So here I am auditing a college freshman lit class — Survey of Western Lit. I had been rereading Gilgamesh this last fall and find out that is the first story we’re covering. Several times the prof looked right at me, so I came up with some insights.
Today was the 5th class and we were sitting in groups. The prof came up to me and said, “May I talk with you for a minute?”
Ye gads. Here I am umppity years old and being called out of class by the prof. So I do the walk of shame and we go out of the class room for a chat.
But I guess what I am saying is okay except this is a FRESHMAN class. Enough with bringing up the Hero’s Journey, etc. It’s a bit too sophisticated for this class. Don’t stop commenting, but can I please help the students to search for the answers themselves? Ask them questions?
“And,” she says, “I have some good books on myths I can loan you.” (She doesn’t know I’m a book hoarder. But that’s okay. I’d love to see what books she has).
Sure. And I go back to my group I (By now I’m feeling both possessive and protective of these four freshman). They were trying to come up with their arguments for a paper. They had chosen the gods and supernatural as their topics.
They all talked and then looked to me for guidance. I told them I needed to not give them the answers but point them in a direction. So I asked them questions and listened, and asked other questions. When the prof wasn’t listening, I threw in a bit of cultural anthropology and number of times something is done. I’ve always been into going across disciplines and it will get them looking at other sources for material.
When the class was over, our group was the last to leave. And the four young students with their wonderful young minds all said they were so happy when I sat down with their group and they loved to hear my comments in class.
Wow. What a rush when the young want to listen to what I have to say.
And as the whipped cream and sprinkles on my chocolate cake, one of the students wants to be a writer. And from the first day of class, I picked her out as a person with a writer’s mind by the comment she made when we we moving the tables and chairs around the room. — “And so there begins the thundering of chairs.”
So I’ll be helping her make connections to our wonderful world of writers. It’s time for her to meet her tribe.