Week 7 of the Wednesday lists
Being back on a college campus this weekend (for Brighton Beach Memoirs) got me to thinking about some of my favorite classes. I thought it might make a fun list.
My Top Ten College Courses* Introduction to Shakespeare
This was the only class Jeffrey and I ever took together. We had a marvelous time, and both of us fell utterly in love with Shakespeare. It was our first day of class and in walks a shorter, balder Woody Allen. No joke. When he opens his mouth though he sounds exactly like Droopy Dog. We both sat there thinking, "Uh oh. What are we in for?" On and on he droned taking the role, talking about the syllabus, the rules, blah, blah, blah. We're both starting to think that it's not too late to drop this course. And then. Oh, and then. Dr. Shaun asks us to take out our text and turn to page 213. He stands up, clears his throat, opens his mouth. When he opens his mouth he sounds exactly like Sir Lawrence Olivier. He taught as well as he read, too. What a teacher!
* Acting II
Oh how I loved my acting courses. I would have minored in theater, but you weren't able to have a job since university theater productions were your job. Still, what fun I had.
* Voice and Diction
This was another class from the theater department. We had to begin each class with vocal exercises that still make me giggle when I think of them. Voice and Diction has probably served me more effectively and taught me more real-life skills than any course I ever took. One thing I can pass on to you right now? There is no such word as "machure". It is correctly pronounced "ma-tu-r".
* Modern Dance
If you know me in person, I bet you are laughing right about now. Yes, klutzy me loved modern dance. I loved the teacher and fulfilled every one of my phys. ed. requirements with her. After aerobics, she talked me into trying modern dance. I took it with a friend, and loved every minute of it. None of us in the class could dance so we all learned together. The course was really about movement and grace and feeling comfortable in our bodies. What woman doesn't need that? I still think of my professor telling us that we should move as though we were a gift to the people who watched us.
* American Literature by Women
I have been a reader all my life. My first complete sentence was, "Wead it to me, Momma." By the time I took this class, I had spent thousands of hours reading. Still. In my reading life, this is the class that turned me into an adult. It also gave me the gift of Willa Cather.
* Abnormal Psychology
At the time I was strongly considering becoming a psychologist. Oh, I loved talking about experiences, emotions, motivations, and the way people think. I loved trying to figure out what makes people tick. I loved listening to people's stories and trying to help. Still do. But, then I met Jeffrey and realized that what I wanted most was a good marriage. The two are not mutually exclusive, I know. But, my filter doesn't work very well. I get awfully emotional and wrapped up in the lives of the people I care about. I knew where this path would lead me. I would spend an hour listening to an abused woman and then watch her go home to the abuser. I knew I'd come home and yell at Jeffrey. And, so. I choose another path. I just couldn't do it. Weak filter.
* Classical Literature
This is the class that really started me thinking about becoming a teacher. My professor was as passionate about her subject as any teacher I'd ever known. I wanted to ignite that kind of passion in students of my own. The long term result of this course? I fell in love with Allen Mandelbaum's translation of Ovid. I learned to appreciate more kinds of literature than I ever would have thought possible. And, eventually, long after graduation, I went back to school to earn my teacher's certification. Today, I pray every day to display exactly that kind of passion.
* Art History
I took this class when I was back in school earning my teacher's certification. I had one extra-curricular credit to earn and decided to use it on one of my passions. This class was pure pleasure start to finish. It also gave me a mid-life plan. When Sloane is grown and I've retired from teaching (many, many years from now) I plan to earn another Masters; this one in art history. I want to volunteer as a docent at a great museum. If I'm lucky, I'll get to help design the kids' programing.
* Incorporating the Arts in the Elementary Classroom
This course is second only to Eric Jensen in its influence on my teaching. I try each day to use the arts to enhance learning opportunities and ignite curiosity. We dance every day. Create every day. Definitely sing every single day. The arts open doors for students who might not be reached any other way. And, oh, what fun it is!
* Teaching Reading
This course was another revelation in how to teach. Dr. Ponder had it all. Passion for her subject, creative approaches to lessons, meaningful assignments, connections with her students, deep subject knowledge, excellent pedagogy, and the ability to make learning fun. I decided then that she is who I would be when I grew up.
What about you? What are some of your favorite learning experiences?