Starting to teach

So, the D-day's tomorrow (or so I think) and, as I gird up my loins (can I?) and go off to pump some iron and put on my best scary face imitation in preparation, I still haven't put up my syllabus online. Of course, I can very easily justify such a oversight by pointing out that my Blackboard site was out of commission for a while. Or, I could just say what it was that led to this dilly-dallying about the syllabus. It's that I keep on thinking (and it's obviously true) that I could do so much better with this, my first-ever syllabus.

So, what have I learnt?

1. Previous syllabi are useful depending on whose they are. The two people I asked syllabi off from, I managed to nick quite a few articles (and formats). The other syllabi I looked at, for previous TUWSNBN classes on the same subject, were quite useless. A general theme about this particular class seems to be that whoever teaches it, decides what it means. This is quite problematic because then, what's the point of this class? And, hey, should this half of PTSD, a mere cog in the gigantic web of life, be the ONE person given authority to answer this question? So far, if I'd drafted a syllabus that talked of Liverpool fans and the Beeb; or how football is a topic that can always be discussed, anytime and anywhere; or, more seriously, on the social construction of gender roles in sports films; or on monkeys and yaks, no one would have noticed. Which is rather amusing in its own way.

2. There are rooms on TUWSNBN that I've yet to find. For instance, my classroom tomorrow. I have found where it's supposed to be and yet when I went there last week, I couldn't find the room. This does not bode well for tomorrow.

3. About the syllabus, since all the other syllabi I looked at were quite different (and, yet, for the same class--isn't that scary?), I nicked some stuff off the couple that I had requested and then did the rest myself. See no. 1 for why this may not have been a great idea. Also, do yous know how long it takes to find suitable-looking (and sounding) articles for twice-weekly classes, 14 weeks of the semester? Well, if you don't, let me tell yous it's a bloody long time. And, every time I put something on the syllabus, I keep thinking there is probably something much better and much more appropriate for the topic of the day.

4. With all this time spent over syllabus development, I've not actually had time to think about what I'm going to talk to the students tomorrow. I wonder if I can get away with going over the syllabus, my expectations for class and (attempting to) learn their names?

5. So, there yous have it. E's busy for the next few days but she's got an academics-in-eyeliner post lined up. I am also supposed to be working on our joint poster for AnotherBigNameConference presentation on Friday. But, hey, there's still that bloody syllabus to finish.

I'll let yous know how the first class goes. The potential for chaos remains quite high, especially as I'm not used to American undergraduates not having gone to "school" here, yous know and working mainly with English as a Foreign Language students at the Academic Support Centre.


At 8/28/2006 7:27 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

How did it go?!?

(No, I haven't finished today's task yet. I'm stalling. Why do you ask?)


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