(In which Steven attempts to write something unique about being unique, or having uniqueness, or he just attempts to write something after all this time.)
Have you ever thought about what is unique about your classroom, about your class, about your input, about your relationship with your students?
I appreciate a simple question dragged on a little there so I’ll give you a little time to think about it.
To think about…
Is uniqueness important, even desired?
In a competitive environment, why should students come to your class? Competition in education is mentioned often, and increasingly so, but I don’t just mean colleges in competition with each other or with schools and I don’t just mean your faculty/department in competition with another over finite students.
I mean competition for your students’ time.
Getting them out of bed! Out of the house! Into the college! Into the class! Into the lesson! There are lots of challenges (and exclamation marks – Ed) and you could simply say that you deliver your lesson and it’s up to the students to attend. And that’s the end of it. Except it isn’t. Retention is a major factor in college funding now, and college funding is a major factor in getting paid and being able to eat (which, as previously mentioned, is important – Ed)
Unique can be a double-edged sword, or triple-edged if added to cynicism
“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We’re all part of the same compost heap. We’re all-singing, all-dancing cr*p of the world.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
So it’s important to know what is meant, and whilst I could throw in a dictionary definition here (Urban Dictionary has nothing of interest on the word – Ed) essentially we do mean different, but we mean different in a useful positive way (hopefully – Ed) Don’t try to copy somebody else’s uniqueness.
Consider not what you teach, but the way that you teach it, the way that you say it and the environment in which it is said. Consider if the college’s marketing was based around your class, if the college’s funding was based around your class, if the course’s success was based around your class; would it be successful?
If there was a poster about it, what would it look like?
If there was a song about it, what would it sound like?
If there was a film about it, what would the tagline be?