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A Rather Bold Mid-Semester Evaluation

playcity23's picture

I wrote my Common App essay on how I managed to adjust to French teaching styles upon moving to Geneva at nine years old. It was quite the leap for younger Tessa. I have always been rather fascinated at the range of teaching styles I can benefit from. Anne’s style is no exception. It’s very college professor type-y. Exactly how I expected a prof at a respectable school to look and act like. She treats us like the fledgling adults we are, while maintaining a fair level of command. She’s both formidable and heartwarming. Obviously she knows the ins and outs of teaching. She gives the best feedback on my writing that I’ve ever recieved. She is meticulous about structuring each class so we get the most out of the time together. I can feel my writing evolving up into Bryn Mawr’s standard of essays, albeit slowly thanks to this class. That being said, I feel that Anne can be too professor-y on occaision. Her high expectations for us and our writing make it difficult to talk to her less than professionally. This might be why starting conversations in class can be rather awkward. Part of the problem might be that none of us want to be the first one to say something. I can only speak for me, but I find it hard to join in the conversation because I’m afraid what will come out of my mouth will sound stupid to Anne and everyone else. I noticed that Anne asks all the questions and doesn’t volunteer her own relevant experiences or personal thoughts much. Methinks if she can make herself a bit less professor-y and more personal, it would help a lot with the conversations and debates we have. Like when she told the story about her daughter turning cartwheels in her brother’s high-end office, I liked that a lot. Her professorial pedestal was lowered. She doesn’t have to talk about her family, or marriage, or her mother’s health. We aren’t friends just yet. Just little tidbits here and there about her observations she wants to volunteer. 

As for Mark’s teaching style, I have no idea. ‘Fraid haven’t been taught by him for more than a couple hours. He seems like the kind of man my father would love to have a fulfilling bromance with, though. 

As for the class at large, I love how we are obligated to play in Philly. I love the field-tripping. It’s the best excuse to get off campus and enjoy myself without feeling guilty about it. I’m getting an accurate sense of the places to go...and the places not to go for the sake of my wellbeing. I used to be mildly fearful of the place. Being a white female, I’m always going to be mindful of my surroundings. But at least in Philly I won’t have to be paranoid anymore. If I stayed paranoid, I would not have been able to enjoy the unique opportunities made available to us. I would never have even heard about Quiet Volume had it not been for this class. I also wouldn’t’ve been compelled to finish Zadie Smith’s White Teeth. I had some profound discussions about art. I’ve never had one of those without it turning into a poo-flinging contest. That’s the internet for you. 

As for the next two months, I hope that the next trips will be as playful as their predesscors. I hope that we’ll get to watch something soon. We can analyze movies like “Citizen Kane” or “Twelve Angry Men” or “the Great Gatsby” (!) for critical play. I, at least can play critically best while watching a good picture. Because for some reason I can do it without much effort. The same can’t be said for when I’m reading a book, play, or anything written. We do this in my French class, because movies change with social movements and they can do things that books cannot, like provide plot twists you didn’t see coming because you can’t sneak a peek at the last chapters. And no matter how old we are, we always perk up in class when we’re told we get to watch a movie. 

One last thing. Could the essay prompts be one question instead of seven (please)? I feel that the prompt vagueness is intentionally vague. Sometimes the vagueness gives us freer reign, but for me, I benefit more from a direct one liner than a paragraph.