Friday, August 14, 2015

Returning to Onground Teaching

Yesterday my dean told me that I needed to put a class for myself into the schedule of Fall classes.  To do that, I had to look up up the ID # so that the system will code the class to me.   I realized that it's been a long time since I've taught:  6 years.

Dedicated readers of this blog will say, "Wait, you talk about teaching all the time."

That's true--but I've been teaching online classes in my free time for different area schools.  I've done that for a variety of reasons:  the money, the experience, the fear that I might lose my full-time job at any moment.

When I first got promoted to department chair, the tradition was that newly promoted chairs could take a year off teaching while they got used to the new duties.  And then when my position was restructured, our student population was so large that I didn't have to teach.

Well, those days have become these days--and to tell the truth, for over a year now, I've been expecting that I'd be needed to teach, either because somebody left suddenly or because we were migrating to the standard held by all our schools.

Some people have reacted with horror at the idea of being asked to teach.  But I don't mind.  I'm on campus 45-60 hours a week anyway--it will be good to get out of the office and back with students.

I will likely teach our advanced composition class, even though I'm not crazy about the idea of teaching MLA documentation.  At least I'll have some control--I have come to believe that the traditional approach to research and English class research papers is just wrong.  I can say with some assurance that none of our students at my full-time school are going on to be English majors.  They will not need to know how to write this way.

Sure, the traditional approach can build all sorts of other types of critical thinking and writing skills, but surely we can do something else.  I plan to see.

Months ago I came up with a plan that I plan to use for the class I will teach.  I first wrote about it in this blog post.  I plan to have students buy Jeannine Hall Gailey's Becoming the Villainess.  Months ago, I was thinking this way;

"I have this whole series of modules mapped out in my head--students interpreting a poem and discussing it as a class and then bringing the living poet in to the conversation--and from there, seeing how other artists have used the fairy tale--in song and film for example, or TV shows--and from there, having students create something with the fairy tale and/or write an analytical essay or something that involves mixed media.
I've wondered about having students write to Gailey.  I have this vision of having the students choose their favorite poem from the text and having to convince their classmates that their choice was the one we should talk to Gailey about."
But I'm not going to get too far ahead of myself.  I've been psyched before, about this approach for a different class, but not been able to proceed.  Let me see if the class gets enough enrollment before I do too much planning.


Jeannine said...

Well, I'm honored, Kristin!

Kristin said...

I hope I can pull it all together. I think it would be neat! And I'm still intrigued by the idea of a virtual poetry reading--we could read one of your books in my class, and the Creative Writing class that does poetry could explore your work, and then we could have you visit campus electronically. But let me not get ahead of myself.