This is apparently my…

This is apparently my day to roll with the punches. I had fully planned to spend 18 minutes of my first class showing my women and literature students Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's awesome TED talk, "The Danger of a Single Story" -- but there turned out to be no projector in that room. Bah. But all will be well; they will watch it on their own tonight, and we will talk about it on Wednesday, and they will have an easier first day of classes, which is perhaps all to the good.

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.

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