So I figured half way through this week that I would not be spending much time with Flintoff. And I didn't. I ended up with about four pages of new writing on him. Flintoff doesn’t lead himself to easy analytical interjections by the author (apparently that’s easier with chatty people like Thomasson), so I need to make my point by narrative. That’s harder than it looks (especially if you are trying to read good narrative writing at the same time). I haven’t developed much thinking on Flintoff since last week, but he makes some subtle, and vital, sighs of despair in which the necessity of social religious interaction to individual spiritual fulfillment are apparent. Plus, he stated very directly that he believed he could achieve happiness on earth and prepare for eternity all at the same time. The former and the later are slight observations, but taken together, I think, interpretively important, especially if you’ve just been reading some John Boles.
Started the semester at the Four Year College this week (that’s where my time has gone.) I hope some day I can devote all my (work) time to prepping classes and teaching without feeling I’m stealing from the more important project. Anyhow, the folks at FYC have been fantastically friendly and I couldn’t ask for more as a simple one-class adjunct.
Some interesting observations, at least to me: The students in my CC class have quite a bit more “life experience” and it really shows in basic classroom behavior. And I mean that in a good way. They fully engage in the conversation (well, most do). I have everyone from adults to first year college people; from people who haven’t been to school in twenty years and people who are still in high school. At the FYCs (not just this one, but all I’ve been at), the classes are very, very, uniform in age, race, and life experiences. Obviously, this is not a groundbreaking observation, but it crackles when you see the differences up close. The FYC students don’t seem to know what to do in class until I start a lecture* and all of a sudden, the pens and notebooks (or laptops) come out and the note-taking begins. They have a purpose, and they know how to do this. The educational conditioning of this generation is weird, and unfamiliar to me.
Also, I’m using a textbook at the CC, and a different kind of book at the FYC. Same topic (American History 1865 to present), but the way the readings are set up, completely different approaches. The FYC book doesn’t do “coverage,” meaning, it doesn’t tell as broad a narrative emcompassing everything in Am Hist that can possibly be covered in a chapter. It hones in on, well, “major problems” from each chronological period. I actually have nothing meaningful to say about this observation, yet, but I think my determination not to lecture may be severely tested very soon as some facts are going to need to be layed out.
As if starting a new semester at a new school wasn’t exciting enough, I had the thrill today of stumbling upon Glenn Beck on the radio just as he was explaining how historians are going to Hell because we’re such hacks, so sketchy with facts, and all crave affirmation from vicious Marxists. This is not hyperbole. This is what he said. So at least I don’t have to worry about my soul, since I now know where it’s headed.
*or lecture-type discussion, because I don’t really lecture the classical way.