Sunday, October 12, 2014
Week 8: New Adventures...Old Problems
In the meantime, it's raining...again. And that has created yet another problem: water in the garage again. Yay. We're pretty sure that there is a crack in the foundation that's causing this, and once again, are very grateful that we do not own this house. Rent may be expensive, but trying to fix this would be a lot worse.
I bought a prop at Big Lots for my 1302 class. Meet Yorick! I knew him well, Horatio.
I think he'll be a nice touch, and it will help with ideas about staging and rhetoric, I think. My students have been having problems with the language, so we've been acting the play out in class, but I think having props also helps. I really want to get a couple of plastic swords so we can have a Hamlet/Laertes battle at the end, as I think it would be fun to take my students outside and have the whole battle out in the quad. A big fancy goblet would be nice too, perhaps, since, "The drink, the drink! I am poisoned."
One the other hand, I promised that they wouldn't have to make spectacles of themselves outside of the classroom, so I may just have to see how far we can move the desks out of the way.
I finished grading my 1302 classes' identity papers this week, and can't express how many times I found myself in tears. It's a lot different from reading other papers about identity from previous students. So many of my students have had incredibly difficult lives--having children when they were no more than children themselves, some moving out of their homes before they can legally work full-time in order to make things easier on their families, others who escaped out of gangs. Some join the military to escape the poverty of Corpus Christi, and there are none who go to war and don't come back changed. It's taken me longer to grade these papers, because I have to be sure that I'm grading them on the merits of the writing, not necessarily the content.
What has unified many of them, though, is a distinct determination to make a better life for themselves and their children. Still, though, my heart has just hurt for so many of these students. My 1302 students, in particular, are working so very, very hard, and I could not be more proud of them.
In many ways, it's been odd for me as well. I've said prayers for students before, but I've never felt the need to so deeply and specifically pray for students before. In some ways, it may seem paternalistic (maternalistic?). I know that I have had other students that needed prayer before, but I've never felt it so collectively. And for as much as I am still homesick, I keep being convinced that this is the place for us to be.
That's not to say that I haven't had some difficult decisions to make over the last week. I have. They aren't ones that I can talk about, but they've been very stressful, and at some point, you have to start channeling the Vulcan axiom that "the good of the many outweighs the good of the few--or the one." And it sucks. There are things that you simply have to do, but you feel terrible about them. And you have to deal with the consequences of that decision, however unpleasant they may be. But I have a department that is incredibly supportive, and I can't even begin to say how much I appreciate that.
So I'm hoping that this week will be better. Midterms are here, and I've got to get things done, so it's back to the grind. With any luck, the cold front coming through tomorrow won't make the garage flood....again.