Field of Science

The slumbering giant awakes

University campuses are strange beasts. They can transform from desolate ghost towns to crowded dynamos of activity almost over night. Over the holiday break the Phactor marveled at the solitude of walking home through the central quad, which today is bustling with people. It is a transformation as marvelous as watching Lee Marvin's drunken sot become Kid Shaleen, one bright moment in an otherwise forgettable movie. Uh oh, students! That means classes have started and it's time to check the schedule for teaching obligations! Yes, in exactly one hour the semester begins, and for the first time in a very long time, about 15 years, the Phactor will be teaching a new course to fill in for a colleague on leave. The subject, general plant biology, is neither difficult nor unknown, but it has been at least 35 years since last the Phactor taught this subject, and it's surprising how much work a new course actually is. It doesn't really help to have gotten class materials from a colleague once you discover that you really don't think alike at all. So now to get ready to meet the eager young faces ready to do battle with ignorance and push back the frontiers of knowledge, and just maybe figure out that plants are not just green animals.

3 comments:

Jacquelineand.... said...

From the quality of your writing, I can't imagine taking a course from you that wouldn't capture my imagination and expand my horizons.

The Phytophactor said...

How kind. Now if only all my students had imaginations and were expandable.

anerky said...

If your students are able to think of plants as chlorophyllic animals, they're probably already ahead of the game and have a decent reservoir of imagination to draw upon. I find that most people have difficulty thinking of plants as anything more than perishable furniture or landscape decoration :)

good luck!