Final Class Poem   The Five Spot by Billy Collins 

In my final class, at least for the next year as I move on to a be a writing fellow at Baruch, I talked with my students about how I hoped that rather than remember any particular facts about research methods – that they had developed a new perspective on how to approach research articles and research presented in the popular press.

On the bus ride to class I’d been reading a recent issue of The Atlantic on The Confidence GapI thought the article quite relevant as 19//20 of the students in my course were women – many of whom were quite nervous about presenting their final projects .  I questioned if they thought a confidence gap existed between genders and if this gap might contribute to differences in pay? Or perhaps the confidence gap was a symptom of other systemic factors at play?

My hope is that after working through the research methods course my students will be equipped to  grapple with, deconstruct and then take a position in relation to the research presented in The Confidence Gap and in other relevant issues and articles.

I concluded the class by reading an excerpt from a poem featured in the same Atlantic issue, The Five Spot by Billy Collins. Ever since Questions about Angels was high school’s required summer reading I’ve had negative associations with Collins, but The Five Spot seemed to speak to an element of the course and hopefully to how students might think about issues in the world as they move on with their lives. The poem summarized my hopes for myself and my students better than I could in clumsy social science terms.  And as in class instead of trying to summarize these thoughts and emotions I’ll let the poet do this work…so direct from my fridge here it is:


The Five Spot by Billy Collins