I am currently teaching an STS course to about 125 students, and they tend to get very passive. Yesterday I started out by tying the history I wanted to cover (early textile factories in the U.S.) to current issues (via the theme of technology and democracy). I asked them about some currents issues and got no response. I felt angry and realized I was feeling angry because of all my feelings about my father. And then I decided to use that anger, and I told my students in no uncertain terms that they had better care because these things are going to have a big impact on their lives. I think it was a useful rant--they certainly paid more attention the rest of the class period.
I will be going up to Concord tomorrow just for the weekend, with my daughter. I had a lot of things I needed to get done this week, but I have had all day today to work in my office and I have made good progress.