26.8.05

The last week

I suppose it's because I was trying very hard not to be ill, but I didn't notice until two days ago that I was down to my last week of formal teaching for the year. As of next Monday, my students sit for examinations. When those are over, I'll have about two weeks to review their examination work and patch up any other gaps in what they need to know for the subjects I teach, then they'll be left to their own studious devices in the run-up to the final, final examinations.

So how did this last week go?

On Monday, I got to teach an extract from Othello that finally drove home to me what an excellent play it is. Of Shakespeare's four major tragedies, I've always been indifferent to it; in order of preference, I'd rank them King Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth and finally poor Othello. My usual bias applies: Othello seems to lack a strong female character, someone I could give a damn about besides the Man With the Tragic Flaw. And studying the play in school and university never seemed to quite illuminate why it was so damn beautiful.

Working through an extract for Monday's class did the trick. By itself, the extract's an amazing scene (from Othello V.ii, beginning with Emilia's brilliant, "You told a lie, an odious, damned lie" and ending with her being stabbed by Iago), but it also works because of everything that's come before it. So I'm going to give the play another chance and move it to the top of my reading list.

On Tuesday, I was reminded that it's always good when you can pull out a quotation from Yoda for teaching purposes. To teach the basics of syntax, the following quotation is extremely handy: "When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not." (My memory didn't get it verbatim, but the point was clear.)

On Wednesday, I taught through a sore throat, drank copious amounts of warm water, and felt very virtuous. But only after sleeping away most of the afternoon to restore my spirits.

On Thursday, I carried many heavy books (20, A4-sized, 110 pages) to class and only one student of all the others I passed offered to help me with it. Kids nowsadays.

On Thursday night, BoKo and I clinked glasses to drink to the next day being the last day of proper teaching.

And today, Friday, I was fiddling with my rings as usual while talking to the class, and the wedding ring slipped clean off my thumb (where it was being played with, not where I usually wear it) and bounced a couple of rows back. Fortunately, it was readily retrieved, but not before I made an obligatory crack about how it was a ring I really shouldn't lose, and received the obligatory mild chuckle from the class. Ah, teaching.

But the real high point of the week came at the end of this morning's class. Class was over, I was gathering up my things and talking to a couple of students, when the entire back row stood up in unison and exited in a neat row out the back door, away from the main staircase. I looked at the remaining students in the front row, who told me that the next class was Maths. "So they came for my GP class, but they're skipping Maths?" They nodded.

And then I beamed.

Because this is a science class, which traditionally is not a fan of GP but would probably be a fan of Maths.

(Okay, so maybe they're so good at Maths that they don't need any extra help before the exams, but they need a little boost for their GP. I don't care. They were there, they picked me over Maths. Seriously, how often does that happen?)

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4 Comments:

At 8/26/2005 8:46 pm , Blogger stellou said...

I pick you over Maths ANYTIME.

...and it's not just because lunchdate + tym = feasting

 
At 8/27/2005 12:41 pm , Blogger tscd said...

Well done for being a GP teacher and being able to capture your audience. My memories of GP are patchy at most, seen through heavy lidded, sleep-blurred eyes.

 
At 8/27/2005 5:31 pm , Blogger KnightofPentacles said...

Glad that you ended those very long years on a positive note.

My memories of most of my formal education are not something I would willingly revisit. Not until I have had at least another decade for time to put a sepia-tinge and an idyllic edge to them. However it is always interesting to see things through the eyes of a teacher.

Now that you no longer have the label of "teacher" on you.. what next? Now how, brown cow?

Your blog audience awaits the next phase of your adventures..

 
At 8/29/2005 12:40 am , Blogger Tym said...

Stellou --- But my students don't get the lunchdates, so they don't partake of the feasting. So I don't blame them if they pick Maths over me, either.

tscd/KoP --- It's funny how everyone says something like that when I mention that I teach GP. I guess we GP teachers are destined to be forgotten. My memory of GP classes consist of my teacher trying valiantly to communicate to us the concepts of 'zeitgeist' and 'Teflon' (as in, 'Reagan was a Teflon president').

I should add that I forgot one particularly noteworthy incident in my recap of the week: During one of the Wednesday classes, my students universally declared that email was so passe, because everyone trades information via IM or blogs now. So it seems that we who grew up with the novelty of email are already a dated, obsolete generation. If it's not being passed around on IM or blogs, they don't know it. Food for thought, certainly...

 

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