03 February 2007

Oh noes! Ancient Greeks were gay!

Cut and paste from an email to a friend on the day's events.

On Thursdays, I have a discussion period for my face to face history course (Western Civ I). Today's discussion was on the Greeks. I ask the students to point out something that excited them about the chapter and we'll talk about it. It started off mellow enough... The role of women, the development of sundials, astronomy, the pantheon of gods and heroes, the highly ritualized manner of Greek life...

And then a student asked about "Greek homosexuality."

Did I mention that I'm in a very conservative part of the country?

So, 30 minutes of the class period was taken up by discussion about the social nature of Greek homosexuality, homosexuality in the warrior culture of the Greeks, etc. That then led into the discussion about courtesans (or, as my class came to think of them, "highly educated whores"), prostitution (hey, it's the world's oldest profession), and sexuality in Greek culture in general. Do you have any idea how odd it is to be a female instructor and discuss how "who penetrates who" worked in ancient Greece?

Apparently I'm teaching an ancient cultures human sexuality course.Who knew?

We also talked about the development of the arch, the Parthenon, the Pnyx, Plato, Socrates ("I was thinking of the last words of Socrates when he said, 'I drank what?'" - they didn't get it), and all sorts of other Greek goodness.

Today's class was interesting.

I also had to correct a student's behaviour in CIS. He's trying to show a willingness to participate - unfortunately it displays as wanting to talk constantly. If he wants to do that, he should take the route I did - go teach. :) Hopefully my little chat with him didn't result in a crisis or complaint. I pointed out that it was distracting to other students and to me, and when he talks *while* I'm lecturing, it comes across as being disrespectful. That's when he said "I'm just trying to participate!" I had to explain that participating is good, but it must be tempered with proper timing. He was a little sensitive about the entire thing. The seat has not proven to be cursed... Yet. I'm still holding out hope. (That sounds so horrid, but he just keeps talking and not really contributing to the class. Something must change.)

I also had my perpetually late student come in and ask during the break "can I take the quiz?" No, you were late. "But I work!" Yes, and it wasn't hidden that the class starts at 2 pm. You made your choice on how you're approaching your education. It's not fair for me to allow you to take a late quiz when no one else is able to. *Cue slight crying* Look, come up with a solution that I can use for everyone else that missed the quiz and we'll do it this *once*. "Uh. Can I do the assignments on the web course and turn those in for the chapters?" (We're talking at least double, if not triple the work.) Sure. Go ahead. You have until Tuesday.


Sometimes I just want to shake 'em and say "look, you made your decision of what's more important, suck it up and deal with it!"


Lizze said...

The Greeks had the freedom of not being valued by Christian values and restrictions - basically that sex at the very least is naughty.

Adjunct Slave said...

Absolutely. But for the Greeks, homosexual intercourse and activity was also very social in nature. In certain ways, it was expected in a mentorship capacity (which makes me look at my advisor a bit different, and not in a "ooh, baby" kinda way).

Lizze said...

Maybe that is how the Greeks became so handsome, only the best looking were chosen by the mentors? ;)

Survival of the fittest gets whole new meaning.