Every Now And Then

Today was one of those days one can scarcely hope for much less depend on in a teaching life. It started out very much the same way any disaster begins, with great promise. Creative juices were flowing like they haven’t in recent years. I woke with a nugget to chew on, self-sabotage, and determined to discuss its origins, benefits and alternatives should one of the day’s Discussants be ill-prepared or M.I.A. I left it as a message on the office phone and even remembered to take a picture of where I left the car so as to avoid staggering through the parking lot at dusk the way I’d done the evening before. By the time I hit the elevator button I was cracking myself up with titles I would have written had I been someone else with a different set of challenges. Of course, I could never write those titles as anyone but me, but the truth didn’t inhibit the comedic value of a volume entitled, When Multiples Marry or When You’re the Last One Standing: What to do when all your friends are dead and you’ve got no one to do it with. Even in my prayer closet, earlier in the morning, chapters lined themselves up for a volume “for folk who are trying to stay married or out of jail”. This one was named for the folk wisdom Pearl shared with me in December: Don’t Step On What You Can Step Over.

With all that going on, disappointment was inevitable and so, when two people in 16 raised their hands when I asked who had brought their Literacy Narrative, I took it in stride and took the opportunity to deliver the lecturette on ENG 098 being a question of when – not whether – one is going to master basic writing skills. There’s so much to write about here but now cannot be the time. Sis got the call this afternoon. It’s time for one of us to head home and sit with Auntie. I’m the designated flyer.

But suffice it to say, the next section of 098 students more than made up for the earlier one. Two of the students serving as Oracle last week and Mr. Rogers this week approached me with a request to have a few minutes of the class time. Intrigued and every expecting initiative to be released, I agreed and invited them to come up while I was organizing projection of the course shell on Angel. Together the proposed half to me and half to the class that a study group be formed and meet an hour before class in the campus cafeteria. They did an elegant job of presenting their case and securing agreement from what appeared to be a majority of the class – going as far as organizing a ride for one student who would be hard-pressed to find transportation in addition to what she presently uses, the bus. I’m certain I was brimming with pride even though I was doing my best to appear preoccupied with the technology. I affirmed their efforts publicly and moved into the next item, the Literacy Narrative. In this class, six out of 18 had submitted the assignment though only one had brought in a hard copy as requested. Peer editing out the window here too, I invited the ‘panel of experts’ to the front to take questions from the rest. When that was exhausted, I asked the experts to ask the class questions they thought most useful. Great things surfaced here to. I hope that this week’s Oracle captured it and will post it online for later use. Toward the end of the impromptu panel’s presentation, someone announced the time and someone else came to the board to write down the assignments. This gave me time to check the Team Teaching schedule and determine which chapters in the textbook would not be covered by teams and so were available for homework immediately. Everyone seemed to leave class large and in charge and I hope what I overheard in the Women’s Rest Room was confirmation. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

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