I'm going to be in Boston for a conference in the fall of 2012. Looking forward to the visit. But I don't have to wait to connect with some folks in the city. I'm going to do that tomorrow via Skype, thanks to an alert and nimble teacher who asked me to visit his class.
Steven Berbeco teaches history and Arabic at the Charlestown School (his Arabic classes were featured on NPR's Day to Day back in 2006). When he decided to show his kids Walter Salles' film Central Station as part of a unit on Brazil, he went to the web to find some texts to supplement their viewing. He found my 2001 article "Faith and the Absent Savior in Central Station," and thought it was accessible enough to give to his kids -- less as a way to enrich the information about Brazil than as an example of analytic academic writing. In that vein he's asked me to Skype into two classes early Monday morning to chat with the students about how I approached the movie and generated an argument about its meaning.
I have to get up an hour earlier than usual to make the date -- Berbeco's first class meets at 7:30 am Eastern time, and I'm going to join them at 7:00 am my time, thirty minutes later. But it's a happy obligation. I'm impressed with their teacher's initiative and energy, and excited that I can be present in their class across the miles.