1. Earlier this school year, during my office hour I read an article in an anthology of readings designed for composition classes that was entitled something like "what's wrong with high schools". The article pointed out that students don't have time to reflect upon their studies because they are so geared toward going from class to class to class to class to class to class and so busy getting assignments done that their lives as students is taken up by being busy, not really reflecting. I thought about courses I've taught over the last thirty-seven years, especially when I was younger, and how I equated heavy reading/writing loads with rigor. Graduate school was that way, for sure. So, as I end my teaching career, I'm ending it with a slow course, with giving my students plenty of time, in class, to ponder the ideas we are working with, plenty of time to write about them, plenty of time to reflect. I don't know, and I don't need to know, how to assess the success of this approach, but I know I enjoy the classroom a lot more when things go slowly; I especially enjoy how much more relaxed my students are. I thought about all of this today as my students wrote for the second time, in class, about Mike Rose's article "Blue-Collar Brilliance", a not very long piece that we are spending our second week on. I've taught classes in the past when I would have scheduled half a class meeting for such an article and paired it with another piece to be dealt with in the second hour. It might have worked out fine. I don't know. I just know that today, I like the slow approach.
2. With the inspection report completed, the buyers of our house have listed repairs they want us to have done. This was good to learn and we'll move forward with it. My point? Things are moving right along.
3. The Troxstar is no longer the Senior Warden at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, in case you missed Wolf Blitzer's coverage of this story on CNN back in February. But, this evening, the Troxstar and I met for a beer or two at 16 Tons with Fr. Bingham, after he was finished with tonight's vestry meeting. It was like old times when I would meet the then Senior Warden and sometimes the Junior Warden and sometimes our priest for drinks after the vestry was done meeting. We had a great time, talking about all kinds of stuff and I enjoyed my first taste ever of The Common Brewery's Fishing with Hallet, which was last year's third anniversary beer at 16 Tons. It's aged really well after a year and gave me the tart pleasure I enjoy so much from sour ales.