I started classes again yesterday, which means I'll be musing less and trying to report more about actual seminary life. Sorry to all those who were working on my potentially false views of dualism. We'll come back to that another time.
Yesterday I had New Testament: Acts to Revelation. This quarter is my first taking a "real" class: meaning that I am doing reading assignments and writing papers, instead of just memorizing a language. Which means a couple of things:
1. I am terrified because I don't remember how to write a research paper.
2. There are many more women in my class - it very well could be over half. Coming from my Greek intensive, in which only three females dared to sit (out of about 30 students), this is a change of pace.
And at least from day one, I am feeling disloyal to my sisters. The thing I learned from day one is that women talk too much. Now all you men are of course nodding your heads; this is a truth of life in general, certainly, and not simply of school. And yet, it's something of a revelation to me. For one thing, I hear how annoying I must be when I jabber on (a little self-improvement is in order), and for another, I realize that women simply aren't perfect. I know, it is a shock.
I don't know if it is because of our large numbers in the class, or because the professor is a woman, or because of some need to prove ourselves, but the girls were answering every question, asking every question, and frequently raising their hands to tell (unecessary) stories to add to the lecture. And I gotta admit, I was a little bothered by the whole thing. I mean, it is great that the women feel comfortable enough to be participating so much. But there is also a time and a place for just soaking in what the professor has to tell us instead of always adding our own thoughts to the mix. I feel like the place for that is in our papers, or in the coffee time that the prof graciously offers after class. Let's use the classtime to learn from this incredible woman!
Is it this way at other seminaries? I would love to hear from some of the other seminarians and alumni of same who read.
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Nope, not true at my seminary. The guys sometimes go on and on, respond without being called on, and crosstalk in class. In one of my classes it was so bad that some of us women complained to the prof. This dynamic is particularly frustrating for me since I went to a women's college and the rules of engagement in class were very different.
I have often found myself thinking that some students at Fuller talk way too much in class, but it hasn't been a predominately female thing at all, so I think that is interesting (and maybe the gender of your prof makes the difference). My guess is that this is not just a Fuller thing, but that seminary students in general come to seminary because they think they know it all and want to tell other people their opinions (i.e. go into ministry). I would say that this is the least satsifying aspect of seminary for me (which otherwise has been quite good): that many students seem far too arogant and lack proper respect for authority.
I can't speak comparing women and men, as in the two classes I'm taking (spiritual theology and pastoral theology) we have only one man in each class.
But I can compare the women to each other! There is one woman in both of my classes who just drives me up the wall. She talks a lot. Lots of questions. Lots of interjecting her stories into the prof's lectures. Lots of little grunts when she has a strong reaction to something someone else has said. And of course we've heard some of her stories several times. But what REALLY gets to me is how often she begins to speak and then takes ages to say anything. She starts telling a story or responding to something and then there are these pauses that seem to last forever. It's as if she is agonizing over what to say, and we all get to share her agony....
(I suspect that she's in my classes so I can work on Christian charity.)
PS. Seems to me I always thought you were at Fuller, so I had assumed you mentioned it.
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