Next Thursday I start teaching again. I'm back at teaching Fundamentals of Speech, although I'm only teaching one class instead of two because I wanted to go easy this semester. The other day I decided that I should plan out the syllabus and start thinking about lesson planning. While of course it is easier to just use the same curriculum over and over again, I'm all about reinventing the wheel (and what's that I tell my students about working smarter not harder?). I suppose it's because lesson planning is probably my most favorite part of teaching. Yes, I do love the students too. But if I had to pick an afternoon of lesson planning over an afternoon of actually teaching the lesson plan...hmm...it'd be a tough choice.
Anyway, I had to get myself in the academic mode. That is, I had to work hard to fight against my natural inclination to ponder the complexities of diapers and spit-up and whether or not hot-pink onesies can be washed with light-pink onesies. Back when Sydney was born, I experienced some serious brain drain, but this time around I have something to help keep the gray matter from turning to mush: Mental Floss.
Have you heard of this magazine? You haven't?? Well, you're missing out. The mag's tagline is "Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix," and I have to say that it's totally true. I got Jason a subscription to it last year, but I confess that I enjoy reading it as much as he does. Sure, you may think that any magazine that features a regular column by Ken Jennings (he of Jeopardy fame) is way too nerdy for you, but it's not. Well, maybe it is. But still. How could I possibly not love a magazine that sells t-shirts featuring Easter Island, Pavlov's Dog, Alfred Nobel, or Lady Macbeth Hand Soap?
The magazine is the perfect blend of humor and snark and sarcasm and levity. For instance, the January-February issue has an A-Z "Where are they now?" article catching us all up to speed on hanging chads, Ken dolls, Russian nukes and Manuel Noriega (he's at the Miami Federal Correctional Institution, btw). It also has an amazing article called "13 Photographs that Changed the World." I'd buy the issue just for this article alone.
But beware: you may discover some knowledge you'd rather not know. Like a link to Foreign Policy's "Killer Product" list (which I read after consuming a bag of chocolates from Africa...boo). At least I did avoid buying/receiving gold for Christmas. Lucky me.
So, now I've revealed my inner-nerd obsession, but after doing a cover-to-cover read through of the magazine I have to tell you I whipped out an awesome syllabus, complete with this totally brilliant idea about how to approach impromptu speeches. Furthermore, I was even inspired to stay up late reading selections from The Communication Teacher.
I think not.
Of course, I also stayed up late wondering how many poopie diapers I changed that day. So, I guess it all evens out in the end.