500 Words At A Time: As A Teacher, First Day of My Last Semester

Tomorrow is my first day of the my last semester here at Ferris. I probably should be feeling something other than “Oh, goodie.” But I am not. Too many first days and too many things I can think of that are better uses of my time. Except this time, my first day is my day. This semester, my last (I do like how that sounds) truly is my semester.

I have a self-made obligation to be on campus one day a week to work with Technical-Professional Communications students in their capstone class, specifically assisting them in setting up their online portfolios, as I have experience with WordPress and creating an online portfolio. I am looking forward to working with students again.

These students should have a better idea of what is expected of them as this is a capstone class. Thus, I should be more of a guide or assistant than outright educator. They most likely will not believe me or the professor when they are told that creating an online portfolio along with a physical portfolio is a full time project. It might not be a full time project if they have been thinking about their professional life or things that they have always wanted to use as an example of their work. If my capstone class is any indication, nobody has given that any thought at all.

Because I have previous experience, I know not to bludgeon them with a shit ton of information while asking them to get creative in a “This will be yours for the rest of your life kind of way.” My thoughts, at this moment is to start with the creative aspect first. Actually decide upon the following first:

  • Is this portfolio for a grade or is this portfolio the first step in establishing your professional persona?

It won’t matter to me, which way they answer in that I don’t care, but I want to know. Those who are doing it for the grade, will put in the perfunctory amount of work or close to it to pass. They will not need much in the way of anything from me other than reminders to meet goals. Those who want to go all out are the people will want the assistance and put forth the effort. Like I said, not really important to me which answer they give other than learning upfront who will be putting in the work and who will be waiting until the last moment.

After that question, time to show them a couple of portfolios and have them find a few on their own. Hopefully, for those on the fence, seeing what can be done and how creative portfolios can get will motivate them to try.

The main reason I am looking forward to Wednesdays, aside from assisting those who want the assist, is because my other self-motivated class is publishing online and in print 500 Words. Yes, that is right, publishing. I worry that if I was not around people who also had to produce something, sitting at home I might start to drift onto other projects and I do not want that.

My last semester is tomorrow and I am looking forward to the experience. What happens is another 500 Words…



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