I don’t usually feel that I need to be told not to put too much time into teaching. I mean, of course I try to prepare interesting classes and good assignments, but I don’t spend 45 minutes grading a single paper or write comments as long as the paper itself.
But I had an idea recently about using crossword puzzles to teach Middle English vocabulary. And to reinforce facts about Chaucerian texts. And since I am a word-puzzle geek (acrostics, anagrams, Boggle, crosswords, cryptics, Lexulous, Perquackey, Scrabble), I didn’t think it would be that hard to create a puzzle of my own. A fun challenge, sure.
At 2:30 a.m. last night, I finally put the graph paper down and went to bed. Not finished, oh no, never think that. I had had a whole corner done at one point, if I accepted two-letter words, but I decided I wouldn’t do that.
I got a bit farther today, having worked out some principles yesterday; it also helps, I think, to have expanded the grid a little.
But as great as I think it is to have a crossword puzzle with a Book of the Duchess theme and many of the answers in Middle English, this is the sort of thing that no one will ever appreciate or give me credit for. Students will probably think there’s a web site where professors can download puzzles based on the Chaucerian work of their choice. My colleagues will have no idea how long it takes to do this, or why anyone would want to bother. This is not a good use of my time.
You can be helped. No one has to get hurt. Put down the pencil and graph paper, and back away slowly.