Friday, October 4, 2002

I Love My Job

Nothing makes me feel like I do in the classroom - for hours after teaching I am enraptured and delighted with the world. Today's seminar was about last week's observation of cultural behaviour. These kids went out in groups to observe, but not interact directly with, their fellow university humans. Some went to the pub, others to the quad open space, the foodcourt, and the bus stop. Astute observers, they noticed what people wore and how they acted towards each other. But I was fascinated to see that they most often interpreted what they saw in terms of the other's psychological state or motivation. Like this: "Single people at the bus stop fidget a lot because they're embarrassed that they don't have cars, and wish they didn't have to be there." So, I have to pull them away from mental constructs and try to get them to focus on sociological categories of inquiry - like public transportation, sub-cultures, consumption, or designated waiting spaces. Things that we do, not things that we think. The best thing about sociology is that it is easy to convince 18-19 year olds that they are "naturals" of the discipline - they are already fascinated by all the people they see around them - so then your only task is to make them good at it. But most of all I love that they teach me new ways of being in the world. Next week we're working on formulating their research project questions. Yeah, I am such a geek!

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