Mar 7, 2012

The Wednesday Plan

Since Monday afternoon, I have been fidgeting regarding my HUM 1 (AH) lesson for today. I considered scrapping the plans already laid for the remaining four meetings, but I also thought that some of my students might be, consciously or not, riding on the established rhythm of the course and might grow upset (maybe without knowing why) if I changed horses right at the river's edge.

I also wished that they'd stop classes just like they did after Milenyo when we were weeks shy of closing the semester. But this was not an Act of God, was it, and if you think it through, a measure like that could amount to a criminal precedent.

The longer I thought about the lesson, the more I noticed a curious development. The old questions had begun wearing an odd gravity: What is the activity for the day, and why? How dare we grade something as animal as literature? Can the large class lecture mode teach poetry best? How completely can powerpoint slides kill spontaneity? What have I been doing, stepping all over the greatest job in the world? And, will they stay awake?

Were my subject of the Math, Science, and Technology cluster perhaps a minute of silence would suffice – but what am I saying here? That this is not force majeure? That a minute could ever be enough?

On Monday, I tried writing poems while checking 300 journals. Over lunch, I was composing on a sandwich wrapper. I sent two poems to my editor at dawn yesterday. I said on the cover letter that "I think I've been writing these poems because I don't know what words to say about these killings when I stand in front of my students." Maybe this should be the least of my anxieties. Perhaps it is, well of course it is, and I am blowing it up to deny the proximity of the gravest fear.

At 1am today, I finally decided on an approach, and I hope I pull it off. This image will form the navel of the hour:

Here goes nothing.