Thursday, January 22, 2009

Another semester begins . . .

. . . and for that reason, I want to welcome those of my students who happen to find their way here. If you have some time, I hope you'll feel welcome to poke around. A good place to begin poking is down in the right-hand gutter in the section titled "Assemblages." [Note to self: that list needs some updating . . . ]

I was nervous this week as I have not felt in a long time during a first week. Being away on sabbatical last semester was the cause of that, I think. But it was good to feel nervous, alert. I've been musing over how these first meetings went this week, and I have to say that, apart from causing one young woman to begin vomiting shortly after class began, I'm pretty pleased with how things went. (Actually, she's suffering from morning sickness. But still: that's a first for me in 16 years of teaching.) Everyone laughed at the right places and, amazingly, my Comp I classes didn't seem too bewildered as I made the link between GPS units, medieval maps, and writing. Nor did my Comp II class seem to mind staring at a brick for 20 minutes while I talked about history and facts and research.

(Don't be jealous, Comp I folks--you'll get to see the brick, too. Most of you will be sick of seeing it by the end of the semester, in fact.)

And another first: a student wrote me a thank-you note for that first day; she even wrote that she wished we'd be meeting again the following day, she'd enjoyed getting a syllabus so much. Somewhere in there, though, something I'd said persuaded her that English might not be such a snooze after all. It was a wonderful gesture, but it puts me on alert: my students deserve my best and I do my best to deliver that, but she expects my best. That is as it should be, but few students actually say that, and it's never been said to me on the first day.

I'm genuinely excited about this semester. I hope you are as well.

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