October 28, 2008 Leave a comment
I am grading speeches my students made. None are gorgeous examples of oratory elegance. Some are shocks of poor logic. Most are pretty much unengaged. Yesterday, in class, I had to actually mentally cool my blood as two students gave wildly inarticulate speeches about abortion. If I teach this class again, I now know that there are some topics to avoid. One argument was that abortion should be legal because all unwanted babies are abused if they are born, and they are innocent and never asked to be born or abused (this was accompanied by lots of graphic child abuse pictures). And then, ending our day, was a speech which started off about Prop 4 (the abortion parental consent proposition on the ballot in our golden state (it is nice, though, to say our ) but somehow ended up being a vivid description of “partial birth abortion.” Internally I got all ranty, not at my student’s views, but at their lack of information and their lack of critical thinking. I understand my politics have no place in the classroom, although I did have to bite my lip (the student discussing Prop 4 also mentioned that she was pretty sure abortion was illegal here, which is so painful, because, if it wasn’t legal, then why are we voting about something as bureaucratic as parental consent!), but is it too much to suggest thorough sources (beyond videos watched in Confirmation class)? It reminded me of Alabama, and the student’s assumption that Christianity was the lingua franca of any group. It irks me when people disagree with me (childishly so), but it triple-irks me when my total agreement is assumed pre-message. And if you were wondering, yes, I am feeling ranty today.
Also, I offered the play Wit as a bit of off-syllabus reading to fill in for a obviously boring research project, and all of the students nixed it. They thought it sounded blah. I might force it on them anyways. And then see them writhe as we examine John Donne in order to have a fuller appreciation for what is at work. Ha!
And they aren’t even bad students. I should calm down.
On other fronts, I visited my old town last weekend. It was strange, but all still there.
How are you? Is the world aligning? Thickening? Making new structures of ions and glitter? Do you think, before this year is out, that we should adopt babies and name them after fabrics…mine will be Damask, yours can be Peu de Soie?
Or, we could just eat Sara Lee, and read war novels?
Do you have a Halloween costume, darling?