Last week when I was out of town I didn't spend one nanosecond worrying about my classes because I knew I'd left them in capable hands--and sure enough, they did what they needed to do and did it well. This morning I've been grading quizzes and interpretive maps and fielding a few last-minute questions about exams and papers, but mostly I'm seeing students demonstrate that they learned the things they needed to learn despite (or perhaps because of) my absence.
It's true that the postcolonial class hated the film they had to watch, but that's not surprising. I'd be concerned if they didn't find Once Were Warriors disturbing, what with the poverty, drinking, fighting, domestic violence, rape, suicide, and wholesale cultural marginalization. It's supposed to be a disturbing film because it depicts a disturbing reality--so much so that when it first aired, many viewers recognized their own lives reflected on the screen. Now that's disturbing!
Now my students have the chance to show what they've been learning: I'm giving two final exams today and one tomorrow afternoon and collecting final papers in the film class tomorrow morning. My brain still seems to be working in slow motion, but maybe it'll get up to speed once I get back into the grading groove. Meanwhile, there's chocolate. I brought some for my students who have to take long final exams at odd hours like 3:00 to 5:30, but it won't hurt if I have just one piece, right? (Or maybe two.)