Thursday, November 10, 2005

Today's teaching screw-ups

Forgetting that "lie" can mean "to recline" in as well as "to not tell the truth" then trying to explain the difference between "lay" and "lie" and becoming especially confused with the sentence "Baltimore lies north of Washington, DC." I said something bizarre about the difference being about transitive/intransitive verbs, gave up, and then said, "I'll come up with a better explanation tomorrow." Then had to explain what the idiomatic expression "come up with" means.

My students often look very tired, hung over, or overly hot.

I do believe I was overly sarcastic with two of my students in a writing class. They are often sarcastic, so I think I was trying to be sympathetic.

"I wasn't interested in the assignment."

"That's fine, as long as you understand that you'll get a zero. You know, I'm not 'interested' in going to work every day, but I do."

"Well that's your fault then."

"It's not my fault I wasn't born independently wealthy. But perhaps you have a different understanding of economics than I do."

Isn't that a great fantasy! If it really were my fault then that would mean I could do something about it, and that would mean I have all this control over my life that I don't have. I could save my money my who f-ing life and never ever be financially wealthy. Capitalism might more flexible than say, communist-stateism (and many would debate that), but the goal of capitalism isn't to make me wealthy, it's to perpetuate itself and make it impossible for me to live outside of it. And all that without a conspiracy.

I live with a little green bird named Lester. He sings "salt peanuts salt peanuts" when the sun goes down and all the birds in the trees and buildings outside our window also sing. Together, we eat oatmeal with blueberries and almonds in the morning and read the newspaper. Then Lester tries to ingest the news but I don't let him, obviously. There is also a mouse in this apartment and it might sing too, and then there will be more mice, and they will eat the birdseed and defecate all over everything. I've mouse-proofed Lester's cage, I think. So they can only eat the birdseed that falls on the floor. There is a lot of birdseed on the floor. Every day, I talk to my class about the mouse, or mice. It's important for them to understand that their teacher lives in a ratty old building with nice elevators.

"Elevators are an amazing invention." I hadn't expected this answer, but I agreed.

But everything is A-ok with the little green bird. I think about Lester at least once every hour, and probably more. When I start to feel upset and overwhelmed, I think about Lester. Hence the "turn to Lester" that so frequently occurs in my "bla bla bla" posts.

Tomorrow I will wear a green shirt.

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