Friday, May 11, 2007

Summer of corruption

[Read more about the blogging syllabus here.]

I have been teaching for the last 10 years. In all that time I still haven't learned to value of daily lesson plans and or units or syllabuses. Some students respond well to this and stick around asking questions because they get the impression that I'm willing to answer/guide/research or otherwise accompany them on the path of learning (you can roll your eyes).

This also means that several students are ignored and learn very little.

So we got our evaluations back the other day and they're about what I expected. The online format yielded more honest results than the evaluations of past semesters. What interests me are the comments.

Here are three of them:

  • While the instructor was friendly and laid back, there was no clear syllabus to follow. I feel that I didn't expand any of my reading or writing skills in this class.

  • He is one of the best professors I have had. He really cares about us students. He wants us to really learn and do good in the class.

  • I could only hope that Purdue University is lucky enough to have individuals as exceptional as Michael Covarrubias for teachers or professors for the rest of the University's existence.

Sounds about right.

Next term I get to teach a 108 (Advanced Composition) instead of a 106 (Intro Composition). Some friends and I will be joining forces and using contributor blogs as a composition forum. I'd like to take some credit for coming up with the idea. I don't know if I'll get any.

But more importantly I've been given a 327: History of the English Language. This is what I've been hoping for. I have some planning to do over the summer. This will be alongside the sound change research I have to continue as I prepare for my prelim papers.

My reading for the summer will be focused on Labov. Specifically the first two volumes (Internal Factors and Social Factors) of his Patterns of Linguistic Change series. James Milroy will also get my attention. The ELL prelim examinations allow me to write 4 papers, each focusing on a different area. The 3 required areas are Syntax Phonology and Semantics. I'll try to get Historical in there for the 4th. My hub topic is going to be prescriptivism and its ability to sublimate or change the UR of a phonetic form. My main question will investigage the evidence of URs that have disappeared in some dialects and the possibility of either resurfacing or being spontaneously introduced into other (sometimes later) dialects.


  1. I apologize for LOL after the third comment. My reaction wasn't directed so much on my experience with you as a teacher, but on the hyperbole of the comment alone. "The rest of the University's existence"? Seriously.3

  2. Completely understandable. Though I suspect that anyone who knows my teaching is bound see the most truth in the first comment.

    Nice job by the way using "LOL" in the conversational manner. Though I claimed in the last post that this is rarely done you have elegantly proved that YMMV.


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