Well, it’s almost here. The week when I’m going to start at least one day before four AM. The week when my students have it easy and I bury myself in work. Yes, conferrence week is upon me.
I stumbled upon this technique when I was finishing my MA in English: instead of having students to my office, looking at each other, and sending them out of the den of awkwardness sadder but not much wiser, I started having group conferences for the sake of revision. That way I actually teach them to revise another person’s writing, give them a chance to see what I expect before the grade comes in, and generally cut the hours sitting in my office down. (We meet at Jittery Joe’s, a coffee shop in one of the large classroom buildings at UGA.) Students have mixed feelings about my classes in general, but nobody yet has said anything bad about these meetings other than I should have more of them. (Last semester I finally caved to pressure and put another one at the end, when they’re revising for portfolio submission, doubling my hell but earning at least some gratitude from the urchins.)
The nice thing is that this group seems to be one of the more motivated packs that I’ve taught. Whereas in other semesters most of the meetings have fallen in the last day possible, this time more than half are going in the first two days. What this tells me is that over half of my group wants to get a solid draft composed and spend more time revising, and one couldn’t do much better than that.
But all the same, this Tuesday I’ll likely be up and in the shower before the clock strikes four and work one of the roughest days of the semester. If I thought for a moment that this didn’t work to teach college freshmen to revise papers better than they could before, I quit. But I’m already setting the alarm, so you know what that means.