Spatial Studies

Lucerne Valley College accepted Dimpy’s proposal to teach a course in Spatial Studies, whose title had come to her during a meditation. They agreed in principle to three ten-week terms, teaching two different classes weekly. These two days a week would fill the ones she was losing as a result of The Authority’s new accounting system, making her a cost rather than an asset to the museum. She couldn’t help feeling that there was also a vendetta at play between herself and the Board of Trustees. They wanted her out.

Having to support her one-year-old daughter Tasha by herself meant there was no time to feel sorry for herself. She had to take action. She had committed to presenting the Spatial Studies course and had better now think of a lesson plan.

“It’s the study of space,” she’d told the college administrator. “A multi-sensory approach to the element that surrounds and defines all material objects. I’m sure you know that the universe’s building blocks are 99.9% empty space.”

“Of course,” he’d said. “Yes, it sounds like a wonderful course.”

Teaching the course though was a different matter. She would have to convince the students.

She had a bright idea – maybe that was the answer: to ask the students. See what they wanted to learn; explore gaps in their knowledge. There was plenty of information out there on the internet, on TV, in book stores, and on cell phones. What was lacking was cohesion and integration. Maybe that was the space she should explore with students. What they had right now was a ladder with missing rungs, through which to fall, and possibly even missing rails, meaning never climbing at all.

The turnout for the first class was good: thirty students. She only needed fifteen to make it viable for the college. The administrator introduced her. “This is Miss Dimples Kashi who will be teaching this course in Spatial Studies. It will cover a wide range of disciplines and set you thinking, and may sometimes give you a headache. So keep your thinking caps on! Miss Kashi, they’re all yours.”

“Okay, class, who can define space for me?”

No hand went up. She pointed to a boy at the back. “Hello, what’s your name? Tom? Okay, Tom, what’s your understanding of space?”

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“Excuse me? This is a class in Spatial Studies, the study of space.”

“The study of space? Like outer space?”

“No, it’s broader than that.”

Another boy said, “I thought it was Special Studies. I thought it would be easy; that’s why I came.”

There was a chorus of “Me too.”

A girl said, “I thought it was something like Physical Ed.”

More calls of “Me too.”

Oh dear, thought Dimpy. Maybe her lesson plan of limited dimensions, infinite extents, and linguistic and mathematical gaps must wait; as for theories and practice, objective and subjective views, symbols and archetypes, and the concept of a room in which to do all these things – those must wait too.

The bell rang, and shoes shuffled immediately. Bags were snatched and students arose. She called out, “Your homework is to remember your homework.”

They stopped and looked at her. She’d created a small space.

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