Thursday, January 04, 2007

Starting the spring

Spring term is starting soon, so I'm already prepping syllabi and starting to think about courses. The thing I love about spring: it's my "light" semester (when I only teach two courses). And before anyone starts complaining about a teacher not wanting to teach, believe me -- that's not me. I quite enjoy teaching. But when I teach only two classes, not only do I also get to do my creative work (which is something that I believe makes me a better teacher), but I also get to spend more quality time with my classes.

I get to spend more time grading (i.e., better critiques of creative work), and I get to spend mroe time prepping (i.e., better prepared and more able to facilitate useful discussions).

So I like the spring. The fall, when I teach three courses, is considerably more hectic (and I cannot for the life of me imagine juggling four or five courses, unless I was teaching multiple sections of the same course).

The other reason I don't like fall as much is that my chair has asked me to teach the intro course for our major. He teaches one section, and up until now, one of our lecturers was teaching the other. The thing is, I'm not opposed to teaching it -- I actually think it would a fun course. And his reasoning makes sense to me (people joining our major, or considering joining it, should be introduced to it by someone who is going to be here long term).

But the fall is already a busy time, and he's also asked me to teach the "capstone" course in the major in the spring. Two new courses in a semester of three. And there's some other personal issue coming this summer that makes the fall a bit more hectic, so between the intro course, the capstone course, and my personal stuff, I'm dreading the fall.

However, the nice thing is that these are good problems to have, it's nice to be trusted with courses that are considered important, and I still enjoy my job.

In creative news, I'm starting work on a short film in the next few weeks, to be shot here and there (not in one concentrated shoot). And I'm beginning the long process of raising money to shoot my next feature. Life continues.


At 6:44 AM, Blogger sansanity said...

i am adjunct who normally only teaches 1 class a semester but with working full time, that one class drained me as i tried to give adequate time to my class (students, preppeing and course development). People always say "but oyu taught that last semester, joust use the same stuff;" can't do it. need to try to improve. i want students to not only learn but love the subject and retain not just do it for tests/projects. i want them to absorb it into their being. or atleast i want to improve the ration of students who did well and did not feel like they were having an emotional breakdown during the course.
this semester i am teaching 2 courses. school starts tuesday and i am on syllabus revision #8.

(p.s. i wish i had the guts to go get a MFA)

At 7:02 AM, Blogger TerminalMFA said...

ha -- i can totally relate. i love what i do, but i also struggle with my own lethargy. i want to improve the course(s), but i sometimes don't want to deal with all the hassle that improvements inevitably entail. and i hate logistics and organizational stuff. if i was a tenured senior faculty member with access to my own grad student, i could very easily become one of those profs who just comes in and does his teaching and leaves the rest to other people! that's a terrible thing to confess. i don't WANT to be like that; i just have to resist my own lazy tendencies...

i also like to make improvements in courses i teach over and over simply to ward off boredom, but in mid-semester, when i'm stressed and i don't have time to write a new lecture, a little boredom would be nice.

of course, i also am much better equipped, even after only three years of teaching full time, to walk into a class with a general outline and feel confident that we'll get where we need to go (or, that we'll get close).


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