(but at least my hair is a pretty shade of red).
PH thinks VB is full of herself, as well, and manipulating her war-time experience in her account to suit her own purposes. So my aversion to her is not all psychological. We had a long conversation about it after class. I still want to do my paper on her, though, and compare her with others (betters).
This class is really weird. It's part distance learning, there are some students in Bakersfield, some in antelope valley, and some in visilia. We have one lecture a week and online discussions. I hate this for several reasons. The online discussions are annoying. Nothing will convince me it is a suitable substitute for classroom discussion. It's a lot easy to just say things, rather than having to type them out; although you have a chance to hone your ideas, a lot of things that get said in the spirit of conversation that won't come up in this type of media. But perhaps I am bringing unfair expectations from my grad seminar, where we always had really good discussions; based on their writing the people who are in this class (many of them are at a lower level or aren't history majors... or both...) wouldn't be able to have that kind of conversation. It's all very high schoolesque and rather unsophisticated. Which presents a dilemma to mee... as part of my extra work I came up with half the questions for discussion and since I know better, I am to go in and add where I see fit and correct any problems. I think it would be a lot easier to say "you're wrong" diplomatically in a classroom where you have the benefit of tone inflection etc to emphasize that you are not being mean and the other person is not really an idiot, even if they are. I feel I have to be super-duper extra careful to pull that off in a post. I don't want to come off as a snotty know-it-all. Even if I am.
Another problem is the only one lecture... I really enjoy lecture. I think I always have, if its a subject I enjoy, so I'm feeling a bit gypped with just one per week. I could just sit and listen for hours--well almost. I spent today's whole lecture on WWI wanting to interject. It's such a pain to do that the way the class is set up, it's like a theatre. We (the students) can't really see one another and PH is way up on a platform. If you say anything you are supposed to press the microphone in front of you so the other locations can here you, and the camera zooms in on you. It turns interjecting into interrupting. Plus there is only the one jam-packed lecture, so I didn't want to bring up something PH had deliberately left out in the interest of time. In the end I only said one little piece on the white feather campaign, biting my lip many times and writing little scribbles resolving to ask about them at the end if there was time. But by the time the lecture was over and he asked for questions, everyone got busy packing up and suddenly bringing up Belgium and propaganda or the role of class conflict in women's volunteerism didn't seem such a good idea. I'm a bit sore about it since we ended twenty minutes early, despite half an hour of technical complications at the beginning of class. Of course PH said after class I should interject wherever I see fit, but WWI is really the subject I know most about so I doubt I'll be so much in this position again. Which is maybe a good thing and next time I'll have more actual questions instead of things I just want to bring up. I thought this class would be a good opportunity to learn about teaching, since I am in a lot of ways serving as a TA. And I still think so... But it would be so much better with actual discussion, and it's making me really wish I were going to a school where I could take my actual classes with other grad students or at least upper-division history students in order to engage in actual discussion. The next grad class is on early America; I don't think so. As the grad coordinator said, "that's on the wrong side of the pond" for me.
This entry is bordering on what could potentially get me in trouble, maybe I should make my blog anonymous. If you've read this far I can't believe you haven't died of boredom. All I seem to have to talk about these days is school. This doesn't bother me, though... There are other things, but I don't like writing about them before they happen as they inevitably don't come off how I planned. Of course the flip side is by the time they do happen I have been thinking about them for so long I forget to right about them. Here is one: I found an intensive Serbian language and culture program I really want to go on in summer... in Serbia. It's only 500 euro for three weeks instruction, room & board including food! Of course it costs and arm and a leg to get to Serbia... all the same, we'll see. Some other things: I went to Pilates tonight and am sure to be sore tomorrow. I've been doing some DVDs Becs got, but no one kicks my but like the 24 hour instructor. And... hm, no, I think I'll write about that later.