Thursday, October 26, 2006

teaching joy

So I'm teaching the university's Introduction to Astrophysics class, completely unhindered by any prior knowledge of astrophysics. (I've made up a nifty little webpage for the class, using Google's Page Creator which is sheer joy to use.) It's going well so far. I'm bribing students with chocolate (Mars and Milky Way bars, naturally) to answer questions, and they're proving to be quite responsive. (Also v. young. They're all eighteen, which means...I don't even want to think about what year they were born in.) Also keen. One of them came up to me after class today and said, "I was reading the textbook last night, and I was thinking about some stuff, and I was just wondering,..." --and I had to get him to repeat what he said next because my brain had shorted out. Students. Reading textbooks. Thinking about what they read. Asking teachers interesting questions (it turned out to be, what would happen to the orientation of the Earth if it were to stop spinning on its axis, given its current squashed shape and the pull of the Sun and the Moon?). ...I don't think I can handle this much pedagogical joy all at once.

Friday, October 13, 2006

why I love my parents, reason #329

Scene: driving in the outskirts of York, past a shop with a big sign that says "TYRES BATTERIES CLUTCHES"

me: Hey look! That shop sells ancient Mediterranean seaports.
Dad: And coastal gun emplacements.
Mom: It's a bit ambiguous, though, about whether it also sells evening purses or groups of eggs.
me: Either way, that's quite a diverse product line.