Catch a falling star

11 07 2013

I’m pretty good at riffing, which serves me well in front of the class.

Yeah, I sometimes go off my rails, but if I have to choose in lecture between adherence to a tightly-written script and occasional glances at outlinish notes, I’ma going with the glancing, occasional off-railing be damned.

Sometimes, though—more often than off-railing—my lecture or the conversation with students will take us into questions we’d have never planned to ask and allow us glimpses into a cranny within a subject we hadn’t known was there.

I love it when that happens.

The only downside, however, is that because those questions and glimpses are unscripted, I don’t remember them. Last semester, for example, one of the students in my bioethics class responded so unexpectedly to one of my questions that all I could say at the end of that session was “Wow, I didn’t think that was how the discussion was going to go, but that was really amazing.”

So damned amazing that when I tried to reconstruct it afterwards I forgot the comment that sent us all scrambling after him.

I do try to write down those bits which arise that I think should be handed off to the next semester’s class, but often students will come up to me after class with questions or I’ve got to clear out for the next class or run to catch the train so that by the time I have the time to recall the moment I. . . don’t recall the moment.

I’ve learned to let these fallen recalls go, because a) whatcha gonna do? and b) I know there will be other moments in other classes—some of which I may just catch.

That’s my version of faith, I guess: these moments will come, as long as I let them, these moments will come.