Circus boy dancing like a monkey on barbed wire...
In addition to a couple of my regular darlings, I've been teaching two spanking new seminars conjured from nothingness: no assignments, no in-class exercises, no grading rubrics, and certainly no previous experience teaching these particular ideas or texts.
So you'll excuse me if I haven't kept up this sucky old blog. Let's face it. MacGyver's had his hands full. Indeed, I've said to several people that I feel like it's my first year of teaching all over again. More than once, my plan for the day has retained its fresh-from-the copier heat as I walked into the classroom.
But that's not quite right. Sure, I am furiously inventing the universe every week, but I also have two decades worth of ideas, gimmicks and approaches to draw upon. So it's not really the same. On some subsonic level I'm confident I can figure it out and come up with something. That wasn't the case 23 years ago. In many ways, too, it's reassuring and revitalizing to discover that I can still start from scratch and do this job. One does get a little lazy teaching the same things year after year.
There are very few blessings that accompany getting older (very few). A bit more confidence in your ability is certainly one of these, but so too is knowing yourself better than you did at 20 or 30. I have a pretty good hunch that someone is going to ask me to take on a new role at work next week. I'm going to get a visit to my office and someone will say, "You know, you would be just great for this. You should really consider it."
When you're young and this happens, you think, "Hmm, maybe I should. Maybe this is just what I need." But when this happens in middle age, you smile and say, "Thanks, I'm very flattered you would think so. But no, I really shouldn't do this. Trust me. Trust me."
And this too is one of the rare blessings of age.