What I’ll Miss About Teaching

Only showing up three days a week? (Well, that too.)

Last night I led a group of students heretofore unaware of all contemporary trends in art through a discussion of post-structuralist theory and elements of postmodernism.

This was right after my totally scattered and disorganized leadership of a discussion of Umberto Eco’s “The City of Robots” with both Computer Graphics 1 & Computer Graphics 2 students.

Background:  Insanely, my college regularly has me teaching 2 different classes in the same room at the same time.  Computer Graphics 1 does print media/concepts and CG 2 does animation & interactivity.  It gets enrollment up and my predecessor just solved the work load by essentially having CG 2 students repeat CG 1.  I am more generous/conscious of student needs in the field.

The Computer Graphics 2 students are making non-narrative animations.  And, so I thought I should ad a little historo-theoretical background on how non-narrative stuff got started in the first place.  I asked them to read these: 
http://www.brocku.ca/english/courses/4F70/poststruct.html
http://www.brocku.ca/english/courses/2F55/post-mod-attrib.html
Thanks to John Lye, Assoc. Prof. & Chair, Dept. of English Language & Literature at Brock University – you write, I send students, it works well for me.

To which the universal response was, “huh?”  You see, these are community college students mostly interested in the vocational pluses of making pictures on computers.  But, these are all ideas that are now well ingrained in common, culture-wide understandings.  Only the vocabulary and the fact that the ideas can be dated to things with names aren’t…

So, I’m a teacher and I teach and we talked.  And… they got it! Not only that, but the discussion evolved entirely differently than it did when I went over the same thing during the spring semester.  In the spring we talked about the difficulties of getting at universal (gasp: “totalizing”) things through language – the problematics of understanding.  Last night then, we talked about, or they wanted to talk about the problems of claiming authority in the “the world as a field of contesting explanations” (quote from the 2nd link above).

Not only that, but after I’ve given a historical precedent for dissolving the distinction between high and low culture; and after basically explaining why I can’t claim any sort of high authority, that they in fact can make their own judgments based on substantive information – then I looked like a good guy.  That doesn’t happen so often.

Ah, I’ll miss that when I refuse to do it for less than I could make bagging groceries.  Find me a just barely middle class salary, or even the possibility of health care, and I’d stick with it until I’m too old to get to class.

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