Ruth Ayres hosts a weekly celebration at her blog. I appreciate this invitation to look for the positives in my week.
1. A good conversation with one of my son’s teachers. Parent-teacher conferences were a mixed bag this week and largely left me frustrated–not with my son, but with the priorities of his school (sitting still, being quiet, doing what you’re told without questioning why you need to do it–yes, those are certainly the hallmarks of a healthy democracy). The final conference was a breath of fresh air: this teacher talked to me about what my son is learning and what he’s doing right. She saw him as a person, not a problem needing to be controlled. And she never once asked me how she could make him stay in his seat! (I’d like to see the teachers sit still and listen passively for eight hours a day. Why do we demand that children do what we ourselves could never be capable of doing?)
2. Poems that practically teach themselves. We’ve made our way to the seventeenth century in my British Literature survey course, and this week, we read “To His Coy Mistress” and “The Flea.” All you really have to do to teach “The Flea” is read it out loud and say, “What? I mean, WHAT?” And there they go. I just don’t know any literature that’s more teachable to college students than “seize the day/sexy times” poetry.
3. The #britlitclass hashtag on Twitter. I caught up on our course hashtag this morning and loved seeing the intense engagement students have with this literature. The backchannel has been very active during class, and students are clearly enjoying the readings and the discussion. My concern in this class is always to help students see that this literature may be old, but we can still have conversations with it, and I can see those conversations and “talkings back” happening on Twitter.
4. YA Book Club. A small but committed group of English majors joined me for our monthly Young Adult Book Club on Wednesday. So far, we’ve read and discussed The Maze Runner, Doll Bones, and This One Summer. Next up is John Corey Whalen’s Noggin. The students choose the books–I haven’t so much as suggested any of these titles, and look at the list they’ve come up with on their own! I need the extra motivation to read YA, and I also love talking books with other readers who love to read as much as I do.
5. A Friday morning spent reading. I woke up feeling very cranky on Friday. I prescribed time on the couch with a big stack of books, a couple of cats, a snuggly pit bull, and a giant mug of coffee. It didn’t hurt when FedEx arrived with two boxes of new books either.