Hello! I’m Tomie. This is my second semester as a grad student. My emphasis is Creative Writing, but at the suggestion of many, I’m also preparing to teach English Composition. Currently, I’m enrolled in an internship with Paul Eggers and his English 220, Beginning Creative Writing class, so between this seminar and that, I’m getting inundated with the skills to tackle a class of my own in the near future, and hopefully for the rest of my life/career – since I realize my writing will only take me so far and ultimately I will be a teacher of some sort. When I ventured back to school a few years back, all I knew at the time was that my desire was to continue an education in English. One step led to another, and now I find myself here – thrilled to be on my way to attaining the personal goal of graduate school, yet more and more nervous to actually attain that goal. The entire process has been putting myself in one uncomfortable and challenging situation after another, so I guess this is par for the (student/teacher) course. I look forward to working with all of you as I continue to learn just how much I have to learn in and from this process.
A few things I’ve been tossing around since meeting last week, and discussing Dewey, are Dewey’s emphasis on children and how their entire focus is on the people or the individuals around them – he uses the term “folks” – which I cannot stop referring back to. He said of one of his exercises: “It illustrates in a way the dominant desire of the children to talk, particularly about folks and of things in relation to folks. If you observe little children, you will find they are interested in the world of things mainly in its connection with people, as a background and medium of human concerns” (45). I cannot help but believe that as humans, and as teachers, we should always be about the people – or in a more intimate term, the folks. It is my goal to be interested in my teaching (like children are) mainly in its connection with people.
On a lighter note (and I hope you’ll forgive/bear with me on this) the other item I cannot get out of my mind is the assignment for us to sign up for twitter and its overall objective of being connected with others. This could be because over break I began reading Helen Fielding’s newest addition about Bridget Jones entitled “Mad About the Boy”. In this novel Bridget is trying to piece her life back together after losing her husband. She is fifty and raising two small children. If you know anything about Bridget, she is going for quite the ride. But, there is a section titled “Social Media Virgin” which sums up her experience with signing up for twitter as a way to become less isolated and “never feel alone ever again” (43). This section (Bridget’s diary notations, which is the format for Fielding’s novels) begins on a Saturday evening just after 9 PM, and just after she gets her children to bed and to sleep. It chronicles Bridget’s twitter “journey” until Wednesday evening about the same time. Here are a few of the highlights:
Saturday, 9.45 p.m. Have got onto Twitter site but do not understand. Is just incomprehensible streams of gibberish half-conversations with @this and @that. How is anybody supposed to know what is going on?
Sunday, 9.15 p.m. OK. Have got self set up on Twitter now. Need to find name. Something young sounding: TotesAmazogBridget?
Sunday, 9.46 p.m. Maybe not.
Sunday, 10.15 p.m. JoneseyBJ!
Sunday, 10.16 p.m. But why does it call it @JoneseyBJ? @? At? At when?
Monday, 9.15 p.m. Cannot figure out how to put up photo. Is just empty egg-shaped graphic. Is fine! Can be photo of self before was conceived.
Monday, 9.45 p.m. Right. Will wait for followers.
Monday, 9.47 p.m. No followers.
Monday, 10.02 p.m. No followers.
Monday, 10.12 p.m. Still no followers. Humph. Whole point of Twitter is you are supposed to talk to people but there isn’t anyone to talk to.
Monday, 10.15 p.m. Followers 0. Feel lurching sense of shame and fear: maybe they are all Twittering to each other, and ignoring me because I’m unpopular.
Monday, 10.16 p.m. Maybe even Twittering to each other about how unpopular I am, behind my back.
Monday, 10.30 p.m. Great. Not only am I isolated and alone but also, now clearly, unpopular.
Anyhow, this goes on for a few more days and then on Wednesday we read:
Wednesday, 9.15 p.m. Am not going to do Twitter any more or check followers any more. Maybe will go on Facebook.
Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and I’m happy to finally have gotten the push to sign up for Twitter myself. I just can relate to Bridget on so many levels – especially when it comes to trying something new. Although Twitter is only a minor “new thing” for me right now, it exemplifies the comical aspect of diving into it full throttle. From the apprehension to the lack of knowledge to the way it is all consuming. But really, the downright plain crazy process behind it all.