Keener Guy

I’ve been to 2 out of my 3 regular classes so far (1 class will be a week long affair in October, and the other class is distance learning) and so far so good.

Theological Foundations 1 looks like it will be an engaging course with lots of discussion.  I raised my hand often enough in class to get a “We’ll get to your question in a bit” from the professor (we didn’t get to it).  After class I jokingly asked him if I could lose marks for talking too much in class.  He said I wouldn’t, but that other students need to be given a chance (he didn’t say it rudely–his answer was just fair and direct).  I immediately regretted asking the question, as the joke probably didn’t come across as intended and, instead, sounded more like a sarcastic remark.  Ah, the travails of meeting professors for the first time–feeling nervous, wanting to impress them, the inevitable and immediate regret at having said what you just said.  Good times.

I also suggested that the author of a letter to the editor published in the Winnipeg Free Press, which we discussed in class and to which the professor had written a response, had, in fact, filched the letter verbatim from Richard Dawkins.  I’m not sure if this was helpful or interesting at all to the professor, especially given the fact that he had already submitted his response for publication.

Introductory Hebrew 1 looks like it will be a good class, too, and perhaps not as intense as I had imagined.  The subject matter will take a lot of work to master, but at this stage at least learning a new language is fun.  It turns out that all the work I did yesterday–memorizing the Hebrew alphabet (consonants), the final forms, the gutturals, the begadkephat letters and completing lesson 1 in the workbook–was unnecessary, as we were introduced to that material in today’s class and the assignment (workbook) is not due until the next class.  (I guess it can’t hurt to learn the material before class and then use the class as a review and question time.)

The problem is that all of this–the talking, the bad joke-making, the cross-referencing to Richard Dawkins, the over-preparedness for class–is that it makes me seem like a keener.  Keener Guy.  I don’t want to be that guy.  I want to do well and I want to be prepared for class, but I don’t want to be the annoying know-it-all who won’t shut up.

Christian Ethics‘ first class is on Monday and it is taught by the same professor as Theological Foundations 1, so I’ll have another crack at a more reserved, quietly intelligent approach.

It remains to be seen whether the 4-class plus the Briercrest course schedule will be too much.  Hebrew has the potential, if I let it, to consume all of my time, but the other classes aren’t too bad.  I have no major research papers, other than the one for the Briercrest course.  Unusually, September and early October seem to be the big hurdle to overcome:  I have a critical book review on William Placher’s Narratives of a Vulnerable God due on September 28; a critical book review of John Howard Yoder’s The Politics of Jesus due on September 30; three other books, plus a paper and assignment must be completed by October 5 for the week-long intensive; and then, almost immediately following the week-long intensive, my Briercrest course is to be completed, which means I have a 15-page research paper, plus a Greek terminology assignment to do before then.  This is all interspersed with Hebrew quizzes.

Now, I’m looking forward to all of these readings and studies.  But will I survive?

If I get to October 13 (a month from Sunday) successfully the rest of the semester will feel like a breeze (pray for me).

7 thoughts on “Keener Guy

  1. Andrew

    I checked out your syllabus for your Theo. Foundations course. I see your prof has a fascination with ‘letters to the editor’.

    I have the book “The Doors of the Sea”. Cool choice, and a great book. I loved it. I’ll be interested in discussing it with you once you read it.

  2. Marc

    You’re right, Toni. I just haven’t figured out how that dynamic works. We had one of my high school teachers over for supper last night. We had a great time and she’s been a friend significantly longer than she was my teacher, but for some reason my inclination is still to call her “Miss Thisisherlastname”, even though I’ve been calling her by her first name for years.

    All that to say that I’ve never quite figured out the student-teacher (or someone who is significantly older than me) friendship boundary. Of course, at the masters level, that boundary starts to disappear, if it exists at all. It helps, too, that at my age some of my professors won’t be much older than I am–possibly even younger.

    Yesterday at lunch I was sitting in a common room doing some work and one of my professors sat down with me and had her lunch and made conversation. That impressed me.

  3. Linea

    It is awkward trying to balance between familiarity and respect for a prof. In class it would always be safe to use the prof’s title as the means of address. That is the equivalent to how Leo described how he would like to be addressed to someone. He said he is “Leo” when addressed socially. But if you are in his office with your pants down and he is looking at your ass, please address him as Dr. It sets an important boundary. I think the use of title in class with a professor would be a similar situation even if socially they prefer you to call them by their first name.

  4. Marc

    I’m inclined to agree with you, Linea. However, the two profs I have for my 3 regular classes have both said that we are welcome to call them by their first name. Now this leaves the option to refer to them either professionally or personally and I’m not sure which approach I’ll take.

  5. Randall

    Brings back fond memories of good relationships and great times.

    One of my profs in college lived in the trailer two down from us. We were both pre kids but they were older than us, living on a small salary the school could afford.

    We used to get together Sunday evenings and play a game or two and talk and visit the evening away. They introduced us to the simple pleasures of cinnamon and brown sugar on toast and we would save up some cash and introduce them to the joys of fruit and chocolate fondue.

    Then Monday morning in class.

    Just simple life really.
    I miss simple living like that.

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