Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Dullness, With Continued Dullness Throughout The Week

Just not a damned thing of interest going on. I'm gingerly prepping my lecture for my campus visit--though do I prepare a full-blown formal 'lecture' or do I prep myself for a Socratic chat with students? The latter prospect worries me, as I will be a stranger and they will, understandably, be reticent about speaking or making eye contact. (Those of you who teach will know what I mean--students don't trust you until maybe, maybe the third week, when they realize that those 'humorous' comments you've been making are, in fact, safe to laugh at.) Decisions, decisions. And of course, I have to prep my questions for the folks who'll be giving me the final look-see, but frankly, I'm so eager for the job that I want to just blurt out "Anything! I'll take anything! An outdoor office! A 12-course teaching load! Publishing expected every other week! Anything, I tell you! Anything!" That would, I suspect, be undignified.

Meantime, I continue to teach--though distractedly. Aeneid this week (yahoo!), Leaves of Grass next week (considerably subdued response, indicating the suppression of an "Oh God NO" response--apologies to Whitman fans out there, but deliberately masturbatory prose should either be properly pornographic, or what's the point?). And on we go. Sigh. I'm starting once again to dive into Gibbon's Decline and Fall--it's just one of those books I have to have read, and which I do enjoy reading, but life keeps coming along to pull me away with other commitments. Still, if I could make it through Herodotus, Thucydides, Tacitus, Livy, and Suetonius, I suppose I owe to myself to read the guy who tells the rest of the story, yes?


Blogger phd me said...

"Leaves of Grass, my ass!" [insert chortle] One of my favorite Homer Simpson quotes.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Yr. Hmbl. & Obdt. said...

Yeah, as I'm preparing lesson plans for the weeks ahead, I find myself muttering "I-Hate-You-Walt-Freaking-Whitman!!!" and imagining battering that gravestone. Lovely moment, that.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Dr. Mon said...

Given your earlier post about teaching as one of your shining qualities, I think it would be wise to craft a presentation that puts the burden of performance on you versus trying to pull teeth to get students to talk. Sometimes students are helpful in these situations and make an extra effort to be invovled, but you just never know! It would make me very nervous to depend my presentation primarily on the involvement of students. I say go for a mostly lecture/performance presentation that is very engaging, informative, and (heaven forbid) entertaining. Have some built in questions just so observers won't think you are obsessed with the sound of your own voice and I'll think you'll be fine. That's my vote.

12:53 PM  
Blogger ArticulateDad said...

You crack me up.

Yeah, dignified would be better. Bear in mind (unless they've told you otherwise) you may not be teaching for real students at all, or for a handful of ringers they were able to scrape together. For my one campus visit last year, which alas ended up with an offer to a friend of mine rather than to me, was a clasroom with the four search committee members, and two upper division undergrads.

So, prepare your class but be prepared to extemporize through silence. At least the committee will get a sense of how you would teach if it were in fact really your class.

As for Herodotus, I love to remember his discussion of law in ancient Persia, that every decision had to be made once while drunk and again while sober, for it to be legal.

1:44 PM  

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