These classes weren’t as organized as they should have been (too many departmental distractions for the instructor) and too many students in the poorly under-enrolled classes weren’t prepared, that is, their introductory news classes hadn’t prepped them for advanced courses. That’s been happening a lot.
M293, which started with seven, ended the semester with three. Students dropped as they couldn’t or wouldn’t come to class – and couldn’t do or wouldn’t do the assignments – citing such excuses as their job or internship obligations, etcetera. I had wanted to do something new with the class – Â I was operating in a multimedia classroom and wanted to explore multimedia journalism more – but this class wasn’t ready for any experimentation. Plus, again, my class organization was poor but then. of course. students who had dropped over several weeks might have just dropped in one fell swoop if I had been properly organized.
Undisciplined students usually try to test an instructor’s resolve about how much he or she will hew to the syllabus guidelines.Â
Feature writing was a little better. Started with five, ended with three. One dropped because, he said, the assignments were too demanding* and another was allowed to drop after I filed a disciplinary complaint against her for disrupting class. She had fallen behind, way behind, and gambled that if she acted insubordinately, she could intimidate the instructor and finagle her way to a passing grade. That kind of unscrupulous student strategizing is not uncommon and colleagues have been known to encourage such behavior.
Of the three who remained, one did scintillating work to be published later this summer or early in the fall, and a second did excellent work, again, to be published later this summer or early in the fall. The third did okay but might have done better if, again, I had been better organized.
One of my new game plans call for grooming students to win journalism awards.
*This was the first time I taught the class and because I anticipated stumbling here and stumbling there for a first-time class, I actually imagined that I had made the requirements for this class much easier.