Thursday, September 29, 2011

It is rather when
We gloriously forget ourselves, and plunge
Soul-forward, headlong, into a book's profound,
Impassioned for its beauty and salt of truth–
'Tis then we get the right good from a book.

--from Aurora Leigh, EBB

I could do with some "gloriously forgetting myself" about now, EBB. What a week! I'm exhausted. I've edited and edited and edited my students' rough drafts during insanely extended office hours, and explained over and over again just what a thesis is and ought to accomplish. I can better appreciate now what my professors were going through in Journeys, or first year English classes like the Chaucer I took with my beloved Dr. West (I should really shoot her an email or a letter). I had my students practice the workshopping of a paper as a class with me last week, and we looked at a paper that I wrote on The Tempest for Literary Analysis when I was 19. It seemed shockingly bad to me--and to them, the grades they gave it ranged from a D to a B--but I do remember having received an A- from Dr. Entzminger. How generous!

I did a little stress-baking earlier in the week and baked oatmeal pecan cookies to send to Robert in Austin. They aren't bad, but I think I still need to work on my baking skills. They might have been better with real butter and chocolate chips, but I don't think those should make a huge difference.

Most exciting, I think, was my stretch of a lesson today (and tomorrow, for my morning section). In honor of Banned Books Week, I managed to tie Harry Potter in to a lesson from our textbook. Having read the chapter called "Arguments of Definition," my students were today instructed to discuss the 'definitions' of Gryffindors, Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs, and Slytherins. I had volunteers read the two songs of the Sorting Hat aloud, and I then jotted down on the board defining features of each House as called out by my students. We discussed what evidence we had of these as definitions and compared them to later stereotypes in the series; but the best part for me was when, in the last 10 minutes of class we Sorted ourselves. I had 4 Gryffs, 3 Ravies, 6 Hufflepuffs, and 7 Slytherins. I was shocked at the results! People admitted to being self-serving and hedonistic rather than noble. And virtually no one wanted to call themselves witty or bookish. Go figure. I dressed appropriately for the occassion as something like a Ravenclaw prefect:

shirt: American Apparel
vest: thrifted
skirt: thrifted
shoes: Urban Outfitters
socks: Sock Dreams
scarf: homemade, gifted

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