December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)
I just finished up one of my classes for the semester. It’s been an interesting semester, oddly stressful. I only had to teach on campus one day a week (Tuesday) but I was on campus all day (9am to 9pm most days). My classes were small – the class I just finished had 10 students, the one I wrap up tonight has five. You would think it would be easier – 15 students when I normally have 50 – but I think I would rather have had normal sized classes instead. Not that either class was bad – that’s not the case at all – and the one I just finished was a really fun class and they had a blast with “Review Pictionary” where I put them into teams and they had to communicate all the concepts we learned in class throughout the semester in pictures on the white board. It was *almost* a tie, but The Sexy Hoochies beat out The Pornographers by one point.
Yes, those are the names they selected for their teams. I gave them one minute to decide a team name and this is what they selected. The feminist in me could be offended, but that’s not how I felt. It was a group consensus, actually. When one group decided to be outrageous, the other group decided to join in and we went from there. And it fit the community of that classroom, mostly “non-traditional” students slightly older than the typical university demographic, more comfortable with themselves, and more playful.
One of the things I love the most about teaching is creating a community within my classroom. Effective writing rarely happens in a vacuum; proof of that is a blog like this and #reverb10 in general. Yeah sure, you can get plenty of words out on the page by yourself, locked in a stone tower or attic or any other solitary place. But it’s engaging with other writers, even if you’re only doing it because the university told you you had to take that class, that makes writing meaningful. You’re not alone in the process.
The fallout for me from creating these communities is that I often miss them when they are gone. I know I get to start the process all over again next semester, and the semester after that, but there is always a little loss at the end of the semester, especially when I know many of the students I had will be moving on from here. (One to med school – how cool is that?!)
So I guess my wish for 2011 is to engage in a community that will linger, one that has the same feeling I often get in class, that magic spark when strangers get to know each other a little bit and become friends. That is one of my hopes for this blog, that I can keep up the motivation to write something other than what is expected of me and to enjoy it with a few other like minded people. Lofty goals? Hell yes. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.