Last night Bob stopped at Barcelona while he was waiting for me to finish class. A man was sitting next to him at the bar who was exclaiming about his age (50), in that way people do when they perceive you are considerably younger. Bob's blessed in this way, he appears a decade younger than his actual age (53). He chose not to disabuse the man of the notion.
This led us to talking about age, retirement, etc. Sometimes I wonder how I'll manage to continue teaching for 15 more years, but the alternative, administration, is not more attractive. The problem is that the students keep getting younger (it can't be that I am getting older, LOL)...the challenge is to figure out how to stay relevant, in sync.
The woman who teaches in the same classroom before my afternoon class is teaching a writing-intensive course. We've chatted a few times about the decline in students' writing and critical thinking skills. I'm generally more of an optimist, but then my classes aren't writing intensive. They aren't absent writing requirements either, though, and on Thursday, with this semester's performance on my mind, I mentioned SED's proposal to her.
We are in agreement that it's a good idea, and she said the proposed requirement -- four pages using four sources -- is what her students are up to right now, and they grouse about it. She also said she'd attended some forum with corporate employers who shared that they refuse to hire recent graduates because they are so lacking. Tough message in an economy that already is not friendly to the inexperienced.
On the other hand, Bob is having a hard time finding experienced architects and engineers to hire. Really illustrates what I've anecdotally heard, that there is a shortage of candidates for skilled jobs.
I've been thinking that I have to make an effort to change some of the requirements in my classes, to intervene sooner and teach more about writing. The timing is good, since with the creation of the new reader, I will have to transform some of the curriculum and assignments.