Thursday, October 10, 2013

Polite applause

I was on sabbatical last year so didn't do any lecturing.  And this year I get to give the first year Classics 'Introduction to Ancient Philosophy' lectures in the Michaelmas term.  As the timetabling worked out, that meant that this morning at 10am I gave what was for most of the students in the room their first lecture in Cambridge.  *(In this city, weeks begin on a Thursday.  Oh yes.)  Tough gig.  I might have put them off the whole business already.  'Is this what we've gone into life-long debt for?'

There are two weird things about lecturing this early in the term to students who have just started their courses.  First of all, most of them turn up.  There were 90-odd of them there today: not a big crowd compared with what they get in Law or in the Natural Sciences, but about as big as a standard lecture audience in Classics gets.  Second, at the end of the hour, they clapped.  They weren't sure whether they should but once a few decided to clap the others joined in.  Not for long and not without any great enthusiasm, but politely enough.  It was the kind you get at the end of a slightly ropey school assembly performance.  Sort of like this, except it didn't last as long.

I wonder when they will decide not to bother any more?

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