For me, the first week of school is pretty easy. This is because we sit around and talk about what the students want to get out of the class and generally catch up or get to know one another. The big crunch is this weekend when I have to coalesce all this information and plan the next 14 weeks of classes. (Thank god for templates.)
I have a good schedule in the financial sense, but the fact that I have to leave the house at quarter to six on Tuesday and Thursday is regrettable. And by regrettable, I mean suicide inducing. True, I am a morning person, but not really the pre-dawn kind.
Yesterday was the first test of the new before dawn routine and true to form, I tossed and turned the night before unable to sleep. I arrived bleary-eyed (what does that mean really? I'll go look. Okay, it means dull or dim relating to sight.) Two of the students were on vacation, so I had a private class with Khalil. We had a good long talk about the Middle East conflict and then we talked more about religion in general. My job is to get the students talking, it is not to argue points of view with the students. It was very difficult to hold my tongue at a couple of points:
Q: Hey what do you think about that story in the paper today about the five guys who were decapitated in Saudi Arabia for possession of hashish? Don't you think that's a harsh punishment when there isn't a victim?
A: I don't see anything particularly wrong about it. You know if you have a rotton tomato and you put it into the bag of good tomatoes, they all go bad.
Q: If all religions preach against killing, why do you think people kill others in the name of religion?
A: God says we must protect life and religion, because without life there can be no religion and vice versa. When either one is threatened, God says we must do what is just. (read: blow people up)
He went on to allude to the idea that anyone who isn't Muslim isn't really alive because life is pointless without Islam. The funny thing is that this guy is a warm caring funny individual who adores his wife and son. Also funny is that I am much more tolerant of this kind of fundamentalist talk than if it came from a Bible thumper. Still, it was all I could do not to roll my eyes when he said "God says...".