Monday, March 02, 2009

On Mobility

Or, an unexpected benefit to a broken arm.

I've been slowed down quite a bit these past weeks. A horrid missed tackle in a rugby match on January 10 has my left (non-writing) arm in a cast as you can, see wrist to armpit. At time of writing this post, it's been seven weeks and I'm soon swapping the cast for a brace (it's Removable!!! Showers!!!).

It was particularly horrid timing to be forced to move to one-handed typing, what with one hundred student comments to write and semester grades to calculate the week after I put this baby on.


But now in the new semester, I've gotten back to the joys of creative teaching. Maybe a lot of this has nothing to do with a broken arm and is a sign of getting used to my schedule. After all, I did just finish a semester of one brand new prep and the other two changed significantly from last year. I am also the only returning member of my department, and collaboration takes a long time to develop.

But one aspect of the new semester, my lesson and unit planning, has been greatly improved by the loss of one arm. I've abandoned the computer as much as possible due to how slow I am with one hand. Now I'm doing all of my plans on paper, like I did in the first years of my career. A notebook for each course, full of random scribblings, scratched out lesson plans, and highlighted to-do tasks.

My hypothesis is that now that I'm not planning on google docs I am staying much more focused on my lesson prep. My fingers can't dance away to a website to check out the answer to a random question. I can't write any of the numerous emails I remember I "need" to send. Nor can I take a short break into the quagmire that is Youtube...

It's just my brain emptied onto a blank sheet of paper. A miraculously versatile and efficient tool.

However, lest you think I am reverting to luddism (luddite-ism? is ther a word for this?), you should know that the first draft of this post was written on my cell phone as an unsent text message. Because these thoughts struck me on the walk home, a time when no pen or computer can assist.