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Friday Afternoon Confessional: Deep Truths.

I confess that starting teaching has unveiled certain deep truths to me. The first was especially jarring: when I assign reading to the students, I’m also assigning it to me! A more subtle truth has taken more time to present itself, namely, that when one class seems to be going better than another, it doesn’t mean that the second class is going poorly. Rather, in a situation where I am teaching two classes in a given day, odds are that one of them will seem better than the other — they can in theory reach the exact same level of goodness, but the odds are not good. It’s like the perception that the line next to you is always going faster — out of three lines (yours and the lines on either side of you), the odds are against yours being the fastest (1 to 3).

Surely this statistical truism shouldn’t lead me to rest on my laurels! Especially for a first-year faculty member, vigorous efforts at self-improvement are absolutely essential. Yet panicking every time one of my class seems not to go as well as the other means panicking literally every time I teach.

I confess that I am officially teaching a course on “Feminist Theologies” rather than the previously planned course on Hebrew Bible. Keeping with the current semester’s pattern of teaching a traditional course (Classical Christian Thought — basically patristics) and a more cutting-edge course (Liberation Theology), I will be pairing Feminist Theologies with Medieval Christian Thought. I confess that since neither course is part of the regular curriculum, this shift required me to draft two new syllabi in three weeks, which will help me in the long run.

I confess that I had my second drop-off from the laundry service today, and I am now considering devoting my life to evangelizing for laundry services. It’s a little pricy, especially since they’re defaulting to dry cleaning for “nice” stuff, but it’s totally worth it. I can’t imagine how much I would hate life if I had to figure out a way to drag all my stuff to the laundromat and then spend 2-3 hours there and then drag it back.

I confess that I’m starting to believe that you can tell when a streak of things going wrong is over when something “goes wrong” by going right.


October 16, 2009 - Posted by | Friday Afternoon Confessional


  1. I confess that I quite like “Leverage”.

    Comment by K-sky | October 16, 2009

  2. i confess the economics are really recovering maybe, i’ve read the quarterly statement of my tiaacref account and it says there’s increase in the value of the shares almost twice in just two months, wonders of the stockmarket! i confess i wish to peruse the dry cleaning service near the corner and used it twice for my winter coats and was very dissatisfied with their service b/c either my coats are too dirty or they don’t clean well, perhaps the second option, b/c one coat came out too bleached, another coat lost its nice soft cashmerey feeling

    Comment by read | October 16, 2009

  3. the economy i meant, gah

    Comment by read | October 16, 2009

  4. What are you reading in Feminist Theology?

    Comment by Adam R | October 16, 2009

  5. I’ll post the syllabus at AUFS once I have a more solid draft.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | October 16, 2009

  6. I confess that I barely have control over one of my classes. This isn’t so bad–they seem to be absorbing (at least) all of the information and they are asking questions (occasionally good)–but they are *so* hyper. I think the idiotic scheduled time 8:30-11:30AM is the cause. In an effort to reign them in, I’ve decided class will begin at 9:00AM henceforth and will go two and a half hours without a break. I don’t like breaks anyway.

    I confess to wishing I was a trained ethnographer. I could have a whole book ready to go in two months after having been at the shelter–often running it–nearly five days a week for the past two months.

    Comment by Craig | October 16, 2009

  7. I confess I’m so fracking bored I might try to start a reading group entirely dedicated to reading Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed. And that’s bored, man.

    Starting a class at 8:30 meant for me that I would be asleep before 8:45.

    Comment by burritoboy | October 16, 2009

  8. I confess to stealing quarters from petty cash for my weekly diet coke. Cue menacing villain laugh.

    Comment by ebolden | October 16, 2009

  9. I confess that the GRE wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting it to be. Or rather, while I was taking the test it seemed to be much worse than I expected it to be, but the results were better.

    Comment by Bryan Klausmeyer | October 16, 2009

  10. I confess that I still check the Amazon ranking of Zizek and Theology almost every day. It was getting pretty grim the last couple weeks, but sales seemed to pick up this week.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | October 16, 2009

  11. I confess that Gen Chem at 8:30 a.m. in college most definitely did not make me *so* hyper. I guess things are just different in Canada.

    Comment by transportinburma | October 16, 2009

  12. I confess that I haven’t done much today other than loaf around and send out several email inquiries regarding grad school.

    I confess that I can’t figure out a set group of target schools, because I can’t figure out exactly what kind of program I’m looking for. I confess that, at times, I’m probably too much of an intellectual dilettante, which is why I am having a hard time with where to apply.

    I confess that I’m worried I won’t get into any programs at all.

    Comment by dave | October 16, 2009

  13. I confess that the pedagogy course I (of all people!) am teaching seems to be going well. But perhaps when I get the course evaluations I will learn that this is not so! I confess that the battle between my laziness and my need to win a fellowship if I hope to maintain my high standard of living next year is not going well for the latter party, though there is, admittedly, still time.

    I confess that once you get past the stuff about, like, insects and shit, The Structure of Behavior gets significantly more interesting and even readable. I confess that I consume too much pornography, lust after every moderately attractive woman I’ve ever met, and joined REI.

    I confess that I didn’t realize that jms had written the Thursday post, even though when Adam complained about her not having returned an email of his, I assumed that that’s what it concerned, and so when I got to the part about the clerk asking after the author of the post’s race, I thought, “who asks about the race of a generic honky?”.

    I confess further that today was a pretty good day, even though (I feel compelled to add) I have done no schoolwork: In the morning I discovered what move I should make to ensure a trouncing of my email chess opponent by me, then I went on a thoroughly enjoyable hike, and when I returned I carried out the trouncing and began braising some back ribs, a process that will be finished in 75 or so minutes, after which they’ll have been five hours in the oven.

    Comment by ben | October 16, 2009

  14. I confess further that the British pronunciation of “saxophonist” is hilarious.

    Comment by ben | October 16, 2009

  15. Saxophonist!

    Comment by infinite thought | October 18, 2009

  16. i confess i need sneakers, but am too lazy to get up, dress and go to the mall to do shopping
    am lazy to get up b/c the apartment is cold, the heat is very insufficient for some reason, should again complain to the super
    online i’m reluctant to order something after finding a box in the apartment, don’t want to give like excuses for the intrusion, i think that’s very strange and told so to the super too

    Comment by read | October 18, 2009

  17. how strange my last comment shows up on the netbook, but does not when i read the thread now on the notebook
    the same connection and everything, except one is in the bedroom another one in the kitchen, what’s different
    but it’s only good, since the comment i got ashamed, got up and cleaned my dishes, and now i’m going to eat caramel ice-cream to reward myself, perhaps won’t go shopping or will just buy something from the Annie sez nearby
    amazing power of internets or confession
    so it could be that people confessing about for example GREs start studying harder after that

    Comment by read | October 18, 2009

  18. I confess that I find the British pronunciation of “controversy” to be hilarious, and that I’m thankful for Ben’s comment, because it reminded me of a lecturer in my program filled with American students who had be to using the word “controversy” a deliberately high amount of times.

    I confess that I feel like working through Barron’s 3500 word master list for the GRE is potentially futile, but enjoyable in a strange way.

    Comment by dave | October 18, 2009

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