Friday, September 26, 2008

This is not an academic blog.

This morning I held the first session of the class I'll be teaching this quarter: Writing 39B, Critical Reading and Rhetoric--Class, Poverty, and the American Dream. Contrary to the barrage of horror stories we were fed in training, I found it a rather pleasant experience. These wide-eyed freshmen were sweet, polite, organized, receptive. They gave thoughtful answers to my questions and listened attentively when I explained to them why critical reading and rhetorical analysis matter.

By the end of the hour I had, on one hand, the sense that everything would be alright; the quarter was off to a good start. On the other hand, I was a bit irked by our preparation: why hadn't we been prepped more about logistics, policy and procedure, rather than spending so much time in teaching workshops training ourselves to think of our students as a herd of fundamentalist sheep out to destroy their leftist instructors? Sure, UCI's undergradute population is rather conservative, but why spend so much time talking about it--actually preparing for it with no little trepidation--prior to entering the classroom?

I was giving voice to these thoughts with my roommate this evening at the In-N-Out near campus when we were distracted by the following exchange taking place between two UCI undergrads just to my left:
Young Lady #1: Yeah, I thought about that, because it's like, Sarah Palin has a whole bunch of kids. And she just had a baby with Down Syndrome, so I just don't think she should be trying to take on that job right now. I mean, she can't really do that job, right?

Young lady #2: Well yeah, but that's not even why Democrats don't like her. They don't like her because, like, they're liberals. And, like, liberals don't believe in God.
I would like to thank these two for making me look like an idiot. For the record, I still have some faith in my students. More faith, apparently, than I do in God.