Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Learning? (Guffaw)

As a new teacher, I've been warned several times not to devote too much time to class preparation. Don't obsess about it, they say, don't grade papers too meticulously, remember to save time for your own work.

You know what? Not a problem. First of all, I'm positively wallowing in the immense amounts of unscheduled time I have now that I'm taking only one seminar. Unfortunately, lately this time has been devoted to my stressing out about delineating a "field of study" for an end-of-year exam. How can I possibly do such a thing when I haven't read all of the major works of Western philosophy yet? I'd say this question was facetious, except I did spend several hours today looking up call numbers, checking out library books or ordering them from Amazon; not all are maj. works of W. phil., but there's enough material in there to keep my panic level more or less constant.

Also, given that the writing program here promotes a pedagogy that focuses on group work and peer review, I've been finding it hard to believe that my students will actually learn anything this semester (ssh! don't tell them!). Intellectually, I know it's a reaction to having less control over their every response than I've had in previous situations where I've taught more specific material, or more or less had lessons already written for me. But there's a persistent feeling that if my students improve over the course of the semester, it will be because of some sort of magic - nothing to do with me, I'm just the taskmaster.

technorati tag:

1 comment:

SK said...

Hi from China!
mostly I just wanted to say that. I just spent last night taking care of a drunk girl and I'm sick so I'm very much in the reaching-out-to-loved-ones kind of mood.

But teaching-wise, you might be surprised - all some people need sometimes is practice and someone to make that happen. And PS it's probably just as much about you learning to teach as it is about them learning to write. Do you have super professional-looking outfits to go with your briefcase, or are you being the cool teacher?

anyway. I'm going to go mope around and be cold-y some more.

Love you!