines as part of a study-abroad program. Someone even said that this was the best course she's taken in all her SSU years!

This is the heart of teaching...and sometimes you get there by way of a full stomach. As one student remarked: My mother will be happy to know that I was well-fed today.

This is what makes me a Filipina... take the Filipina into a classroom and she'll find a way to smuggle adobo into it! Work is fun.

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