Saturday, May 31, 2008

bullets of literature

  • So, hey, teaching literature! How about that? It's something I kind of know how to do!
  • Especially when the students are all, "hey, let's talk about literature!" Seriously, I have a good bunch of stus. A few of them have actually taken lit classes before, or are even majors, so there are some solid insights coming out of them, but I don't even care so much about that as about the fact that they are all well-socialized to the seminar classroom, in the best sense. They are all talking, but not too much; they listen to each other and sometimes even talk to each other! My hypothesis is that the presence of two middle-aged women, university staff working toward degrees, helps a lot with this; it's a reminder that student also =s human being, instead of just 18-22-year-old degree machine. But whatever the cause, at the end of the first week they are already meshing well together.
  • Three hours is so. long. Wow. At the end of the first class I could barely hold it together, even though we were talking about The Simpsons. Group activities and individual writing are going to be crucial for the second half of these classes.
  • Compared to teaching writing, it's so much easier to come up with lesson plans, because I know what my goals are. I'm starting to realize that a huge part of my bewilderment at teaching writing was the fact that I wasn't convinced about the stated goals of our writing program, and so I went into class with little idea of the overall point of the lesson. That and I decided it was a good idea to teach a 300-page novel.
  • Oh, and? I am trying to be very Zen about the fact that having 7 students instead of 9 might mean a $1400 pay cut. I keep telling myself that I can be disgusted and offended at the system that encourages the devaluing of academic labor to the equivalent of a per-student stipend (since, of course, we only do as much work as the total amount of students pay for!), while remaining detached in my own situation. (I can only be incredibly glad that I have other supplementary jobs that will get me through the summer comfortably.) But I am also composing a letter that I will send to the office that decides these things once I graduate detailing the ways in which I find this system horrifying.

9 comments:

Sisyphus said...

Pay cut!?!?! Yeccch!

And I hear you on not understanding/really believing the pedagogy behind writing. I'm highly dubious of "writing across the disciplines" as it's conceived of here.

JustMe said...

two things. i want to be in your simpsons class! and also, talk ,about BS, paid per student, such shit.

Sisyphus said...

Tag! You have been Awarded the Internet! It's over on my blog, come see.

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