Tuesday, October 19, 2004

School begins its own particular immersion. The rains began in the Willamette Valley this week, steady, relentless, with the first bite of real cold. My drive to school is filled with liberal ranting and fears about the election, as I listen to Air America and hope November brings change, not least less polarized attitudes about what we "should" be doing, or perhaps more willingness to talk about what is possible.

Each morning I begin with hope, swaying from hope to despair at the volume of work this term, struggling with each class how best to use my time to support their learning. Five classes, five preps, perhaps others could just do it. Well it's week 4 and we're all making some sort of progress. Today in Humanities, we'll debate again whether Socrates' decision to drink the hemlock made sense, and we'll talk about that early Greek democracy that meant nearly 4,000 people voted in his trial with white stones and black. I have to review the file again as the numbers slip away. And then to Plato, pure abstraction, and Aristotle, the steady theorist, logical, responsible for syllogism and synthesis.

I was reading a paper by a humanities student who wrote about Paul VandeVelder, a Corvallis writer at: http://www.twbookmark.com/authors/33/3003/ and so found today's inspirational quote: "But where to begin? Ah, now there's a question. What the ancient ones tell us is true. The crossing is worth the storm. But there is one little catch. You can't see the far side until you leap."

I think I'm leaping just to stay current.