In my literature class today, we read the “Geology of the I” by the Lebanese poet/writer/journalist/activist/educator Joumana Haddad. It was fascinating to see how students interacted with the work. Many of them loved Haddad’s ability to simply walk us through the pieces of her life…making us relive each and every moment; others considered that it wasn’t “meaningful”…that there was no structure. Others wanted to pin it down to one or two themes which they could successfully categorize. Either way, they had an opinion to share, and I expected that!
What they didn’t see coming, though, was that in the space of a few minutes, they’d be expected to carry out a similar exercise. My students suddenly realized that they’d be going on a field trip…not too far though… just on their own campus.
Their mission was simple:
- choose a campus location
- write out its geology
Caution: the images you will see below aren’t your traditional portrayal, and definitely not what you’d find in a catalogue!
What my students came up with is a highly personalized portrayal of our own campus seen through the eyes of exhausted students at the end of a long hard day…yet students who were excited to be “doing” something as opposed to sitting in class for a lecture.
Really need to thank my incredible literature class who still manage to be alert despite the darkness beyond our windows…Enjoy the fruit of their expeditions [I just selected a few excerpts] 🙂
And for LAU students out there…do you agree with this description of your campus? What would you have done?
I am an intruder
I am masked
But, I am true
I am every feeling and every act
I am every possible scenario of every possible story
I am a place of when a boy and a girl kissed
I am the memory of what is missed
I am the best in some peoples’ lives
and the worst that some survive
I am the fixed leg of the LAU compass
At the center of our campus
I am the voice of justice
where students relax and teachers suffer
[classes on ground floor; offices on the second]
2 Mostafas sitting in the smoke, gazing at the front access of the Business Building
having a cig
What is clear is the architectural perfection that cries out the fact that the moment people are leaving the crystal-sshaped doorway
are men and women of business and future hot-shots.
It is the future and it is Manager of all managers that will crawl out to the economic world.
“The new building off the BB”
I am the future of LAU
I will stand here until I am useless
Medicine will cover me and nourish me
My roots reside here within the students spirits.
I encountered many generations and still could not graduate
for I am the open dripping condensed milk can
sticking to the hands of those who dare to touch me
the steam escaping each plastic cup.
I am the rotten white van, the ancient flat tire,
and the flickering neon light.
“The tree in the center”
I’m the soil that’s holding my roots
I’m the rocks around my soil
I’m the roots that dig through limbo
I’m mother earth who gave birth
to the breeze that flaps through my leaves.
If you enjoyed this exercise, why don’t you pick a spot near you and do the same?