I am blogging from LAX today and there’s nothing like travel to give me time to entertain random thoughts. So here are three random, end of the semester, travel inspired thoughts:
1. LAX replicates the city of LA. The terminals and facilities are dispersed and more or less without a clear center. Minneapolis Airport in contrast is centered around a gaudy food court and shopping mall with a nice observation deck that lets you look out and watch jets come and go. LAX (at least the various terminals that I drifted through over this 8 hour layover) makes it pretty hard to watch the plains come and go and almost always involves a trip outside of a particular terminal to find important information like departure times, gate numbers, or even places to eat and chill out on a long layover.
2. Students. I’ve been pretty lucky this semester. I had a number of students take the time to send along little notes thanking me for the semester. These are so gratifying! This semester I taught two completely revamped classes and a graduate seminar that threatened to devolve into a kind of pedagogical trench warfare. Despite the challenging semester, it was energizing to know that students enjoyed their class and learned something!
3. What I read when traveling: Harpers, Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker. I’ve traveled enough this past year to have read almost every issue of the two monthlies. I’ll also read William Gibson’s Spook Country (2007)). When I asked my Teaching Thursday readers what they planned to read over the holidays, I got one response. This either means that we faculty need to do a better job of modeling our behavior or that the readers of our blog are unlikely (for whatever reason) to read books over break.