In which she comes up for air

Sorry for the infrequent posting around here.  In fact, pretty much everything has been infrequent for me of late — except course prep, that is.  The spring semester begins a week from Monday and I’ve got a new class on the docket.  For those of you who don’t teach, maybe a ‘new class’ sounds like a lark.  Oh, a fun new topic!  Endless possibilities!  Neat-o!

Well, that is true, but teaching a new class is also a sh*tload of work.  A new class means selecting an entire 16 week long syllabus worth of readings (which means reading about 2x as many readings as you end up using).  It means writing about 30 new lectures, discussion questions, a whole boatload of new quizzes and exams and review sheets…and so on.

In the past, when preparing a new class I have usually managed to get the syllabus together and perhaps the first few lectures sketched out before the semester begins.  The result is a 16 week cram session, desperately trying to get lectures and other materials prepared in advance of the next class.  Never mind grading.  Never mind writing a single word till the semester is over.  Or cleaning the apartment.  Or doing much of anything else.

So, this time around, I vowed not to let the happen.  I vowed to get a substantial portion of my prep materials done before the semester started.  So I set aside writing and blog posting and all that fun stuff for the last three weeks and knuckled down on this course.  I’ve had moderate success.  Probably a third of the course is ready to go, and I do still have a few more days to prepare before the semester starts.  So, that’s where I’ve been lately — neck deep in scholarly articles and textbook chapters and powerpoint presentations.

And that’s where I’ll be next week too…but, with any luck, it’ll pay off and the coming months will be merely busy rather than stress-inducingly insane.  Or, that’s the hope.

Wish me luck!

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