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Just a few, random thoughts...
life whinges followed by a Peanut story 
13th-Oct-2011 06:52 pm
militant owl
So this semester is pretty much sucking. I'm far less recovered from the octopus attack than I'd thought and even the small amount of work I'm doing is kicking my butt. The good news is I'm coping better than I was a month and a half ago when classes started. The bad news is that's still far worse than pre-octopus.

Meanwhile, campus has been hit with the plague. Students and faculty are dropping like flies. And today the Peanut got it. Woke up unable to talk and utterly miserable. It was even one of those teacher-whatever days when there's no school and he would have spent the day at the rec-center. But no, he was too sick.

One of the perks I lost when I stopped being regular faculty was having the scheduler coordinate with Mr. Mochi's department to try to make sure we didn't both teach at the same time. Until now, we'd never had more than a quarter hour of overlap (labs being different lengths than other classes). This semester, even though I'm only teaching one class, it's simultaneous with one of his. So someone, who turned out to be me, had to take the Peanut to class with them.

This didn't start out well. First, the plan to have him watch a DVD at the back of the room fell apart when a random parent who will remain nameless of the male persuasion packed the wrong headphones (yeah, I should have checked, but he swore he'd taken care of it). Which might not have been a problem except that this was the day I was teaching Night by Elie Wiesel. If you haven't read it, it's the most soul-wrenching account of the Holocaust on the market. Great topic for a 10 year old (insert sarcasm). I walked into the class thinking this was going to be a disaster.

My little boy's first day in college was a huge success. Within the first 5 minutes he put his book down and spent the rest of the 75 minutes listening attentively (fie on the teachers who say he has problems with his attention span!) And then there was the magic moment.

Okay, so it was a bit of a inside job, but only a little bit. There's a place in the book where they talk about the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur, juxtaposed with the selection. The Jewish kids in the class took a shot at explaining the meaning of these holidays, and totally missed all the elements of life, death, self-examination, atonement, redemption, etc. that parallel the horror of the selection and the characters emotional struggle at that point in the book. I was about to explain it, when a little, timid hand went up from my baby. And he told a room full of college students about the real meaning of the cycle of years and life in Jewish tradition. And got it exactly right.

My little boy went to college and did good. At 11. I'm kvelling.
13th-Oct-2011 10:57 pm (UTC)
Congrats on a clever peanut. I'm afraid that the book Night, which I presently have two copies of, is not one I will read. Too traumatic for my mental health. I came across the copies at a freecycle thing - decided to pick them up and see if local bookstore that buys second hand books will give me a credit for them.
14th-Oct-2011 11:39 am (UTC)
It's a powerful kick in the gut kind of book. Great for getting a bunch of frosh to experience empathy, particularly the current, post-9/11 crowd who tend to see the world from a particularly strong "America is all that counts" perspective. But definitely not fun.
13th-Oct-2011 11:16 pm (UTC)
Wow. And yay Peanut. Can't wait to see what he comes up with for his Bar Mitzvah speech.
14th-Oct-2011 11:48 am (UTC)
Me either. He has a possibly overdeveloped sense of morality, to the point where we have to explain to him that no, people who oppose universal health care aren't necessarily evil and probably don't deserve to die.
13th-Oct-2011 11:55 pm (UTC)
Oh! It sounds like such a magic moment! Super!
14th-Oct-2011 11:49 am (UTC)
I was sooo proud. And the students were all "awww, how cute!"
14th-Oct-2011 02:45 am (UTC)
Go Peanut! (Whoa, he's 11 already?! Eep!)
14th-Oct-2011 11:49 am (UTC)
Scary, isn't it. They insist on getting older every single year, whether we want them to or not. ;D
14th-Oct-2011 01:21 pm (UTC)
Tell me about it. Ben turns seventeen a week from tomorrow. *meep*
14th-Oct-2011 09:22 am (UTC)
I want to meet your son. He sounds great.
14th-Oct-2011 11:50 am (UTC)
Door's open, come on by. And yes, he is pretty damn awesome, if I say so myself.
14th-Oct-2011 10:31 am (UTC)
That's wonderful. Good job, you!
14th-Oct-2011 11:52 am (UTC)
We're not at all devout, but we make sure the kids know the meanings of the holidays, not just the rituals. I was kind of shocked that my students could only explain the rituals. The meaning of Yom Kippur is not "you have to fast".
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