Also, I made them laugh several times, which is one of my goals for early classes. I used to come in all hard-nosed and try to scare the students with how hard they'd have to work, but I'm finding that a less useful strategy at UIC than at, say, Northwestern. At NW, I was fighting hard to a) earn and keep their respect, and b) get them to work to their full potential. But at UIC, a) I'm a more senior teacher than I was, so the respect thing is much less of an issue (the grey hair helps, I think), and b) there are too many students who are all too easily scared off; I'm finding that seducing them into loving learning is a more productive approach.
These texts we'll be reading are such a joy to me (Macbeth, Little Women, Sula, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Handmaid's Tale, Persepolis, along with an array of poetry and other bits and bobs) -- I want them to experience that same delight. So many have them have never seen stories like these before. (Only *one* student out of twenty-five had read Little Women, for example! I was appalled.)
Irrigating the desert, as Lewis would say. Let the words shower down on them, like a blessed rain
Okay, I think I'm maybe a bit buzzed from the first day of classes. :-) But hey, if you haven't seen the Adichie talk, I'm going to rewatch it now. You could take 18 minutes and watch it with me. It is EXCELLENT.