Okay, so sometimes I've been known to oversell. SOMEtimes.
Day 1 of senior seminar, I'm giving students an overview of the framework for the course, the books we're reading, etc., and I say something to the tune of, "Chapter 6 in Lanham's gonna blow your mind."
Fast-forward a couple weeks to the day they've finished reading Chapter 6. Amy puts on her dentist coat and begins pulling teeth.
Me: Did anyone
from this chapter? I mean, didn't you guys laugh in places?
A few pathetic grumbles about how parts
of it were funny, but the bulk of it was just overwhelming.
Then one student says: As I was reading this, I kept feeling really bad that I wasn't liking it as much as you wanted us to like it.
Another student: You said something about it on the first day of class. I was really expecting something big.
A week later, when we've finished Lanham and we're about to begin reading Simon Worrall's The Poet and the Murderer
about infamous forger and murderer Mark Hofmann, I tell them a bit about the "plot" and about how I really want to go to Utah to interview Hofmann, but I'm very afwaid. So they've got to help me figure out how to write to him, what to say, how to formulate questions.
As they're leaving, I tell them to have a good weekend and, well, "I'm not gonna say anything about how much you're going to like this book. Look at me not overselling."
Last Thursday, as I'm walking in, a student says: I swear to god, as I was reading this, I really said out loud to myself, 'this is blowing my mind. Robillard was right.'
Me: Be nice. It's not nice to make fun of me like that.
Student: No, really
, this book was blowing my mind and I actually thought of that phrase.
Me: It's not April Fool's Day, is it?
Me, later, once we're into the meaty part of our discussion of the book: Later you'll realize why the phrase "blowing your mind" is so apt to describe this book.
Thereby taking the attention off the fact that no, I didn't oversell this book, and it really is
as fascinating as I think it is. And not just to me.yay
Labels: students, teaching