Apologies to any of my students who have been checking this thing, wondering why their professor, who constantly harasses them to update their blogs each week, hasn't done so himself. In my defense I have only the lame excuse that I've been really busy--but at least I've been doing a good job of reading blogs. After all, I do have about 50 of them to check on every week.
Not only have I been putting off blogging, but I've also not been exercising very much this semester. Aside from a few dancing lessons with Yuriko, I've been living a rather sedentary life. I keep saying to myself that spring will be here soon enough, and then I can take my bike out of my closet and put some miles on it. But carrying that attitude through January and February has not done much for me. That was clear enough when I tried to get through a 90 minute Yoga class last night. Granted, since I had never done Yoga before, it was probably going to be a struggle anyway, but hitting the mat for the first time at my most out-of-shape didn't make things any easier. Overall, I really enjoyed it--I was sore and exhausted afterward, but in the best possible way. It made me think I should have been doing this all winter.
As for life on-the-job, my Comp I students are finishing up their "critical analysis" papers, in which they must write a 1,000 word rebuttal to a recently published piece of opinion journalism. For many students, the first step--finding an article that they feel they can intelligently dispute--presented quite a struggle. The problem was not a lack of material or a lack of critical intelligence, but rather a widespread feeling of being uninformed about world events, politics, and current public issues. Many of these students have admirably taken the initiative to read up on an issue or two, and I applaud them for it. "If you don't know enough to write a rebuttal," I keep saying, "find out more about it!" College is as good a time as any to figure out what is going on in the world around you. I'm not about to tell my students what issues to care about or what to think about the issues they do care about, but I feel it is my obligation to encourage them to care about something--something bigger than their personal lives--and to reflect on its importance, to research its complexity, and to articulate an informed perspective on it.
This brings me to a final point. I've recently signed up for my first academic committee here at DCCC. The committee, called the "Academic Renewal Committee," will be trying to reform the college's general education requirements. I know many students feel frustrated with their gen-eds, and they often wish they had the freedom to take whichever classes they want. In light of that, I hope we can reformulate the gen-eds in a way that will more closely fit students' needs and make these classes more meaningful for everyone. If any of my students are reading this and want to comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the issue. What kinds of courses--if any--do you think ought to be required for all DCCC students in order to graduate?