Thursday, October 28, 2010

Every once in a while...

...I'm reminded why I love teaching. Actually, I love teaching nearly 80% of the time (the remaining 20% has to do with grading and/or students who push my buttons). I don't always love my job--which is suffering more and more under the assault of outside forces--but I do love the teaching and learning. In fact, if I couldn't teach, I'd be out of here faster than a duck on a June bug.

Anyway, yesterday the Literature of Place class and I rode our bikes to the Depot District, a part of downtown LBB that is being revived as an arts/entertainment place. It was one of four different visions of "Main Street" that we're exploring (which include two essays, one movie, and our own observations).

While we were riding around, we passed McPherson Cellars, a local winery. On a whim, I stopped in to ask if we could take a look at their courtyard, which I knew to be funky and inviting. They were not only gracious enough to let us do that, one of the employees actually took us on a tour of the winery itself.

But here is why I love teaching:

This is Neil, standing beside the machine that puts labels on wine bottles. He's a pre-med major. He signed up for this class not because he needed it to satisfy a requirement on his degree plan, but because it sounded interesting. Wouldn't you want to go to a doctor who thinks "The Literature of Place" sounds interesting? Wouldn't you think that a doctor like that would understand about things like...oh I don't know...quality of life, and compassion, and community? Wouldn't you think that is as important as knowing math?

My students make me hopeful for the future.

And now, from the "Department of Other News":

It may be the craziest thing I've ever done, but I'm running for the position of president of our neighborhood association. I'm doing it for two reasons:

1) I love my neighborhood and think it's time to give something back to it.

2) We have some rising Town/Gown tensions here. I think the answer lies not with escalating hostile reaction (i.e., calling the cops on parties, trying to get the city to enforce codes, etc.), but with vision. We need to address the natural tension between these two groups with long-term thinking, not bandaids. What we need is to figure out a model for a neighborhood that is cohesive, inclusive, and most of all, respectful. I have some ideas for how to make this happen, though I am not kidding myself by thinking it will be easy. It will take some real effort and time to change the culture. I believe it can be done, however, and it is certainly worth a try, since what we're doing now is not working.

3) Nobody else wanted the job (I mean really, would you?). However, just because I'm running unopposed doesn't mean there won't be opposition to me at the meeting this evening. In fact, potentially there could even be an opposition candidate nominated from the floor. So if you read this blog and you live in Tech Terrace, come on out and vote for me if you're so inclined.

The meeting is tonight at 5:30, at JT Hutchison Middle School cafeteria.

Ciao, y'all.


  1. You are lucky to teach that class, and even luckier to have such students who love learning like you. Yes, that is what makes teaching so wonderful. Not like teching freshman comp--lots of button pushing there. Now, did you all sampel the wine? :)

  2. I would love to have taken a class like that!

  3. Benjamin--I am lucky. I tell myself every time I get depressed about the "job" part of my job.

    Ginny--Me too!

  4. Teaching is so much more rewarding when your students are actually interested in what is being taught. I'm glad you have students like Neil. Now, did the meeting go well? Are you now President?

  5. Hope we can congratulate the new president! Looking back at my university lecturers, the one who caught my attention taught me about fynbos and ecology. That is the root of this garden. And the one we had before ;>)

  6. Funny to have stumbled across this today! I took two of my best friends/peers to Jimenez bakery today. I like Jimenez for about a billion reasons (local, authentic, well-priced, delicious), but my favorite: it reminds me of your landscapes class... the class that introduced me to it in the first place. So today I thought about your Main Street lecture on the way - and even though you can't get Ave G. directly off of Main, I chose to drive down it for nostalgia's sake.

    I loved your landscapes class. It's a gift that continues to give... just ask my two peers who became great fans of Jimenez today too.


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