Friday, May 24, 2013

Hey, that's why I teach too

I just came across a New York Times opinion piece from yesterday's paper in which Notre Dame philosophy professor, Gary Gutting, describes what teaching (and in that case, learning) in college is all about.  Of course, I think you should look at his entire piece, but here's the quick gist.

College education is a proliferation of such possibilities: the beauty of mathematical discovery, the thrill of scientific understanding, the fascination of historical narrative, the mystery of theological speculation. We should judge teaching not by the amount of knowledge it passes on, but by the enduring excitement it generates. Knowledge, when it comes, is a later arrival, flaring up, when the time is right, from the sparks good teachers have implanted in their students’ souls.

For me, it nicely sums up my own perspective on teaching a discipline like anthropology.  While some students may in the future find some specific application of a bit of knowledge or a methodological approach, largely, the specific content of what I teach won't stick with them in ten years (in five, they'll still remember it all, I'm sure). What I want them to "get," is that the world is a complicated, terrible, wonderful and very fascinating place.  And, that they should continue thinking about that world with depth and a critical perspective.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday Night Single Parenting

Another post in the continuing theme of "woe is me," but "woe much more to those more unlucky than me."

My spouse is a CRM archaeologist and is currently in the field about four hours from home.  This means that she's hunkered down in a hotel at the moment.  Which puts me at home with our two four years old and the other two.  I'm lucky enough that I'm in between semesters at work, so the workload is a bit diminished.  Nevertheless, coming home to feed, enrich, entertain and ensleep (I'm clumsily going for alliteration here) the two little humans has me beat, and I know I just have to do it again in the morning, and for another two weeks.