What a great day.
First, The Winter's Tale, what a play! What a GREAT play to teach. Today the Oracle/Trial scene and Autolycus. We're going to do the statue scene on Monday, and I can't wait. I doubt there's a more delightful play to teach.
If there IS, it's The Tempest,* which we'll start Wednesday. Act 1, scene 2 is one of my favorite scenes in all of Shakespeare. Why does Prospero keep interrupting himself to check on Miranda's attention? yes, yes, of course he's breaking up the otherwise endless exposition for the audience. But the scene has to work theatrically: either Miranda's NOT paying close attention to what he's saying, OR, he's a speaker who's really quite inattentive to his audience. I like the second interpretation because he got where he is by being inattentive to his brother and political activities in Milan.
And of course, there's the HUGE reveal that the terrifying storm in 1.1 was a total fake, and that when you're in the theater, you can't tell a fake storm from a real storm, so metatheatricality in motion!
Next, I had some really great office hours today. A student came to talk to me about her first year writing class final essay. She's done a ton of good work, we hashed out a rough rough outline together, and she went away to lock herself in a room in the library. Who could ask for more? A first year student who's going to lock herself in the library on a Friday afternoon?
One of the really fun, energetic, positive students in my Shakespeare class came by to talk to me about her paper; she, too, had done the prep work to make our conversation really useful, I think. AND, she told me that she's taking my Chaucer class next semester, and asked what she should start reading over break. Just the thought of teaching Chaucer next semester put a huge grin on my face. But here's the kicker: she's already taking a class that's given her a taste of Middle English, so there's going to be a little head start there. AND she's one of those students who makes a class better.
One of my grad class students stopped by just to chat, which was very pleasant. He's personable, friendly, smart.
Good office hours fill me with happiness. It's a little awkward to have a line of students sitting on the floor outside, waiting to talk, but I think I do some of my very best teaching in office hours.
AND, one of my colleagues emailed around and got the gang together to go out to dinner at a great restaurant tonight! What a great finish to a pretty darned productive, good week! Thanks, Pal!
*Well, actually, Titus Andronicus is even more fun to teach in an over-the-top, did-that-really-just-happen?? kind of way.