Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Uber clutch

Today I was the world's most brilliant 115 instructor. I did the traditional, everybody's doing it intro to rhetorical analysis, but I rocked it. The idea is to have a random backpack, have students go through it, and determine what type of person owns the backpack: male, female, married, single, old, young, etc. I took it a step beyond by coming to class late, dropping the backpack on the desk and asking if anyone had left it outside of my office. When my bright-eyed, bushy-tailed freshmen students shook their heads no, I dropped it off to the side with the comment that I would take it to the Lost and Found later. I then proceeded to give their homework for Thursday and the rushwrite of the day, which was to write about RHETORIC. Scary word, especially if you have no idea what it means. I love creating fear in my students.

I had them share their answers with each other and overheard the words "Topher Grace." I stopped the girl, who happens to be one of my favorite students, and asked if she was talking about Pete from Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. She guiltly admitted she was, and the girl behind her said that was what she had thought of too. So I stopped the class, wrote the quote on the board: "I'll tear you to pieces with my bare hands--or vicious rhetoric." Brilliant. We talked about it, and then I launched into rhetorical analysis.

The point of this whole leading-up-to-moment is that I was acting spacier than usual--as if I was coming up with my lesson on the spot. So as I'm explaining rhetorical analysis, I say, "I wish there was a better way to show you what I mean. [beat] Wait a second." I hoist the bag on to my desk. "You all said this wasn't your backpack, right?" They shake their heads no again. "Well, then let's find out who's it is." An audible gasp from my students as I begin opening the bag. I glance in, and then look up. "I think I'm going to have a few of you look through this for us." I had two of my back row sitters come to the front and go through the bag, with Chase writing down on the board what was there.

A sampling: Econ book, N64 game, Japanese/English dictionary, all courtesy of Asmond. Josh Groban sheet music. Divine Comedy tickets (two, which prompted one student to declare "It's a guy. The guy always buys the tickets." Wish I had known that before). Small hymn book. Kleenex. Two CD mixes, Faith Hill, Counting Crows, and Bernstein's Mass. Lip stuff. Catcher in the Rye. Pictures from London (but they couldn't identify it as London). Oh yeah, and a bag of candy.

So as my perfectly haloed students sat in shock, Chase and I went through the bag. And then we started deciding if this bag belonged to a guy/girl, single/married, etc. The best moment was when I said, "I promised you guys candy today from last time, didn't I?" and began throwing candy out into the classroom. They were actually dodging the candy, not wanting anything to do with my antics. It was beautiful.

I did finally admit that the bag was Mary's and the stuff in the bag was mine and my friend's. To which they replied, "So we can eat the candy?"

I'll have to tell you the story in person. I just wanted to document this moment when eg went from clutch to uberclutch.


Asmond said...

Oh yeah, I want to know what they thought of my things...very interesting.

Special K said...

You've always been uberclutch to me, miss Egg.

KapkaVictim said...

I wanted to know what they thought of the bag too...did you ever make a conclusion? The lip stuff gave it away as a girl, eh?

Incidently, I love how honest and true they were that they were shocked to go through someone's bag and even more shocked to eat their candy.

Also, I wish you had put in something shocking, like birth control pills.

editorgirl said...

They thought Cathcher in the Rye was shocking enough as it was.


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