the five things that i don’t like about teaching in summer. and their upsides.

1. the blinding, pit-soaking heat.

i’m really sorry if that’s too much information, but it’s the honest truth. i have to mop myself up before going to class. and that’s just with a 7 or so minute walk across campus. at 11 a.m.  i love florida summers, she says to herself.

upside: it’s training me (and my sweat glands) for august 8th, when i’ll be all decked out in satin and crinoline and hairspray, taking pictures.  at 11 a.m.

2. the blank stares of students on the first day of classes, when they stare at you as if you have the answers to all of life’s problems. or at least like they’re a tiny bit afraid of what you’ll do to them.

upside: when they laugh for the first time? it’s like a zing of success. i love watching them visibly relax when they realize that i am not in fact satan.

3. how hard it is to fill time in a 75 minute class. you can either plan for 50 minutes or you can plan for 90 minutes. i find it incredibly difficult, especially EVERY SINGLE DAY, to fill 75 minutes. i was rather surprised at how quickly i got through what i had planned for the first day. my syllabus schpeel? took like 4 minutes.  hello speed talker.

upside: i am not a clock watcher, so i go with the flow.  we’ll probably always get out a bit early. they’ll love me for that.

4. needy students with complicated questions. class hadn’t even started when i got an email from a student.  then i had two fairly complex issues to deal with straightaway after class ended.  yeesh.

upside: i am apparently approachable.  that’s not a bad thing.

5. the panic i genuinely feel when i start reading a novel and wonder how on earth i am going to find anything of substance to say. i have read jane austen’s persuasion probably at least six times, conservatively, at this point.  i know the novel backwards and forwards. i still find new and interesting things in it, but i am sometimes awash in panic that i am either going to come up with topics too mundane to suit the needs of a 3000 level literature class or too obscure to suit anyone but a phd teaching one of the novels in her dissertation.

i really do worry about this stuff.

upside: it makes me a better teacher, i suppose. and usually about the time that the panic starts to set in, the ideas start to trickle in. i’ve been scribbling them down on the title page in yellow highlighter the whole time i’ve been reading. i think it’s a hodge-podge of simplistic and profound.  i guess that’s pretty good.

at least i’m not depending on them to guide the class.  although they’re supposed to…

we’ll see how it goes.

i’m rather tired already.

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4 Responses to “the five things that i don’t like about teaching in summer. and their upsides.”

  1. so what are the books you are teaching?

    • i’m teaching persuasion, tess of the d’urbervilles, ruth, hard times, the moonstone, and wuthering heights. it should be a party. 🙂

  2. lindzml Says:

    As for getting out early? That is fabulously awesome, always. And tell the needy kids to wait, lol. The first day is rough for both students and teachers; we always feel intimidated…but it fades with time. And you’re an amazing teacher. Don’t forget that part!!!!

  3. Come down to El Sal. This is the worst heat/humidity I’ve ever seen.

    Also? You sound like a great teacher.

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