An Observed Disaster

So my Nicaragua class was being observed today. By the new Chair. And obviously I wanted to make a good impression. I prepared my activities, my photos, my slides, everything,  and uploaded it all to Dropbox. And of course, for the first time in my life, the Dropbox didn’t sync.

Yes, I could have printed out the activities but I hate wasting paper when I can have it all on the screen instead.

So I’m standing there in front of the Chair and 39 students and realizing that the class has started and I’ve got nothing. Of course, I can speak about Nicaragua without props, but this was not a warm and fuzzy experience because I had to come up with stuff on the spot.

The Chair said that he enjoyed the class and that my voice shone through even in the absence of the props but I was still seriously rattled. And now I have to rush home to get the materials for my next class because they didn’t upload either.

I also need to calm down because I’m still rattled.

Teaching Nicaragua

Today in my Latin American conflicts course I’m teaching about Nicaragua. The Sandinistas, Somoza, the Iran – Contras thing, etc. Every time I teach the course, I check the news to see what’s happening in the country we are discussing to give students a feel for the way things are today.

So I check the news for Nicaragua, and what do you think I find? Nicaraguans are signing some shit deal with Russians, of all the fucking evildoers in the world, offering to buy Russian fighter planes. Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the region after fucking Haiti, suddenly finds itself in desperate need of Russian fighter planes, and what the fuck? At the time when every normal person on the planet spits on Russia and its threats of nuclear strikes on peaceful countries, Nicaragua welcomes Russian officials to discuss their common interests in the region? Stupid, hopeless mess of a country.

So on the wave of this joyful and light-hearted mood, the tone of my lecture begins to shift towards “Our great President Reagan did the only thing that made sense under the circumstances, worked hard to stick it to the stinky Russians, and thank him for that, the talented leader that he was.”

OK, I’m not going to say this because I don’t gush in class but I’ve got to tell you, since Russia invaded Ukraine, I can’t help but see everything that happened during the Cold War in a different way. I can’t pretend not to understand why stopping these idiots’ drive to burn up the planet does become the leading priority that trumps everything else. And back in the 1970s-1980s, the Russians were not even serious about their anti-Americanism, nuclear strikes, rejection of modernity, etc. They weren’t stopped in time, and now the have gotten serious about all this crap.

So it doesn’t look like it will be easy to remain dispassionate in class.