Class Responses to Assignment # 1

Must admit, self is hugely enjoying class at xxxx community college this quarter. Self has decided to be “creative”, give them odd assignments on the spur of the moment, such as: Write me a paragraph explaining the meaning of this sentence in the Richard Rodgriguez essay “Late Victorians”: Serendipity has an eschatological tang. Have been getting VERY imaginative answers.

Part of the reason must be the time: 8 in the morning. Have given up any attempt to appear organized, that early in the morning. Usually rush in, papers spilling over my arms, dump everything on a (shaky) lectern, and launch right in, not even planning what self is going to say first. But, amazingly, extemporaneous style seems to suit class, we have had the most amazing discussions.

First reading was Tad Friend’s New Yorker article, “Jumpers.” Students very eager to point out the contradiction in their visions of San Francisco and the reality of jumpers on the Golden Gate Bridge. Then, yesterday, Rodriguez’s “Late Victorians.” Students want to know why Rodriguez sounds as if he doesn’t like being gay (never says what he is directly, but chooses to do so by describing a Victorian house, of all things) and why he says such provocative things that have questionable foundations (such as that yuppies copy gays because they are jealous of the gay materialistic lifestyle, now there’s a stereotype for you!)

The other day, assigned them the task of writing an essay on my class syllabus (ha ha ha ha!) Actually got the poor dears excited. Some were admittedly befuddled (“I must admit, this assignment seems a little bit odd to me. I have never written about a syllabus before.”), but most were game.

Tomorrow, am setting them to write for TWO HOURS. Told them they have to synthesize Friend and Rodriguez essays and then come up with their own language (preferably, figurative or metaphorical) to describe San Francisco. Just realized that the more self expects from students, the harder they work. What a paradox! Wish self could have arrived at this nirvana moment earlier.

Today was beautiful. Watered: 12 buckets. Errands: Safeway, Downtown RWC Library (to borrow novel : Marianne WigginsEvidence of Things Unseen). Fed Bella and Gracie asparagus stems, leftover rib-eye self discovered in oven. Even took a nap! Happy.

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