The Teaching Front: Tuesday Post Mortem
Running on four hours of sleep and an early wake up, I rolled into my American History class and began to slug my way through Thomas Jefferson. We’ve entered a period of history that I have never found interesting on a personal level but I was doing my best to get through Jefferson.
Oh, I like Jefferson well enough and I would like to read more about him.
In any case, the lecture went well enough until about 0850 when my lecture stride suddenly crapped out on me. My ability to focus, what little there was, went out the window and I started to have one of those dreaded “Falling Down the Stairs” lectures.
I got out of there roughly on time and proceeded to the Western Civ class. A better topic, finishing up the Fall of the Roman Empire, was on tap. I managed to get through most of it in tolerable order until again, right at about fifty minutes in, my lecture stride crapped out again.
A brief digression. We’ve been talking about killing off various Romans leading up to the eventual demise of the Triumvirate when someone asked this question.
“Are we going to learn about the lives of ordinary people?”
I said, “You mean the lives of the fishmonger, or the bricklayer?”
“No,” I responded. “In a thousand years, nobody is going to care about the life of a burgerflipper in McDonald’s.”
Social History. Blah. I did that in my class. We covered Roman family structure, marriages, the patron client relationship and I even talked about baths and togas.
Strangely enough, my eight week class went better. Well, better for me if not my students. They seemed hell bent on sleeping through the lecture yesterday. No one is taking notes and I suspect they really don’t have any idea what is lurking round the corner next Tuesday.
I predict a high fail rate.
On other Teaching Fronts, I’ve got sixteen tests left to grade, one test to write, and a lecture on Augustus to cover.
Payday comes though it is already spent for the most part. Otherwise, I have nothing to add.
Steven Francis Murphy
Author of The Limb Knitter and Tearing Down Tuesday
North Kansas City, Missouri