Anticipating, And Interacting With, The ‘Bright Light’ Student

On several occasions this semester, while preparing for my classes–by doing the assigned readings, naturally–I find myself experiencing that most pleasurable of sensations for a teacher: the anticipation of an invigorating classroom interaction. With a wrinkle; I have very particular students in mind. Now, in general, I look forward to my classroom encounters with myContinue reading “Anticipating, And Interacting With, The ‘Bright Light’ Student”

Teaching Self-Evaluation For The Semester That Was (Almost)

Classes for the fall semester ended last week; finals and grading lie ahead of me. It’s time for another self-evaluation of my teaching. As usual, I find myself earning a mixed grade for my efforts. This semester I taught three classes: Philosophy of Law, Political Philosophy, and Introduction to Philosophy. (Interestingly enough, this is theContinue reading “Teaching Self-Evaluation For The Semester That Was (Almost)”

On Becoming More ‘Confessional’ In The Classroom

A few weeks ago, in the course of a conversation with a colleague here at Brooklyn College, I remarked that over the years I had become more ‘confessional’ in my classroom  interactions with my students. When gently pressed to explain what I meant, I said that I had become more unguarded there, in that space–inContinue reading “On Becoming More ‘Confessional’ In The Classroom”

The Rainbow In My Roster

Two weeks ago, on 8 September, after finishing my morning stint my gym, I headed to the Brooklyn College campus. I arrived at 12:20, five minutes after the 11:00 AM to 12:15 PM classes had ended. The campus was overflowing with students: streaming out from classrooms and lecture halls, clogging the corridors, the walkways, theContinue reading “The Rainbow In My Roster”

Stepping Up To The Plate For Another Fall Classic

Around mid-August or so, my normal ‘auto-chattering’–the monologues I have with myself as I walk around the streets of New York City–picked up pace. I began rehearsing dialogues with an imaginary audience, holding forth, declaiming, answering questions, parrying objections–the whole package. The reasons for this are not hard to find. The 2015 fall semester beginsContinue reading “Stepping Up To The Plate For Another Fall Classic”

Getting Philosophy Syllabi Right

Student evaluations can be flattering; they can be unfair; they can be good reminders to get our act together. A few weeks ago, I received my student evaluations for the ‘Twentieth Century Philosophy’ class I taught this past spring semester. As I read them, I came upon one that brought me up short, because itContinue reading “Getting Philosophy Syllabi Right”

A Teaching Self-Evaluation

Today is the last day of classes for the fall semester of 2014. Today is the day for reviews, discussing paper plans (and in one class, surprisingly enough, answering questions from students who wanted to know a bit more about my personal background.) A week from today, I will administer finals in two classes andContinue reading “A Teaching Self-Evaluation”

Jesse Pinkman and Eklavya: Teacher-Student Relationships Broken Bad

The grand old Indian epic Mahabharata contains, among its thousands of stories, several which unsettle us by their moral ambiguity. One such story is that of Eklavaya. The Wikipedia entry for him notes: He is a young prince of the Nishadha, a confederation of jungle tribes in Ancient India. Eklavya aspired to study archery inContinue reading “Jesse Pinkman and Eklavya: Teacher-Student Relationships Broken Bad”