Monday, June 30, 2008

man, these three-hour classes are rough on the throat...

Owwwww. I bought throat drops on the way home, but they didn't seem to do much good. What I need to do is get the students to do most of the talking, but it is a small group (7 students), and most of them are shy. Should do more paired / small group stuff, I guess.

At least there will be no more Beowulf after today. I don't know why, but I don't like teaching Beowulf. Part of it, I think, is that it's one of those books that are firmly in my Discomfort Zone: texts that I know just enough about to be all too aware of everything I don't know. I like teaching Shakespeare. I know lots of stuff about Shakespeare. I'm OK with teaching Ibsen, because I know next to nothing about Ibsen; I can just deal with the words on the page, which is all you really need to deal with in a gen ed course, and not worry about what the critics are saying or the complexities of nineteenth-century Norwegian society. And the students and I get to figure it all out together, which is cool. Stuff in between, though? Discomfort zone.

Next up are the troubadour poets, who are firmly in the Ibsen category as far as I'm concerned. I'm looking forward to it.


Sisyphus said...

Yeah, even on the short classes I always have a Coke or something to sluck down and make it through all my shouting and arm-waving ... some of my students mock my Coke obsession, especially how I can take a sip in the middle of explicating something making a marxist critique, but I spilled hot coffee on a student once (once! I swear!) and have never gotten over it.

Anonymous said...

"Discomfort Zone: texts that I know just enough about to be all too aware of everything I don't know."

Well, I guess just about everything I teach would be in my "discomfort zone" if I'd define it the way you do. (I don't dare to teach on things I know next to nothing about, and I avoid teaching on the few things I know next to everything about (as there would be too few chances to find out new things via teaching)).

Oh, and: whenever I'm teaching I'm "armed" with mineral water.

Fretful Porpentine said...

Wow, y'all can drink and teach at the same time? I think that requires a level of coordination that I don't possess, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

It's nothing more than a habit, just due to training.

It may be done e.g. like this:

Make a point of which you think it is important, choose a somewhat paradoxical formulation to get your audience thinking, make a pause to underline that you wish your students to meditate on what you said, and take a gulp of water.

Continue the pause.

Then take the first question.


Renaissance Girl said...

or, just formalize the whole thing. i always turn my 3-hour block classes into potlucks, and then we all take a nice break and a stretch and everyone has their mouths full for 10 minutes or so.

sexy said...