comfortably numb (while wearing flip flops)

Further thoughts on teaching (or, more talk of a revolution)

Lesson of the day: tempting fate = bad idea.

Last Thursday: the (dress) shoes I was wearing gave me blisters. I chucked them in the rubbish and wore flip flops to class. Had a TUWSNBN professor go "OMG! You taught in those? The faux pas of teaching while wearing footwear more acceptable to the beach rather than to a classroom was apparently a big one.

Today: my sandals, which I'd had since I was in Bangkok four years ago, broke while I was walking to the Metro. While mourning the loss of the best (being the only) pair of sandals I owned, the bigger issue was the recurrence of the flip flop faux pas. If a fairly easy-going professor had been appalled, then how bad was this footwear misstep?

A quick stop at a shoe store on the way to TUWSNBN didn't help--nothing that didn't look and feel like my feet were in the footwear version of a strait-jacket. Options were down to: fix sandals or wear flip-flops again.

Obviously, I tried the first route: I ran around our department (ran being a metaphor for frantically hurried) trying to find means of fixing my sandals. After trying stapling (staples are not strong enough), gluing (need super glue, not regular glue) and taping (shoes fell apart once more when walking from office to door), it was time for option no. 2: wear the flip-flops.*

So, I did. And, in class, I asked the students how many of them had paid attention to my footwear last week** and today and what their view of instructors wearing flip flops to class was (social roles and categories). I ended with introducing the "Research tip of the week" section **. Today's "flip flop tip" was to be observant and to be aware of assumptions about social roles (what instructors wear).

I'm still not sure about this class. It's pretty intense--a lot of research styles and a lot of research jargon in a very short period of time (one semester). I keep telling them we will slow down and discuss things but, seriously, there's just no time to slow down. Today's qualitative/quantitative divide AND overview of the research designs were all materials which could easily have filled a month (or more) of classes. I told them that they will just learn to recognise different styles and to communicate research in these styles but I think there's still confusion about what research styles even are or even what a research plan is. Thursday's class is about comparisons and we're reading J.S. Mill. I am not quite sure about Mill's position in the syllabus (right after the big Qual/Quant class but before the actual "Scientific" research style section) but I wanted them to have a break in-between today's class and discussing the "scientific" research tradition. So, let's see how that goes. At least there's been no coup (yet).

* It was a good thing I still had them with me in my rucksack (leftover from Saturday's Festival experience) or else I'd be teaching in bare feet.

** I have no idea what the research tips for the next few weeks will be. Any help would be great, lovely PTSD readers!


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