I recently read a post about some hate filled mail a fellow blogger received. Reading the post got me thinking about the last month or so at work. My conclusion: there are a great many things I like about working on a college campus (and wish I could continue doing so, if that whole eating, paying bills, etc. thing wasn’t an issue). So, in the last month, I have:
1) chatted about meditation with a psychology student of unknown faith, including Buddhist, Sufi, Zen, Christian, and secular methods (for a philosophy paper).
2) discussed pirates and ISIS with a Somali Muslim student (someone else started the conversation somehow, I came in for the tail end; all parties reached the same conclusion).
3) discussed the Epic of Gilgamesh with an Ethiopian Muslim student, including the dangers of applying modern monotheistic biases to interpreting ancient polytheist stories and cultures (particularly regarding the essential nature of divinity; for a history paper).
4) worked with an Israeli Jewish student and Palestinian Muslim student back to back, with them chatting amiably between sessions (turned out they were classmates, knew each other, and worked together often in class; composition classes).
5) discussed the Iliad and Greek mythology with a Hindu doctor (MD; after looking over his philosophy paper).
6) discussed early Christian philosophy (Augustine, Aquinas) with a student of unknown faith.
7) worked with students from: various states in the U.S., China, Korea, Iran, Palestine, Israel, India, Somalia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina, Jamaica, and parts of Eastern Europe.
And before that, two of my more memorable class moments and students:
1) A Sikh student from India who was just plain awesome to talk to before and after class (upper level composition class).
2) A Christian (?) Marine vet fresh back from Afghanistan. There, he was involved in combat missions for the majority of his tour. He was also the first person in the class to speak up against disinformation regarding Islam and atheism, defending both repeatedly and respectfully (composition 1 class).