Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Small Victories

Some days, most days, actually, I enjoy my classes. Today's Shakespeare class just made my day. At the beginning of class, I had them freewrite or list some questions they had about the text, and then they got in small groups, chose an issue or question, and discussed it for a few minutes to talk about with the rest of the class.

I semi-listen in to the group discussions, answer basic questions (and am prepared to try to get them back to the task if they get into non-Shakespearean stuff), but mostly I hang back so they can work things out themselves.

Today, I could have just sat down in a corner because they focused well in the groups, and then as a whole talked about The Tempest in ways that make it clear they've read it carefully, actually responded to each other and contributed to a real discussion about Caliban, the ending, and the chess game. (Several of the groups discussed various aspects of Caliban and the ending, and one group brought up the chess game.)

I wish I could take credit, but I think this was just one of those classes with a good balance of sharp, hard-working students who pulled a lot of people up to their level in discussions.

It was a wonderful finish for the semester. I'm grateful for and to my students.

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