>(Edited for clarity)
Yesterday I packed up the Christmas ornaments and disassembled the Christmas tree. That must mean today is the beginning of the new semester for Rust Belt U!
As I write, Bullock has started his first class of the day. My first class starts tomorrow — both of mine are in the exact same time slots as his but on opposite days, weirdly. It’s a good thing they don’t start until tomorrow, since I’m currently in pj bottoms and a minor league baseball t-shirt over long underwear. Nice!
Anywho, I spent the morning finishing up my review of the editor’s comments on chapter 2 of my book. 3 more chapters and the works cited to go before January 25. I was kind of hoping to power through it before the semester began, but clearly that didn’t happen. And now I have to plan for the first day of classes tomorrow. The syllabuses are written and copied, but I still have to make some short poetry handouts — because, yes, I *do* use the whole class on the first day of school! — and figure out just how much time to spend on various tasks on the first day. Every year I change what I do. In the medieval lit survey, for example, sometimes I ask students what they think of when they hear the word “medieval.” Or I put a timeline on the board. Or I just jump right into some lyric poems. In Shakespeare tomorrow, I might talk about Will’s life and times, or I might just jump right into a sonnet. In the classroom I’m often as New Historicist as I am in my work, but I’m starting to realize that sometimes students need a little bit of New Criticism first, and I’m trying to build in more close textual work, even when they’re reading stuff in translation. So it might be good for me to start there in each of my classes tomorrow and get them to start participating and doing it themselves right away.
But so far, we’re just talking about tomorrow. My subject line actually refers to what I’m “in for” for the whole semester. Last semester I had two graduate classes with a total of 25 students (though, keep in mind that that meant about 400 pages of grading at the end of the semester and a greater level of reading and other scholarly preparation on my part). This semester, I have two undergraduate courses with a total of 70 students (35 each). In one class they’ll be writing 3 medium-length papers. In another, they’ll be writing 6 2-page responses, a short paper, and a research paper with an additional proposal-and-bibliography aspect.
What have I done to myself?!!!!
Oh, and did I mention that I took on an independent study student? Or that I’m training for the Boston Marathon (on a more intense, but less time-consuming-than-usual 3 day/week schedule)? Or that it’s admissions season and I’m the Grad Director? Or that Bullock and I will have Wiley with us until April? And then there’s the little matter of my book, which I’ll be indexing myself as I review the proofs in March (thank the FSM that that’s supposed to arrive over Spring Break!).
Woo boy. By K’zoo time in May, those of you who are medievalists should expect to see a very exhausted Dr. V. But at least I won’t be giving a paper there this year and can just use it as a well-deserved fun-but-still-professional reward at the end of the term. I’m going to need it!