As a teaching assistant on this trip I am overseeing two teams of four students of St. Xavier’s College and their projects. Each team has chosen two great topics that they are compiling a video and photo story as well as a written component. The students have been eager and passionate since day one and I can see their devotion as they work on editing their films and dash off to their last minute interview with the principle that was rescheduled.
They have learned and started to master the use of the new gadgets: Canon G10 digital cameras, voice recorders, HD Flip cameras, or one of the 10 new iMAC computers St. Xavier’s purchased for the program and future courses in journalism. With software such as iMovie and iPhoto installed on the computers, the students were instructed on how to edit content for their projects. So far the projects are looking great, except for the few Bollywood qualities that sneak into the evolving products, such as flashy names and overuse of transitions.
Tomorrow, Thursday, is the day where we reveal the end products for each team and be graded by a panel. I am happy to say my two teams, The Clocks and Susan’s Army, are well on their way to being finished before deadline and have quality finished products, if they listen to the advice Carole and I have provided them after viewing their progress of the day.
Here I will say it is hard to not want to take control of the project and grab ahold of the mouse because I see so much that needs to be changed, but that’s not the way to do it. Carole is right in saying, “Hands off the mouse, explain in words only.” It is better for them to learn how to do it themselves through practice rather than them watching an instructor do the work. I, personally, am a hands-on learner and should be respectful of my group and know my place as a Teaching Assistant. I must guide them to keep working together in figuring out the last pieces of their projects and managing the final product of their project.
I will say it is difficult to get their attention because they are gabbing and off task some of the time, but I will say age is also a contributing factor. We are all so close in age, though I am younger than the students I am teaching, that it becomes hard to not smear the lines of friendship and professional relationship. But, as the two weeks has progressed I believe the respect on each end has increased. We all realize we are there for a common purpose: their success and future.
Now, a break down of the teams. We will first start with the team of staff members, also know as Team Awesome. Carole Burns, Jim Burns, Dr. Stephen Byers, Jennifer Solorio, Chris Whitman and myself make up this dynamite team and I can say that with pride and certainty. We all play off each others strengths and weaknesses in the best ways possible. Say I have a technological question I know I can go to Chris or Jim and they will help me as soon as possible. If Jim has a question about any aspect of writing, deadlines etc. he knows he can come to me and I will be able to help him. Everyone seems genuinely happy with the team. It's a wonderful thing to be able to have intellectual conversations and challenging ones at that with people that you have grown close to within the matter of 12 days. I love our group conversations but I have to say my favorite ones are the ones I share with Jen while we go to bed. Pillow talk can be mans best friend.
My first team is Susan’s Army, named after a faculty member at Xavier’s that has a wonderful British accent she acquired while living her whole life in India. The members are: Falak Choksi, Farheen Raaj, Harveen Kaur Sandhu, and Shiamak Unwalla.
Susan’s Army is focusing on the student life of St. Xavier’s College in three specific aspects, academic life, social life and the cultural life. The concept stemmed from their original idea to convey the history of St. Xavier’s in the past, present and future but after being told they need to narrow it down the students developed this idea and have been working hard ever since. This is their written description of their project turned in for the course website:
This project is an attempt to show our concern for the loss of value on our leather bound, knowledge imparting volumes, which have now turned dusty, mildewed and yellow.
We hope we have been successful in our endeavor to highlight the current situation we are in.
"Confusion never stops,
Closing walls and ticking clocks"
This statement is a perfect quote to convey our state of mind. There have been innumerable occasions where we just wanted to shoot apples off each other's heads, but we managed to tick tock our way till the clock struck and succeed as a team.”
The students are troopers. Even after Susan's Army was told they had to basically start from scratch using the footage they had they went off to lunch, came back rejuvenated and are working as if nothing ever happened.