November 30th, 2001


Of bagels and brats

Bagels! I have eaten so many bagels today it's not even funny. I don't feel like I've had anything to eat today -- just bagels. Do bagels really satisfy the soul? I don't know. But all I've had today are bagels and SweeTarts, and I want some real food.

Of course, the reason that I had the bagels in the first place (over thirty in four different varieties, plus two types of cream cheese spread, that set me back over twenty bucks at Panera) was that today was my last day to teach this semester. The class isn't over yet, but today was my last TA session. I'm genuinely fond of the vast majority of these kids, and I thought it would be nice to have a treat on the last day.

Only about half of them ate the damn bagels. Just a few said "thank you."

I have no idea if I'm a good teacher or not. In a totally embarrassing moment, I discovered I'd left my lecture notes in the car and had to wing it... oooops. The class was nearly asleep as has been usual lately, and when I was talking about what makes a good response paper, one of the students (one who's bitched to Cahill about me) challenged me in the middle of class. I don't know if I pulled the save or not.


At the end I gave them a little speech about how it was my first time teaching and they had been a really wonderful first class. I meant every word. I even told them they could call me by my first name now, and they all laughed. They always have been smart enough to laugh at my jokes. I then asked them to fill out some informal evaluations just for my own benefit.

Of course these evaluations were anonymous, but the class didn't seem too worried about remaining so, and even said I didn't have to leave the room while they wrote. I haven't had the heart to look at most of them yet.

The girl who challenged me in class wrote a ton. I was sure she was ripping me a new asshole. But when I read it later, it was actually pretty balanced. In fact, she talked about how she could tell I knew a lot about the material and I should have been more confident. There was some very useful criticism. Another eval said that I was the first TA the student had felt comfortable expressing his/her opinions to.

Maybe I'll manage to read the rest of the evaluations this weekend.

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