Friday, May 18, 2012

One More Stack

That's all!

My bike took me for a lovely ride this morning before my meeting.  It was just great.  But slow.  Oh well.

The meeting went well. 

And now I have one more stack to grade, grades to enter into the spread sheet, and then grades to enter into the campus system.  And then I'm done for the semester.

And what I want to do right now?  I want to go buy some annuals for my yard and plant them.  And I want the yard to be weeded without me having to do it.  (Not likely, but if I weed and then plant the areas I'm thinking of, that will be a good start.)

I have a ton of stuff to do this summer, so I need to keep focused well.

First up:
Grade stack of finals
Enter grades
Submit grades
Read a couple chapters and do my homework for a meeting next week
Read some stuff about composition and come back and tell you what I've learned (that should actually be good!)
Work on a paper
Work on another paper
Prep classes for fall enough to order books

I was in a meeting yesterday for the writing class; we're doing a new program, and it's still in the initial stages.  Those of us interested in participating will do some professional development this summer and then teach the course in a somewhat specified way.  Part of the specification has to do with having a theme.  Most people teach themes that have something to do with their interests.  So, someone who loves to cook might do a theme on food.  Someone who likes pop music could do pop music, and so on.  I was going to do race in Shakespeare, specifically Othello.  But the responses I got from my colleagues were, to say the least, negative.

They thought it would be too limited and boring.  Shakespeare, limited?  boring? 

The thing is, I don't really find most current popular cultural stuff compelling and fun.  I can deal with sexist crap in the 16th century, but I don't like living with it, so I don't engage it when I don't have to.  Yes, that may mean I'm a coward. 

And I don't feel like much of an expert on anything but early modern literature, because I've invested a lot of time and money to develop that expertise.  And I already have a secondary expertise in teaching writing, which I've also put a lot into.  So suggesting that I need to be an expert in something else that will seem relevant to every 18 year old out there frustrates me.  And seriously, if I were supposed to take a themed course on "food" or whatever as an 18 year old, I would have been frustrated.  (I would have been especially frustrated by the food one, I think, because food is such a gender-normed issue, and I really, really resented being shoved into the tiny box of "you need to cook for your family because you have to have kids and blah blah" that I got as a kid.  I'm not saying my colleague does that, except that there's a whole lot of gender norming around.)

So, anyway, one of my colleagues said in passing at the meeting where everyone was frownng about Shakespeare that I should do biking.  And I thought a bit about it, and I am planning to do biking.  (Then another colleague said that if I get someone who doesn't like biking or is disabled, it could be bad.  But that's pretty much true of any theme, isn't it?)

So, anyway, biking.  The idea is to give students a theme and then show them different sorts of rhetorical stuff coming at the theme differently.  With biking, I'm thinking we can think about high end biking a tiny bit, maybe to think about women's biking, or epo, or such.  And we can think about biking in communities for commuting, in Europe, programs like they have in London for bike-share stuff.  And we can think about biking for fitness.  And we can think about biking as a way to make education available in some African countries.  And we can think about materials and bikes, and design.  And we can think about mountain biking and impacts on land usage.  I think there's a lot there, and I DO like biking, and I don't worry about feeling like an expert because, hey, bikes!  Fun!

And maybe I can encourage my students to look at and even use some of the rental bikes on campus.

My bike took me for a ride this morning, and my bike thinks biking is a great idea.  Fortunately, my bike is very supportive.  I smiled a lot on the ride this morning, and that means I won.

Now, on to look at flowers and grading!


  1. NPR had some really interesting pieces on biking this week on National Bike-to-Work Day -- about the most bike-able cities (so then you could think about urban planning, human geography sorts of things), about how bike racing ruins biking for many people -- that might be worth looking at on the NPR website. Sounds like an interesting take on a comp class; I'll look forward to hearing more about it!

  2. You can get through that last stack and then get on to planting!

    I like the idea of biking as a theme. Disabled people can look into reclining bikes or three-wheeled bikes - there's a lot of news coverage and research about some of these options.

    I second WN's comment about bicycling and cities. Toronto has a great system that originated out of Montreal where you can pick up a bike at one spot and, for a small amount, rent it and leave it at another location.

    Other interesting themes might be gaming, gardening, maker culture and winter sports. I could see this as inspiring some fun approaches. If students could find out what are the themes before they register for a section, that might also help with match-ups.

  3. Anonymous4:09 PM

    A sociology professor of mine used to lead a "sociological bike tour" of the city where my university was. Lots of opportunities for getting outside the classroom!

  4. This sounds absolutely smashing!