Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thanks for all the Fish

From McGill meme website
Yes, I begin this post with a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference.  I taught the big intro to IR class for the last time today at McGill.  I don't know when or if ever I will teach this course (as my new job will be mostly grad classes) or courses this big (again, grad classes).  As I mentioned yesterday, I actually like the big room and teaching this class quite a lot despite the transaction costs.

What did I do with the last class?  Despite the fact that I hate the Lannisters, I do pay my debts.  So, I first had to pay off Jacob Levy for a bet we made long ago about whether Quebec's Liberals would sell out the Anglophones.... well more than they had when addressing the issue of private English schools.  If I were right, my daughter would have been kicked out of her private school and Jacob would have had to teach a bit of IR to my class in the language of the Klingons (the adversary/ally of the Federation in the old/new Star Trek).  But the Quebec Liberals did not act as cravenly as I expected, so I lost--which meant lecturing to my class in French for five minutes.

How did it go?  Um?  Badly.  I had written text that I had translated into French and then posted the English on the slides so that the Anglophones and the ... Francophones could understand what the hell I was saying.  I told them about the bet, my various wagers/gambling problems, and my first day going to McGill in 2002.  Good times.  They seemed to enjoy my embarrassment, my lame-ness, and my commentary on my embarrassment and my lameness.  Whatever street/academic cred I had, gone.

Then, I had a fun time applying the IR concepts to Harry Potter.  Easy stuff that played pretty well.  I was able to talk about Harry Potter as a policy entrepreneur with his own incentives to contribute to the collective action to provide the public good of freedom from V's tyranny.  I talked about V and Harry bother illustrating the dangers involved in alliances.

Next step--thanking the Teaching Assistants for all they did.  I even showed a jib-jab video a TA made a couple of years ago, using pictures from the web to come up with Elves with the TAs' faces (and mine) dancing to X-mas music.  Silly, embarrassing--I never had better dance moves.

Finally, I thanked the students--they were terrific--this year and over the years.  I even showed them a pic--a screenshot of a facebook group that mocked me about six years ago: