Sunday, September 09, 2007

Carolina dreamin'

I had an odd teaching-related (so Maggie says) dream this morning.

I dreamed that I was house-sitting for Maggie's Aunt Susan (if you know Susan, this whole dream is inexplicably funnier). In her dream house she had a titanic tropical fish aquarium...we're talking floor-to-ceiling here, occupying the entirety of a room or two. As you might guess, she had several large exotic fish in this aquarium, and though I seem to recall one or two were sufficiently weird to try to remember what they looked like to describe them to Maggie after I woke up, I've since forgotten all about them except that they were rare and rather large.

At some point in the dream, a dog (not one of ours) jumped into the aquarium and in some fashion broke through the glass, causing all of the water inside to wash away, dissipating through the dream's drainage system without causing a lick of damage to the house's furnishings.

The fish, however, were gone. There ensued several dream-minutes of minor panic as I careered around the house, vainly seeking the fish that had disappeared. I was in a bit of a bind; I seemed to think that Susan's return was imminent (if you know Susan, you know it's probably best not to be on her bad side). After a thorough search I could find neither fin nor scale of even the largest fish, but I was saved from almost certain death by waking before Maggie's aunt returned.

I told Maggie about the dream later this morning. "It sounds like you're worried about failing in some responsibility," she said matter-of-factly.

"Thank you, Dr. Freud."

"Probably in your work or your teaching, you feel like you've let someone down."

Funny, after Friday's 280 class (see yesterday's post).

Thinking a little bit further about what went on in 280 (I promise, I'll stop over-thinking this once I've done writing this post!), I realize that I most definitely should have just shut up and let the committee report play itself out.

Oh well.

I'm going to muster my courage to do just that from now on. I'm pretty certain that this semester's class is on average older than last semester's, and as I've mentioned recently, more cohesive, more mature, more ready for the responsibility I'm entrusting them with. For my part, as well as I led the class last semester, I feel that I've done a superlative job so far this semester in getting the students ready for the responsibility I'm expecting them to fulfill. They can handle it.

I'm going to throw them a sop, too. Well, it's not really a sop, it's simply an opportunity to add another layer of revision in the construction of their written work, but in addition to giving them the chance to improve their writing, it'll give them the chance to improve their grades as well (and a little extrinsic motivation doesn't hurt, right? I just happen to get paid fairly handsomely for doing a job that I'm good at and that I love). To wit, I'm going to give them the chance to revise two problems per homework assignment, after I've given them feedback. Grades'll be handled as with the exams, into which I've already built in guidelines for revision.

I'll put it to the class tomorrow, but I don't foresee major objections.

For now, I'm off to enjoy a lazy Sunday evening. Tally-ho.

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