When I walked into my first class yesterday, it was clear all the students were still on spring break. The stared at me, waiting for something, maybe an electrical impulse through a prod of some kind to hit their brains. They blinked, listening to me drone on about the last month of school. They stared, no one raising a hand. They didn't even really talk amongst themselves, so stuned by the late spring break, the sudden heat, and the possibility of summer.
Sadly, though, they have a month left, three big assignments, and another book to read.
I had a colleague once who decided that 7 weeks of a summer session was enough. 8 was out of the question. She looked at her class and said, "Folks, I'm done. I'll be in my office all next week. Come in and turn in your essays. I'll be there. Otherwise, have a good break before next semester."
She almost made it through this nice hiatus, but a student who'd missed the announcement wandered into the department office early the following week, wondering where her class was. Busted.
In graduate school, I had a professor who put us into groups every single day to talk about every single book. He actually never told us anything. Really. I don't have one single note from that class. It was all us. We taught ourselves, and I suppose we could discuss the merits of being self taught, but it's nice to hear a word from the once wise at some point.
But no words. He wore the same tweed jacket, stood every day at the front of the class, and watched us. I wonder how many more years he did this before retiring. Or being asked to retire.
Yesterday, in the heat and utter calm of all the rooms I was in, I plugged on, not ready to hide out in my office or put them into groups for the next four weeks. They did some writing. We discussed as much as I could get them to discuss. I gave them the one month left lecture, but I let each class out about five minutes early because I was--to use a cliché--trying to squeeze blood from turnips.
Tomorrow, I think I'll put them into groups. Just one day. I promise.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org