Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Back to School

The Spring semester started up last evening with Legal Issues for Teachers. I figured this would be like all other graduate education classes; light on academics, heavy on common sense, and taught by a matron who spent a few years in front of kindergarteners before moving to the home office and becoming an "expert" who could teach graduate courses. I figured we'd have another two or three "personal reflection" papers and a Power Point presentation.

Wrong. The instructor is male, which is a first in my experience of ed classes, and not only was he a teacher for many years in the City school system, he was also a principal for many years. He's also a lawyer, and intends to teach the class as graduate law classes are taught. I nearly choked looking at the syllabus, which includes more writing than I've done through the previous 24 credits, and involves four legal briefs on landmark cases and a 10-page legal brief/analysis and concurring or dissenting opinion on a fifth. The prof is about a million years old, wears three-piece suits with a lapel pin, and has a helmet of pure white televangelist hair. Within ten minutes he'd cited a right-wing triumvirate including Rush Limbaugh, the Reader's Digest, and Antonin Scalia. But he's not an asshole fire-breather. He makes funny old-guy jokes and tells good stories.

Wednesdays I have an internship practicum and Thursday nights another dreadful "teaching reading and writing" class, for a total of 12 credits this semester. Much better than the 21 we took in the Fall last year. And, for the first time since last August I have no Saturday classes.

Today I'm teaching theme to 8th graders. They're not getting it. At least they liked the story we read yesterday, and I'm hoping we'll have an easier time working on this one. It's by Shirley Jackson, who ruled, and it's called "Charles." The kids liked "Charles" because a student character hits his teacher.


alicia said...

Are the kids going to read "The Lottery"? I remember reading that at around their age, and really liking it. It's horrific, but it's great story telling.

Nyarlathotep said...

I'd love to teach "the Lottery," but it's too much for kids reading at a fourth grade level. I used to teach "The Lottery" to sophomores in college.

I also love Jackson's novels, especially "The Haunting of Hill House."

fernie said...

Good luck with that law stuff. I always thought I'd enjoy it till I took a course.