It has been about five years since I have seen the movie and I did not remember the details. Therefore, I watched the film during the first screening. Then, during the next two screenings, I spent time doing work in my office. Several students left class during the second and third screenings and did not watch all of the film.
I do not want to make excuses for the students who skipped out of class early, but it does occur to me that I made an error in my conduct. I should have stayed in the classroom and watched the film through all three screenings.
The Three Cabaleros is not an obvious film to show for the my two ENG 102 classes. And there is no way in which students could understand how I planned to integrate it into our lessons. As a result, students could have seen watching the film on the same level as busywork; something that just took up time without real benefit. Given that mindset, I might have been tempted to walk out, to0–which one could argue that I did.
Logically, it makes sense that I would only watch the film once on Thursday. I doubt that anyone would argue that I must watch it three times. But the issue is not watching the film. It was the fact that I should have been in the classroom with the students. In politics, we argue that bodies count; that the number bodies we can deliver to an event or the voting booth are what counts. By skipping out on the second and third showing of the film, it could be easily argues that I signaled to students that I did not care enough about the class activities to be present. Because I was not willing to put my body in the room, I could have signaled to students that their presence didn’t count either.
Regardless of the decisions I made, no students should have left the classroom before the end of the film. But, confronted with a similar situation in the future, I need to rethink my decision to not be present while a film is being shown.
I cannot remember his exact words, but one of my students essentially asked if I was OK. He was concerned because I seemed more stressed than I was last semester. As I thought about it, he is right. I have been working especially hard and I am feeling stressed. It is time to take a bit of time off; to get a bit more balance.