Where The Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plains

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sorry for going MIA on {the ivy project} lately.  I could give you lots of excuses about working full time and teaching a class while training for a half marathon and spending every weekend with family.  The truth is, I'm just not quite sure what to write about in Kansas.  It is, well... not New York.  Exciting things do not often happen.  And I sort of feel like people don't quite care to read about life in Kansas.  You all live this life already.  Go to work, drive home, grocery stores and gas stations, normal life.  New York was exciting and unknown and sort of hard to relate to for people west of the Hudson River.  Or so I believed, at least.

I might be a little caught up on that life in New York.

Or in denial about living a normal, non-New York kind of life.

Probably that one.

Other than seeing my family every weekend, which is by far the best part of Kansas, my students keep me unbelievably entertained.  I'm teaching a class for new freshmen.  It is every bit as funny as you might think.  We are reading The Worst Hard Time, KU's Common Book for the year distributed to all new students.  It really is a good book.  While I have a few star students, let's just say a historical account of the dust bowl didn't immediately grab their attention.

If you need a good laugh, here are a few excerpts from papers they wrote in class yesterday.  All I asked was for them to write everything they remembered about the two assigned chapters.

"was getting worse"
"a flock of whirlwinds happened"
"difficulties... drought... family"
"something about the government"
"maybe there was a president... or something about the president"
"there was a tornado... the dust bowl ended"
"the dust bowl ended, clear skies formed, and people had hope, but then the clouds came back out."
"i did not read, sorry.  was really busy with homecoming."

Seriously, these kids are hilarious.  You've got to give them credit for creativity.  So maybe we still need to work on why reading the assigned textbook is an important part of college success.  (Maybe I needed to work on that when I was their age, too.)  But for all the silly descriptions and excuses and extremely vivid recreations of the dust bowl, every once in awhile one writes something that actually makes sense...

"I believe that it was to display the heart that our forefathers had, and to solidify the idea of hope to a generation who is entering college."

And sometimes, just because they can't take it anymore, we draw pictures of the dust bowl in class...

So that's all from Kansas.  Dust bowls and wheat fields on the way home from work and treks across a campus built on a hill.

But stay tuned, because {the ivy project} is about to return to all things urban, Ivy League, and New England in the fall.  Kansas is just going to have to wait.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, I just have to side with your students and their lack of interest in that book. My book club read it, and man, it was a bore. You'd think I would've been into it, and I WANTED to like it, but it was just one crisis after the other, forever and ever, without end. zzzzzzz. Also, I didn't read your blog for NYC thrills, I read to see what was up with YOU, so keep on writing, even from the great state of Kansas. :) xx