Thursday, 22 September 2016

Update Re Class

A friend told me the worst thing about being alone is that you start to think your own ideas are good. That's why in class this morning I proposed otter as "exotic creature I'd like to domesticate as a pet."
A grim topic, to be sure. I'd seen the question in NY Times magazine and repeated it as a journal prompt. This resulted in two dolphins, a clouded leopard, a white tiger, jellyfish, a wolf ("not wild dog, wolf"), a pig ("I don't know, I've just always wanted one"), and two lions (which I mention last only because if I didn't, the last word would be my otter). 
I love sitting down ten minutes before class with most of the students already there. 
Today I flashed my file of anthologies produced by past versions of this class--my fav, as I said this morning, being a collection of short essays on favourite songs. On final exam day that year, one guy burned a class set of cds with all the songs, which we included in a pocket fixed inside the back cover of each anthology. 
What I'd like to talk about with the present group is the notion that the language study we are undertaking--in the (open) form of expository essay writing--goes well with conversation. We can talk with our audience across the table. We can trust who they are.  
What always comes up in this class is frustration about "what I want in this essay". My theory, picked up decades ago as a B.Ed. student, is that when it comes to frustration, anything this side of paralysis is good. It signals the new.
And on it goes. After much pausing, three students agreed to offer a page of writing to class for workshop next Tuesday--a big step on the trust front.
By the way, I picked otter because I saw one eyeing me down below the bluffs in Scarborough a year ago (somewhere in this photograph). I tell you, in that gaze you behave.

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