My college students dread writing and reading. It’s time to re-think the way we teach.
*photo credit: Susan Sermoneta, Flickr Creative Commons*
One of the earliest assignments in my first-year seminar is a reading and writing autobiography. Basically, I want my students to tell me who…
An old poem from a book that’s now, yikes, 11 years old. Still, closest thing we Mennonites have to a sacrament is foot washing.
Maundy Thursday, On the Run
"You also ought to wash one another’s feet."
To find a body willing is hard. In the mall, I asked old women, young men, a few clerks—could I please wash your feet? I held out a brand new bar of soap and a full blue plastic basin. The pink towel on my shoulder was clean.
And as you might expect, some folks dismissed this as a ploy. A wide man wearing green suggested I kiss his wide ass instead. His leather work boots squeaked against the tile as we each declined the other’s gesture.
It was a revelation just how many claimed their feet were plenty clean: tiny women in gossamer shoes; boys in sleek white Nikes; a cop’s polished black oxfords shone.
By the time I found someone, the water had grown cold. Yet he only winced a bit at the initial dip of his heel. Callused skin on the balls of his feet and a sharp nail on his big toe kept him from being a stranger. After dabbing dry his skin, I handed him his socks. He knotted up his laces. He asked was it my turn now? But by then I had to run.
The Two-Toed Sloth Discovers He Is a Deadly Sin
It came to him slowly, as with everything.
Hanging by his several strong toes over the road,
he heard the words of two hurried priests: each day
one would trump the other considering the trees,
the day-lilies in their orange chaos, and, one afternoon,
the sagging sloth as he seemed to nap above them.
He gathered, over months, like grubs how they disapproved
of his look, of his gaze at them through half-lidded eyes.
Little he could do besides drift into a free and dense state,
besides dangle from his strength and hear, like a litany,
the afternoon’s lazy, purposeful chirr.
forthcoming in The Small Books of Bach
It’s taken me a while to post the last two days of my “What Does a Prof Do?” month long series of photos. For those who don’t recall, here’s why I posted these photos. After seeing what this past Feb. looks like, I think there’s a reflective essay percolating. It will involve computer screens, grading, driving, snow, and other people. Beyond that, I still have to think about what I’ve discovered. Until then, here are the final two images:
What Does a Prof Do? Day 27—Scopes Out the Book Fair for Bargains to Take Back to the College Library
What Does a Prof Do? Day 28—Presents a Panel with Three Other Very Talented Poets