I taught an “Introduction to Humanities Computing” course about two years ago at the University of Maryland. {One of these days I’ll find the html for the course website and repost it here on my UMKC space.} The students completed some fantastic projects during the course of the semester {okay, and some mediocre ones, too}. I thought we had found a permanent home for these projects on a server at UMD, but unfortunately it looks like they’re gone. This is very disappointing.

Anyway, I was browsing the web recently and came across Jenny Miller | Heck’s Kitchen, which, it turns out, is a website maintained by one of the students from that class. Jenny did a project called “The Golden Age Romance Comics Archive“. Reading through Heck’s Kitchen reminded me of how narrowly I get to know my students when I’m teaching a class. Jenny’s sense of humor, her political concerns, her confidence as a writer, her taste in music {not that different than mine} — I was aware of almost {almost} none of these things while she was a student in my class.

In A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned {a book which I think is kind of flakey, but also very good in places}, Jane Tompkins shares an anecdote in which she sees a self-assured young woman walking down the street and realizes with some shock that it’s a student from one of her classes, a student who never participated in discussions and who, Tompkins assumed, lacked the confidence to do so. {Note: this does not describe Jenny in my class.} At this moment {if I’m remembering correctly} she realized how much the classroom can shape and restrict our behavior and interactions.

In my ideal world, I would be able to develop friendships with students while at the same time being the one who has to be in the position of evaluating and grading them. I still haven’t worked out how to do this.

But I would like to.

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3 thoughts on “students

  1. I’ve been a fan of Heck’s Kitchen for a while now – she’s a good friend of a good friend (if that makes sense). Glad you came across it!

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