Thursday, January 19, 2006

Why Is It That "Short Weeks" Always Seem to Take Forever?

Can you believe it's only THURSDAY? I've got to teach in 20 minutes. I'm all prepped and ready to go. I suppose I could do something revolutionary and assign groups for their group work or something, but as that will take but five minutes, I'm writing a blog post.

I've been doing a lot more planned group work so far this semester. It has something to do with wanting to make sure that they are doing more of the talking in my classes - something I knew I'd want to do before I read those stinkin' evaluations from last semester - and it seems to be having the desired effect. Also, I really think that only having three classes to teach and two preps has really enhanced my teaching. The reality is this: I feel like I have the time to be a good teacher this semester, and normally, well, not only do I not feel like I have the time I literally don't have the time. My job would be absolutely perfect if I had a 3/3 load with two preps per semester but if - and only if - extra bullshit requirements were not thrown in on top of that teaching load. See, that's the problem with thinking that the grass is greener elsewhere: the teaching load grass may be greener, but the research requirements and/or service requirements always seem infinitely more horrible than what I've got going in my current position.

In other news (which isn't news) I forgot to eat breakfast this morning and I'm starving. That really sucks.

Hmmm... what else. Yes, I don't feel like teaching this morning. I want the week to be over. And tomorrow is going to be a long and stupid day because we've got a candidate coming to be interviewed. Why on Friday? WHY? (And another one is coming next Friday. Which is supposed to be a day when I leave this place by 11 AM. Grrrr.)

Ok, only 10 minutes before I've got to gather myself together for the teaching. Today we're doing Raymond Carver's short story "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." I love this story, and I've not taught it in years. I'm interested to see what they do with it. (Incidentally, a few of the girls in this class confessed that they don't like stories that are "depressing" - this after doing Atwood's "Happy Endings" last class, which I think is funny, albeit in a dark kind of way. This reminds me again that I tend to teach things that are depressing or just weird. Why would anybody want to read things that were just shiny and happy? I don't get it. Which I suppose is something that I'll explore further in the why I can't do the self-affirming posts without apologizing for them post that will be upcoming when I procrastinate later about grading.)


Axis of Peter said...

Well, on the "depressing" accusation, I imagine every lit teacher who does any kind of loweer division course has heard this so many times that now it simply ricochets off our horny scales. Is there really any shiny happy literature? Maybe some narrative...which is pretty much why I couldn't stand Ben Franklin's autobiography... some poetry which works pretty well....About all I can think of.

The easy answer is that literature is great because it helps you with the hard stuff. The easy stuff takes care of itself. I've also found this reaction when I teach things that I find incredibly life-affirming, like "Sonny's Blues," just about my favorite all-time story, or Love Medicine....

You know, now I think of it, this is why I really found myself disliking The Bean Trees so intensely and have not read another Kingsolver, though that violates my first-novel forgiveness policy. Too bloody smarmy.

Terminaldegree said...

My students are always more tired after a three day weekend. My hunch is that they sleep in all weekend and then have "jet lag" when they have to return to their normal schedules. They have all come in to my studio yawning and SLOW. And that sucks the energy right out of me. (Sigh.)

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Well, as a big fan of Hardy, I can't complain so much about the depressing.

Cats & Dogma said...

We teach the weird and cool stuff because otherwise, we'd have to teach the boring and bad stuff. Like Nicholas Sparks. Just contemplate that for a moment.

If your students really complain about depressing, give them some Samuel Beckett. Try, for example, "Krapp's Last Tape," or take them at their word and give them "Happy Days." That'll shut 'em up.

And by the by, the Atwood is damn funny. I adore it.

Dr. Crazy said...

Teehee - we're doing Krapp's Last Tape next week. Nope, I'm not kidding.

At any rate, I had them do some group work today and I think that was a good route to go toward getting them to see the various layers of the story, and I think that they're pretty into it. I'm also glad that I left two days for the story. I'm one for getting through texts quickly, generally, but we've barely scratched the surface with the Carver because of my letting them have some time to process, so carrying over until next week will be a good thing, I think.

Can I just say, I love teaching Intro to Lit? It's seriously my favorite class that I teach at this university. Yes, more favorite than any upper-division thing I do.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

I LOVE Raymond Carver, especially that story. I remember we went through the whole thing in my creative writing class (sad to say, I think I learned more about analyzing lit from my creative writing prof than in lit classes - but then, I only took two, because one was the Intro to Lit at my school and it was REALLY BAD) (nothing like yours, I'm sure, Dr. C!).