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Professor Ruiz is charismatic.
FIRST 4 WEEKS
The first 4 weeks of class kind of dragged on about the political movements and many kingships - but he himself mentioned in lecture he grew bored of this, and began focusing on the cultural influences of the land.
Things got more interesting then.
HE WANTS TO MAKE SURE STUDENTS SUCCEED
- He emails weekly outlines to students (which is overly generous)
-He emails study guides for the midterm and the final so you have time to research and focus on one prompt
-without any surprises on the exams (you can't ask for more from a teacher)
KEEPING UP WITH HIS LECTURE STYLE
It can be difficult to take notes at times because he is so interested in so many things - I found making mind maps was more helpful than using a computer or outlining as he many times would jump back to topics he'd previously mentioned.
PRESENTATIONS OR 6-8 PAGE PAPER
You could do a presentation/performance that related to the class or you could read a book (which was actually interesting). Presentations were graded very lightly.
Seemed a bit much, but I suggest - don't read everything (many got away with not reading Ambulafia, or another text) because his exams and papers will only require you to read certain or one text. I suggest you focus on what he focuses on, outlines, his study guides, and you can also skim much (as it's history and not a literature course). Choose what you focus on.
ONCE HE ALMOST MADE ME MAD
He was semi-joking, I think semi-echoing the prejudice voice, but perhaps with a purpose. He mentioned that California would be nowhere without immigrants, and the labor industry they provide - later he mentioned "immigrants "they breed like rabbits." He said this, then looked at me and smiled. I felt annoyed, but thought, given his previous comments, he was just trying to bring a sense of humor. I forgave him, he loves all students interested in the material and is wiling to help all, and connects with minority students (but he does this with everyone).
I felt like saying in class though ("well, that's what they said about the Japanese and the Irish") but I held back.
WHAT MY T.A. THOUGHT
Adam Mowl thought Teo was trying to help students way too much, and felt it would be best if students were forced to ask questions on their own. I understand where Adam was coming from, but I also think that what Teo shares, as far as his thoughts, would provoke many to think about things differently.
I got a bit frustrated with his lecture style because he jumped around a lot, but when he focused, I did enjoy coming to class. he is a good person, who wants to share knowledge and make sure his students can succeed in this great, hectic, tough university.
Initially, I took this professor for the grade. Based on many friends' evaluations, Ruiz was supposedly the easiest history professor to get an A with. The first class I took, History 119C, was a tad bit awkward and peculiar. The professor seemed unorganized and enjoyed placing in anecdotes. I preferred a more conservative lecturer who taught, gave tests, etc. But admittedly, the Professor Ruiz explained that History 119C was his first and experimental class. I went away from the class feeling that he was a bit biased towards Spain (which he lectured on the most) and uninspired.
Boy, was I wrong.
When many people evaluate Ruiz, it seems as if they say that you learn about life. This was wholeheartedly so the second time I took his class, History 129, the history of Spain. I attended every lecture and I came to love this man as every week moved on. He's not only a fantastic scholar; he is just about one of the most energetic and fluid lecturers i have ever seen. Once I began to take his class more seriously and focus on what he says, I finally understood why Professor Ruiz attained such fame throughout the History department. Rather than being bland and just delivering facts into our heads, Ruiz's passion for his materials vibrate as he declares his love for works such as Don Quixote and Life is a Dream. I sat in the front row, and his dedication to history literally oozed the moment he opened his mouth. His anecdotes are filled with life stories that are both interesting and powerful. Professor Ruiz is one of those professors who you just listen to, allowing his messages to flow through your mind. At first I didn't care about Spain, but after his class, I was excited for it.
Professor Ruiz is a very liberal professor and many people taking his class should realize that the moment they step into the room. And while people criticizing him explain that he is too opinionated, think again. He loves his students alot, and it definitely shows. He takes a large portion of the lecture answering questions posed by students, and he seemingly enjoys doing that. He also spends the time outside of class shaking hands and getting to know students.
After taking his first course and giving him my in-class final, Ruiz opted to shake my hand and recite my name. I was a bit shy and thanked him. But now, if I was to ever take his class for a third time, I would definitely take more time to understand the man who not only gave me historical facts but helped me understand why it is that I want to be a historian.