Tuesday's Class I slept

September 17, 2003


Tuesday's Class

I slept terribly Monday night. I rattled around until after 1:00, the baby was up at 1:40 and again at 4:00, and I spent my time Monday grading homework rather than doing good solid class prep.

Then, on Tuesday morning, I spent office hours going over a student's rough draft with her, talking her through her writing decisions and urging her to make her points more clearly. It was a fun teaching moment and (hopefully - we will see when I get her paper) I did some good. But, I looked down and realized that class was starting in 2 minutes ... 10 minutes away from my office.

I rushed into class late and without having had a chance to finish doing prep. So, we had lecture. It is always easier for me to lecture than to lead a discussion. I had made enough notes that the lecture had some coherence - I ran in chronological order, talked about the fur trade, about Canada and New Amsterdam, about the Iroquois confederacy, the Algonquin tribes and the middle ground, about the English Civil Wars and their impact on the colonies, about Navigation Acts, about the Restoration and the Restoration colonies, about how the middle colonies compared to New England and Virginia (students did some board work here), and about the Glorious Revolution and its impact on New England.

I talked about a lot. I am afraid that the students did not get a lot out of my talk - I was moving fast, moving a little thinly, and my only narrative structure was chronology and the Stuart monarchies. I think I made my overarching point that events in the 17th-century colonies were largely determined by events in Europe, but not much else.

Thursday we talk about slavery and finish up the 17th century. It will be tricky talking about slavery without reviewing the book that they are reading for Thursday. The original plan had been for them to read Innes and Breen Myne Owne Ground, write a paper on how the black experience on Virginia's Eastern Shore changed between 1620 and 1680, and then have a class covering sugar islands, South Carolina, Virginia's transition to slavery, and the further development of American chattel slavery in the early 18th century. Now I will have to cut back on my discussion of the mid-17th century, which had been something I was going to center the class discussion on. I had planned to have the kids lay out the changes in Virginia and have the kids explain to me how and why the tobacco colonies turned from white servants to black slaves as their primary labor source.

But, the University Bookstore and Oxford University Press conspired to mess that up. The Press gave a partial shipment. I did not confirm the book count at the start of the semester. The bookstore was lax about following up their shipment. About 15 kids have been unable to get the book. Rather than give them an extension while the others turned in papers on time, I gave the entire class an extension until next week with the provisions that 1, we would NOT talk about the book on Thursday and 2, that next week's syllabus and readings will be followed - including reading a textbook chapter for Tuesday and Franklin's Autobiography for Thursday of next week.

I will work something up. With luck it will be something that is more interesting than a lecture AND that will leave them free to figure out Breen's argument for themselves rather than just spouting back whatever we would have talked about in class.

But now, I will write. If I hit the appropriate sort of roadblock I will dig into my books and notes and finish my pocket history of the SMCJ that I started below (I can't research for a blog entry while other more important things are undone .) I just wanted to get my summary of yesterday down - I do go back and re-read these as I plan for the next semester.

And so to tackle Anti-Catholicism

Posted by Red Ted at September 17, 2003 10:10 AM | TrackBack