It’s the last lesson of the term, period 1, and some wag of an occulist student* has suggested we do breakfast to celebrate, before the oral presentations on Peter Carey stories continue. Good idea, I think, and I grab the Maths Department toaster on the way to class, with my loaf of raisin toast, wondering just who’ll remember and whether there’ll be enough to go around.
But there was food a’plenty. Blueberry muffins, fresh slice, croissants, more toast as well as two kinds of juice, tea (English Breakfast) and hot chocolate. Someone had bought plates, someone else had bought plastic knives and forks. When I asked them how they’d organised it all? On the Facebook, of course.
Which reminded me that, as with my class last year, they all are in a Literature study group where they (presumably) discuss things in class beyond the food requirements or ‘cake day’. I say presumably, because I’m not on Facebook, and even if I was, there are school rules against ‘friending’ students on social media.
It annoyed me a lot last year. I was busy trying to create these vibrant online spaces for class collaboration, and they were all across ‘there’, already doing it. I blogged about it a while ago here: https://learningau.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/should-i-be-on-the-facebook/ and got a really good comment from Ann Evans who wrote:
“On the other hand, why not leave them a space where they can help each other. They can bring the questions and conclusions they devise to class and discuss them there. The challenge of helping each other will be lessened if the professor is looking on.”
Which is probably right. I actually asked my students what they thought; would it make any difference to the freedom of their interactions if their teachers were in those groups. One said that they’d have to change their language a bit. No-one looked super-keen on the idea of me looking over their shoulders online.
Maybe I should be learning to let go. Let go of some of that sense of control, and that it’s got to be me who sets the learning agenda. It’s their final year. Next year most of them will be at university, doing their own thing. And they got breakfast organised!
*Okay, gratuitous Gatsby reference.