As a writer and college instructor, I can easily sink into my own world. Yet this past week, I’ve had the chance to see that world from the other side.
The writing sphere usually involves lightly stalking my subjects, asking questions, rejoicing when they respond, then writing and revising. Rinse and repeat.
For teaching, the routine is mostly to come up with activities and explorations that hopefully lead to learning and/or thinking. Rinse. Repeat. The rest of the time I make up assignments and criteria, hope students follow said criteria, and then check assignments and find that they sometimes do and sometimes don’t follow it. The success of that last item determines whether my hair remains intact or not.
So my trip to the point-of-view equivalent of Australia started last week when I discovered a student has quoted me in an article about farmers markets. I loved the experience of sitting in the interviewee chair, and then seeing what the interviewer chose to use. It’s like one of those lolcats suddenly faced with her own reflection.
Zowee! I can haz perspective?
That trip continued this week as I worked on my final paper for an online class about sign language interpreting. I worked on it in the midst of grading student videos that often made me smile and beam with pride, but just as often went too far off what I thought were clear instructions. In my own paper, I reigned in my own temptation to wander. I still finished a good 3/4 page longer than the required length (if you’re reading this, Prof, sorry about that! I didn’t mean to cause you any coif drama). I learned a great deal, though, both about the topic and process of deciding how important that grade is, when other matters await.
I send much love and admiration to the faculty members grading right now. I wish you good luck, and beg you to share your sanity secrets. Even with my recent insights, I could sure use them.