Friday, July 23, 2010

My Biggest Fear

 I'm going to get students like this. I know it.

We're now at the tail-end of week three (of four) in the training I'm taking to become an online instructor at BYU-Idaho. With one week left, including a group conversation that'll take place Friday morning, I have to wonder: Am I up to this?

I ask the question because I do not suffer fools well. I should modify that. On the ethers and in paper, I think I suffer them tolerably well. But that's because I manage to put a filter between me and the reactions I allow to escape. Perhaps that's a sign of maturity: We still have the feeling of not suffering fools well, but we learn to moderate our outward reactions. I hope that comes through.

I have a principal worry in that my past online course experience has been as a student in a graduate program, dealing with people who suffer fools as equally poorly as I do, but have learned to moderate their behavior so that their suffering doesn't show. I'm not sure what to expect with a bunch of giggly freshmen, especially freshmen who have to take this English class because they're required, not because they actually like to write. Michelle, a former high school teacher, tells me to be prepared for lots and lots and lots of "[Insert Student Name Here], Biff at Large" behavior.

And yet there will be students who are wonderful human beings and excited to be in this class. Though I'm not holding my breath in thinking I'll get a lot of those.

I will make it through the first semester. There's no question of quitting once I start. I just hope I don't end up virtually strangling a student between now and Christmas.

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