I’m nearly finished grading for the semester. Only half a dozen or so late papers left. Yay! I have so much I can’t wait to get working on and finish up. Anyway, the class “final” was a two-ish page paper explaining what each student learned this semester. Research shows that such reflection cements their learning even better.
For several reasons, this has been my favorite paper to grade: they’re short, they’re well written, they’re enthusiastic and personal, they report significant learning and progress in writing abilities (which is evident in their final research papers), and for the most part, they’re highly complimentary of the course and the instructor.
Now comes the part that explains this blog post’s title. Convention dictates that you shouldn’t brag. It says you shouldn’t think too highly of yourself, and if you happen to think you’re a fairly quality person, then you’d better hide it so no one mistakes that for pride.
Well, I wholeheartedly disagree. Most people I know didn’t escape childhood completely unscathed, or for whatever reason, they don’t think as highly of themselves as others do. I think most people would be better off if they opened their eyes and let in the truth instead of believing that self deception and false humility are praiseworthy. I believe they would be happier and more motivated and healthier if they gave themselves a pat on the back once in a while – or, even better, graciously accepted those pats from others. I’m convinced that would make this world a far, far, far better place. That’s the kind of world I long to live in.
Therefore, I have long been a sworn enemy of the Ego Police – the enforcers of this conventional wisdom. The people who put others down for being too happy or looking too good or being pleased with their success and awesomeness. The people who only know how to tease “down” and feel awkward and vulnerable when building others up. Ironically, the most ardent members of the ego police force are often those who most need ego support and repair, whether they know it or not.
It’s easier said than done, of course. I admit that I feel slightly uncomfortable at what I’m about to do – post complimentary excerpts from several of these papers. But that can’t stop me! I’ve made up my mind. I’m excited about and pleased with this quality semester and I’m going to celebrate it and set an example of standing tall and living out loud. I want to change. I want to perfect my confidence all the way down to the core. I want to take myself for granted. This won’t happen without a little stretching.
If you dare, I invite you to do the same. Share something awesome about yourself that you’d like to celebrate and tell the world about in the comments of this post or on your own blog or facebook or anywhere at all. I bet we’ll all enjoy reading them – and if it makes us the least bit uncomfortable, then that serves to show us our own fears and help us choose to throw them behind us.
I’ll start with a comment that speaks directly to this whole blog post:
“Beyond just the writing process or rhetorical analyses, I enjoyed your class because it was good to talk to someone that has transcended the traditional way of thinking and living. Someone who has stepped outside the norm in hopes to fill your cup with whatever it is you hope to find around the world.”
“We waited and meanwhile the conversation continued and all sorts of topics were being tossed around the room. Then, all of a sudden, he sprung from his seat and slung his backpack over his shoulder and moved to the front of the room. The students who had been speaking openly and in some ways aggressively about some topics were surprised to learn that they had been carrying on this conversation with our English professor.
“There was a lesson to be learned in this experience and now as I reflect on the class and my learning, I may be seeing a glimpse of the reason why Shaun Roundy had placed himself in the middle of the classroom on the first day. You see, he seemed to take an interest in the group. It wouldn’t become obvious for a while but Shaun was paying attention to his class not just collectively but individually. Shaun’s approach to the class surprised many and at the same time he captured our attention. And he, in my opinion, very quickly sold us on the value of learning good writing skills. He made this class fun. Could it be? English, writing, fun?
“I believe Shaun’s passion for writing and his passion for life and learning have rubbed off on many of the members of this class. I can only speak in certainty for myself and I can tell you that I never entered this class with the intent of walking out of it on the last day, wishing it could go longer and that I could stay and learn more. I attribute this experience to the methods and madness of our instructor.”
“I can honestly say this was my favorite class. I loved going to class everyday because I knew I would walk out knowing something new. As I look back I can see an obvious change in myself and I attribute it to this class. I learned so many new things about the world and life in general. I walked into this class thinking I was only learning English, but I was wrong. I learned about life. I learned just how complex the world and life can be but with that I learned how exciting it is. My mind is full of new ideas. I found ways to challenge myself by exploring new ideas and concepts. I look at the world as a challenge and as a gateway to learn something new every day. I loved the atmosphere that was in this class. Everyone was really relaxed and friendly, something that is far different than my other classes.”
“What [I] liked most about Professor Roundy was that Professor Roundy would get everyone to come out of their comfort zones and try new things. With all things that Professor Roundy did and taught, [I] started learning and liking English. [I] started coming to class with a thought of, “What is Professor Roundy going to do today?”
“[I] learned so many things from Professor Roundy that [I] was amazed. [I] started finding that Professor Roundy looked at papers so strictly because Professor Roundy knew everything about English and was trying to help his students learn what he knew. With this knowledge [I] started being strict about [my] own papers. This made writing papers for [me] easier; whether it was for English 2010 or for [my] other classes.”
“The semester has come to an end, which means English 2010 has concluded. It finished like fireworks on the fourth of July. Well actually the last day seemed like the ending of the Titanic; my class members looked shockingly sad. It is like the ending of an intense competition, you can’t wait for it to be over after all the work you have put in, but once it is you look back and are shockingly sad. This moment is a bittersweet moment, but it passes.”
“This semester in English I actually learned a lot, and not just how to write a good paper, I also learned a lot about life and critical thinking. I didn’t speak up much but I soaked up everything I learned like an eager sponge. Your style of teaching is what intrigued me from the beginning, it was different from any other English teacher I’ve had and I really enjoyed it.”
I may add more soon…gotta finish grading!