Yet another early morning of American Lit. In class this morning I had a realization: that I really love teaching literature. I made some of them read an Edgar Allan Poe poem out loud in front of the class (not “The Raven,” even I don’t understand those words). And then on to Whitman. I’ve had my own problems reading and interpreting him, but I just wanted to have my students focus on his main themes and values, etc. It didn’t seem like an exceptional class, but I just really had fun this morning. A girl in the front row said, “Eric, can you do me a favor?” “What?” I responded. She was too cold because of the fan and asked me to turn it off. I was nearing the point of sweat because of my pacing and gesticulating, so instead I gave her my jacket (she was wearing one already) and she and the girl next to her put it over their laps and huddled together like it was approaching the point of freezing.

Because this weekend is right before the Lunar New Year holiday I’ve accepted the invitations of two different classes to go on day trips with them around the Mekong Delta; a chance to see more of the country and get to know my students better.

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