Discover more from Reign of Ravynn
Classroom Energy/Interest Matrix
A comic rehashing conversations from my classroom
In a fit of enthusiasm and excitement at having a blogging space once again, I developed a nice long list of content I wanted to create for Reign of Ravynn, including the above comic. Content may come with a little more frequency in the beginning to account for my newfound interest and also because I want to fill out the space a little.
Rest assured, I likely will not be in your inbox daily. Or even weekly. Beginnings are exciting and I tend to run with where my energy is.
Speaking of energy…
This comic is a condensed version of a chat I had with my seminar students for my #BlackGirlsMadeThis* this class. (*#BGMT is my interdisciplinary Black digital humanities/media studies class that includes a lot of components of critical making as well as theorizing about digital spaces.) I attempted to describe how different classrooms require particular strategies, and thus I used this matrix to describe general trends.
I like for my classes to be in that top right quadrant: high energy, high interest. I love lively discussions and running to intellectually keep up with my students. On the down side, more enthusiasm means sometimes it’s hard to keep everyone on track and reined in. This pace can leave students who take longer to process behind. So while it’s a beautiful space for creativity and wading in intellectual mess, it takes folks a little bit to get comfortable even going there—if they want to at all.
Low energy but high interest is actually not a bad place to be either, at least for me. Classrooms in this quadrant might require a little more nudging to get the conversation going, so you need to come in prepared with a few more tricks up your sleeves. I have another class that’s there, and I’ve found they often need more time to gather their thoughts before entering into a full class discussion. We’re trying to work with notecards and beginning of the class reflection questions now to mitigate some of that discomfort; it seems to be working.
But the bottom left quadrant, low energy/low interest, is a really hard place to be as a professor. It’s hard to get students moving there; it’s like the Bermuda Triangle of classrooms. I have to remind myself that these classrooms do happen and it’s okay if things don’t work there. I have to stay the course and I’ll navigate out eventually.
But the bottom left quadrant, low energy/low interest, is a really hard place to be as a professor…it’s like the Bermuda Triangle of classrooms.
It’s worth also noting that not every class stays in one quadrant the whole semester. You might have a class that typically shows up in high energy/high interest, but there are going to be some days where you realize your road dogs have gotten lost in the Bermuda Triangle. And vice versa. But you learn to navigate the lags and bumps with as much grace as you can.
Teaching is the epitome of “trust the process.”
And just about every day, my students give me reasons to believe that.
At the end of last semester, I ended up making a few comics about teaching that ended up being zines that I love now and are decorating my office. I’ll repost some of those here over the next few weeks.
But for now, enjoy one other teaching illustration that I created last fall that I love.