I’m teaching the Survey of Blank Literature in my General Area for the first time in 4 years. I didn’t intentionally let it fall out of my rotation of courses that I teach for that long, but the time off was good. That said, with most of my classes, that much time off inspires me to do crazy shit like totally revamp the course, teaching all new texts, or doing all different assignments, or some combination of the two.
But the beauty of the survey is that it pretty much has to cover certain shit, both in terms of what they read and the assignments that evaluate what they are learning. I mean, I’ve updated the course, and I’ve found a way to get to the 21st century, which I’ve never done before, but still: the prep for the most part is done, and all I need to do is briefly review materials that I already know really well and I’m good to go. Yes, there is rereading, but that is actually sort of like putting on a comfortable sweatshirt I’ve owned since college.
Revamping one’s courses is a Good Thing, for sure, and I never want to become the professor up front who is reading off of yellow lecture notes from 20 years ago. But you know, there is something about the Tried and True that is totally excellent. Indeed, once you learn how to ride a bike, you don’t forget how to ride one, or at least that’s what I hear, not having ridden a bike since I was a teenager (and, I should probably note, I was shitty at riding a bike even when I did it with some regularity, always running into parked cars or hitting a bump and flying over the handlebars and stuff, so maybe this isn’t the best metaphor for what I’m talking about here).
My other classes are awesome, too, and I love them, and I love the work that I’m doing. But every other class I’m teaching this semester is requiring a great deal of work, work that I’ve made for myself. Sure, I think the work that I’m doing is important and necessary, but it ain’t easy teaching so much new stuff, and as the semester continues my reading and planning is only going to increase, again, because of decisions that I’ve made. Which, in theory, are good decisions, but in practice are a bit of a pain in the ass.
Only 12 more weeks to go!