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Late Spring To-Do List

  • Read scholarly book #1
  • Read scholarly book #2
  • Catch up on professional journals
  • Administer evaluations
  • Grade seminar research papers
  • Write two final exams
  • Grade final exams
  • Compute final grades
  • Order books for fall
  • Find apartment in New City
  • Attend INRU Commencement!

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Wait, waddaya mean I'm teaching in three weeks?

So here's the new game plan: I've finished inputting that last round of edits to Ch. 4, but I think I just have to set it aside while George Washington Boyfriend is in town. I could plan to work on it for, say, two hours a day--but really, just looking at that thing will make me cranky, and I'm optimistic enough to think that I can get the thing in final form next week.

However, it has recently been brought to my attention that I'm starting to teach in a matter of, oh, days, practically, so I'm thinking that this week might be a good time in which to finalize my syllabi and just maybe start reading the three works I'm teaching in the first month alone that I have, in fact, never read (luckily, they're short).

I really can't believe what denial I'm in about these classes, though it's been an effective way of keeping myself focused on the dissertation. In part I suppose it's because I know the semester is going to be tough, with a really steep learning curve, one way or another--so why worry about it in advance?

I'll be teaching three classes, though I'll only have two preps: a freshman comp class and two sections of one of the standard lit surveys. (English majors at Big Urban are required to take four semester-long surverys: Brit Lit I and II and Am Lit I and II. If you've been paying attention, you can probably guess which one's got my name on it.)

The comp class will be cake, except for the whole grading part; I've taught comp before, and BUU's comp classes are rigorously standardized: I've got a pre-fab syllabus, pre-fab paper assignments, and I'm going through a three-day orientation before classes start. Love this organization, people! Love it!

The survey class, however, will be a bear. I'm really excited to teach it, but, being a survey course, it's not all material with which I am deeply and intimately familiar (see above, in re: not having read three works--and there are many more that I've read . . . but not recently, or that I've never taught). I've also never taught a survey course before, and neither have I taught a class as large as THIRTY-FIVE STUDENTS. So, just the mechanics of the class are going to take some getting used to.

On the other hand, that's the advantage of being a lecturer, I guess: it means I get a practice year (or, uh, maybe more) in which I can master all these skills and get some important courses under my belt before the tenure clock starts and before my performance actually matters to anyone.

Although, of course, it still matters to me--and grad school clearly didn't do its job if I'm capable of yet greater demoralization and feelings of incompetance.

link | posted by La Lecturess at 12:44 AM |


Blogger Margo, darling commented at 12:39 PM~  

Oh Lecturess, I LOVE teaching surveys! (I loved taking them, too.) They're fast-paced and fun. During my "post-doc" at big state school (put in scare quotes because, unlike, say, a Woodrow Wilson post-doc, where one is paid huge amounts of money to research and write, this was a glorified instructorship, with a 3/3 load and little money) I was assigned at least one survey every semester, always with at least 100 students per class. I usually taught the second half of the Brit. lit. survey (going from mid-18th cent. to 1900) which I adored. Once I had to teach the 19th/20th century American survey as well. (That's what you get for being a modernist.) Yes, that's TWO surveys, two continents, two HUNDRED students, four t.a.s, one semester. Talk about baptism by fire. The classes were so big that I had to wear a body mike, a la Madonna. It made it especially fun to teach Congreve, because he plays so well big and on screen; less fun to teach Hopkins. (He's too spiritual and sincere for a body mike--the students just weren't buying it.) For my third, class--the small one, where I only had 45 students--they always had me teach something relevant to my research, such as an upper-division poetry class, or Victorian topics class, or Queer Theory. So on a typical day I went from Wordsworth to Chesnutt to Foucault.

Believe me, nothing has seemed hard since. Sadly, my current dept. chair doesn't seem to believe me when I say that, more than anything, I want to teach the 19th century British survey. Good luck getting ready. You've got the right attitude. (And, though I have been paying attention, I haven't been paying attention that long, so it isn't obvious to me which survey you would teach. Any past entries you can point me to that would help?)

Blogger La Lecturess commented at 4:07 PM~  

I'm loving the body mike! And thanks for your other words of encouragement; I know it will be tough, but frankly one of the reasons I was excited about this job was the opportunity to teach this survey.

(And given a few years, I'd love to teach one or two of the other surveys as well--partly because I have strong interests in other periods, and partly because, hey! It's like being back in school yourself to work up a new class.)

Oh, and as for the course I'm teaching--it's the one that starts with a work that was not in fact written in a language that most of us speak. (That first half of the survey? Not my period. The latter part? Mine.)

Blogger academic coach commented at 1:21 PM~  

The "I-can't-believe-it's-the-end-of-the-summer-already" blues.


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