Karagöz irons on my head: Online teaching with the puppets breathing down my neck

Karagöz has been “ironing my head” lately – read on to learn about this Turkish proverb (Image from https://fashionbeautyandstyle.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/beauty-review-ghd-eclipse/)

These days, the Karagöz puppets have been spending a lot of time in the classroom with me – more time than ever given that I am teaching an online class for the first time.

The puppets sit on the top of the couch behind me, as I sift through reams and reams of e-paper responses to discussion questions from my students.  For years, I have lamented the fact that it is so hard to get my students to speak up in class – or do their readings, for that matter.  Nowadays, they are talking my ear off and really thinking analytically.  Which is wonderful, but time-consuming when responding to each one with a cogent and hopefully thought-provoking response!   If this were my only task with my students, reading their work would make me happy…but let me tell you what is going on.

Now think about the last time someone talked you ragged, so to speak.  Not only am I being talked ragged by my students in terms of substance – the puppets are swinging their legs up on the couch behind me, commenting all the way on the lackadaisical nature of students’ approach to the writing of these responses.

“Can’t she find a dictionary?” Says Kenne the Queen of Manners (and of grammatical correctness, apparently)

“Since when are its and it’s the same thing!” Celebi, the modern lover laments.

“What is this text language doing in formal writing – R U Kiddin’ me LOLz?” Karagöz cackles from the side…if only the puppets would focus on the wonderful content of my students’ comments, and not on the bad spelling, grammar or use of text messaging language.

And that brings me to this “ironing on my head business.” Kafa ütülemek: It means “to talk too much for too long and bore someone”. It literally translates as “to iron someones head”. Sounds weird, doesn’t it?  Well, it perfectly describes how I feel about this aspect of online teaching.


What about you – what do you think about the concept of online teaching?

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3 Responses to Karagöz irons on my head: Online teaching with the puppets breathing down my neck

  1. Alan says:

    . . too easy to bunk off! As we used to acronymise (I await the response to that one!) on prisoner reports in the Prison service – ‘Wx4’. (Works well when watched)

  2. lizcameron says:

    You know, Alan, until I was forced to teach this online class, I was a total skeptic and would have agreed with you 100%. What I am noticing is that my online students are reading more than they would in an in-person classroom – because they must do so in order to a) pass a quiz each week and b) engage in an analytical discussion about their readings each week. I am sure it is not perfect, and they are skimming to some degree. In a classroom, people can just say “I didn’t read” (which they do all the time) or duck their heads when I am looking for someone to speak on the reading. ALl that said, I like Wx4 as a term!

  3. Alan says:

    I was, in truth, being flip. ‘Horses for Courses’ would be more appropriate. Correspondence Courses have worked well for a long time – Open Uni is another success. I’m sure that such methods will usually attract the more committed student who has a real desire to get somewhere, otherwise why would they take the first step?

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