Slowing Down to Ramp Up

Today I held Preparatory Composition for men only. Women will come to class Wednesday. A break to catch up and regroup after the Midterm may be a good thing to incorporate from here on. We’ll see what the women make of it. Today’s discussant gave us a choice of freewriting topics. The men chose to write about the drug Krokodil which “eats” users in lieu of writing about industry giants’ fight to squash a California referendum requiring all foods to have labels disclosing the chemicals used in their production.

From the discussion following seven minutes of freewriting we went to pairs answering the question, what has learning been like for you as a male, and then back to group discussion before revising the concluding paragraphs of each midterm to serve as the introduction to the revised one, due next Monday when both men and women will be in attendance.

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.        Alvin Toffler

I’ve got more thinking to do about the effect of cohort education, technology and hybrid classes on the teaching and learning of composition. But this is a good start. In the meantime, one of my kids isn’t sleeping. I say ‘one of my kids’ because I consider them mine on loan for at least the semester. And this one while, like the majority who are young enough to be mine chronologically, is an island child and homesick. I mention that I noticed he seemed more quiet than usual as we emerge from opposite sides of the lavatory after class. He says he hasn’t been sleeping and that it is beginning to interfere with things. I listen as he elaborates, fighting his emotions. I tell him a few of the island resources available to him in this often unbearable desert and promise to shoot him a direct message on edmodo as I find more. For a moment, we are able to believe he is not alone. For a moment we are able to imagine there is something for this kind of displacement. I look over my shoulder as our paths diverge once down the staircase and outside. I see him disappear as if through the years of my own experiences with displacement, internal exile I have called it. These are the ones for whom I want to build and staff a dormitory even though we are at a commuting community college. These are the ones I wish never had to leave home, those precious members of a global diaspora who know who we are, who we miss and will.

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Lit Crit a la Carte

In an effort to get us thinking outside the box about literary criticism, I ask students to  come up with a bumper-sticker about one of the schools not represented in a short YouTube video. Purdue’s Online Writing Lab is a great resource.

After several semesters of this assignment, today I found a site that will actually produce the bumper-stickers! Well all right now!

Contents Under Pressure

Minister Ron Evans inspired the following challenge at Bible Study this evening.

Adam had the Holy Ghost and one chance to get it right. You have the Holy Ghost and Grace, His Word (Son) to ask anything in His name and it will be yours. What are you doing with it?

Will you, like Adam, choose to know good and evil? Would you choose that over the peace that passeth understanding?
 Choose God every time. Receive Him and all of His promises. Speak new life, manifest it, walk in it, right through or out of the pressure you’re under.

Abandonment or Surrender

Did she abandon us or surrender to God’s will for her life, our lives? Is my sister taking off after our mother or Jesus? Is there another possibility? After all, Shakespeare had the deposed and exiled Duke Senior in As You Like It avow:

Sweet are the uses of adversity which like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.

If, as the quote continues, there is good in everything then, as with a childhood interrupted there must also be good in the racism we encountered as we arrived in the Bronx circa 1965, the height of the civil rights movement. I’ve figured out at least in part how each must be true. But how do I convey this to others a generation or more removed? This is the challenge for tonight’s panel presentation.

Marriage: God’s Gym

Sometimes you’re the boxer, sometimes you’re the mat. Keep looking up. Things will be different.

Yesterday’s Solo Remix asked a provocative question: Under what circumstances am I most prone to forget who God is and what He’s done for me? At first I considered my response when someone cuts me off on the freeway. Not pretty. But when I prayed about it, the cursing subsided noticeably. Then, I revisited times when in the classroom, students seemed to flounce in and sit on my last nerve as if it were reserved seating. But comparing frequency and passion of all these incidents, nothing can get me off my dot faster and more perilously than coming to loggerheads with my husband. Sad, but true. The one I committed to love and cherish is the one I most often use as a pin cushion – that is when he’s not taking his turns at same.

I found encouraging, if worldly, advice this evening while searching a beloved website, TED. Here’s what Phillip Zimbarto said when asked how to keep love alive:

Remembering and enacting the song: “I love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.” Say each day, “l love you.” Do something that makes the object of love feel special, wanted, and desired. Put Post-its around with hearts and your initials and that of your loved one. If it is romantic love, work at making love as often as possible and with as much sensuous pleasure as possible. Don’t have sex when you are tired, overfed or drunk or bored; just go to sleep and do it the next day.

Some days, I don’t know which set of to-do / to-don’t lists present the greater challenge, Zimbarto’s or Paul’s in 1 Corinthians 13.