New blog alert
No, not another new blog from me. This one comes to you courtesy of my forever-TA Justin Snook. He’s leaving his Xanga behind along with his legendary undergraduate career, and has launched 1 Eye At A Time at Blogspot. The concept comes from Han Shaogong’s novel of the Cultural Revolution A Dictionary of Maqiao, which is arranged in sections corresponding to words, their definitions and their connotations. I got so excited when Justin explained the idea to me that he made me a gift of the novel, which I can’t wait to read.
Justin and I have been together for three semesters as an instructional team. He’s a historian, I’m a theologian. He’s an atheist convert, I’m a resurgent believer. He’s organized, I’m a mess. He’s indifferent to the mass of popular culture, while I’m a voracious consumer of all media. That’s made us the perfect team to teach sophomores about Christianity, film, and writing criticism. The one semester I reluctantly allowed him to assist one of my colleagues, I had to team up with another professor to teach a class — that’s the only way I could replace him. I’m glad he came back to me, is all I can say — why anybody would after getting a taste of the greener grass, I can’t imagine.
In a couple of months I’m going to have the unutterable honor of presiding at his wedding to another former student, a brilliant woman and future doctor who is his perfect match. Justin hasn’t needed me as a teacher for a long time. He’s a mature scholar and a grounded human being. For some reason he chooses to let me continue to be involved in his life, and I’m so grateful — he’s given me more, I’m sure, than I’ve been able to give him.
We’ve had plenty of talks in recent months about what he’s going to do with his life. He was wavering between going for a teaching certificate and moving on to graduate school. I imagine that the life of academia is ultimately where he belongs, but I must admit that I cherish the thought of him teaching high school history. I picture those couple of oddball students in his classes every year who get totally turned on by Justin’s picture of what history can show them that they can’t see any other way. And I believe those kids will eventually show up in my classroom, if Justin stays in Arkansas to teach. And I want those kids — because they’ll be my teaching assistants in six or seven years.
If they’re anything like Justin, they’ll make my classes and my life better than I deserve. My colleague, my friend — thanks for all you’ve done for me.