I’m finally getting creative with my classes! Monday and Tuesday afternoons I teach British Literature to the third-year students. However, I decided that there was too much of me lecturing and asking questions. So, I took part of the first scene from King Lear and re-wrote it so that the language was far more understandable, and made groups of students get up and act. The theatre or Shakespeare classes that I took as a student usually involved watching live performances or videos of plays, but we don’t really have access to all of that here, so I just made the students get up and act. I had the “older daughters” flattering “Lear” with sweet, falsetto voices; I had “Lear” shouting in rage at his youngest daughter. We can read all we want about Shakespeare, and I can lecture till I’m blue in the face, but nothing compares to trying the words out themselves and trying to make them come alive.
Then today was American Studies class. I had prepared some handouts for The Great Gatsby and On the Road to try and give them a feel for some famous novels from the 20th century. But I’ve been reading things on the internet about the World Series and wishing that I could teach my fourth-years a little about baseball. I decided to whip up a handout with some basic rules and some pictures of the action (video must be heavily copyright protected, because I can’t find any for downloading anywhere). Then, I recruited Tyler to come to class for a few minutes to play catch. My parents had brought over two baseball gloves and some baseballs last Christmas time, and now I used them as part of a demonstration. The students were so interested! They all wanted to try, and since most people are right handed my glove was passed around while Tyler used the left-handed one. It was amazing to see slender girls with a big mitt on catching floating throws while the rest of the class watched and cheered at the catches. So many other students stopped walking to watch and even more peered around the corners of buildings to see what the commotion was. Some of my students said that the gloves had “a terrible smell” and Tyler and I disagreed and said that they smelled wonderful. I took them back to class to try to explain more of the rules to them, and the questions came flying: “How do you score?” “What about the time?” “Is there a score limit” etc. I teach another section of the fourth-years tomorrow morning and we’ll be doing the same thing. And next week I’m trying to get both of the sections together to watch The Natural. I think it’s illegal to have this much fun teaching.