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).