I will start by saying that yesterday was a good first day! The students in ENGL 1100 with Abby all seemed very receptive to having me as their advocate and go-to person for any questions or concerns. That advocacy is what I’m most looking forward to about this unique position as embedded mentor/TA. Being the advocate for students in the UWC and being able to act as mediator between them and the professor/between them and the assignments/fear/assumptions was always what allowed me to alleviate their stress the most and encourage them the most; it was utterly fulfilling for me, perhaps because I know how scary asking for help can be and how feeling like they are falling behind or just not getting it can really weigh heavily on a student’s mind.
One thing in class that didn’t go perfectly as I imagined it was the ice breaker. Students were already antsy to leave early at that point because they could hear/see other classes being let out early, but Abby used the full class time like she should have. So, we didn’t get through as many ice breaker questions as I thought we would, and we only got to know a few students who identified with the first few questions (if they liked Marvel/DC movies/comics). The few students who answered “yes” were very enthusiastic, at least! I know what some of the students in class like, but not what most do! As I meet students one-on-one I hope to get to know them better. When they come to my office they’ll see my personality all over my desk with my little decorations and resources for them, so hopefully that will both make them comfortable and encourage them to share about themselves too (if they want to).
At least one student is planning to come today and I’m looking forward to it. She was totally proactive and emailed me with a question yesterday and it was a “proper” and polite block letter email, so she’s already on the right track!
As for those resources I mentioned, I’ve put some spare pencils, erasers, and notebooks that I never used (and just don’t have room for at home) out on my desk for them if they need them. The pencils and erasers are Halloween style, of course. I’ve also got the Counselling Center’s Coping Skills chart right on the wall where both the students and I can see it. I’ve got the academic calendar, Abby’s class schedule and other student services documents available on my desk in a folder so I can quickly reference them for students.
I'm just your average fictional creature, living in a swampland by the sea.