Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Full Circle -- The Semester Begins

I started teaching my interim class today. I have a couple of students who were in my very first class at this college, who were freshmen then and who are now seniors. I can't believe they're already seniors -- I remember how nervous and shy they seemed at the beginning of the fall semester (the way freshmen often do). And now they're all poised and sophisticated, taller, and grown up.

I feel like I've come a long way in my teaching since then. I remember that class as being a very difficult one to teach: I was brand new to the college, it was a class I hadn't taught before, and on top of that, I had chosen a book that we all ended up hating. And there were even a couple of disciplinary problems thrown in for good measure (who I haven't seen since).

At the other end of the spectrum, I have had quite a few repeat students this year. A couple of them have really made their presence felt in my classes over the last year, but they probably won't be in my courses again for some time (given what I teach). I'm going to miss them. Others have taken courses with me nearly every semester for some time, and I am fully enjoying having them in class again.

I spoke a bit today about privilege and oppression. I'm always a little bit worried when I talk about issues like feminism, racism, homophobia, etc., in the classroom. I know that there are some students who automatically turn off when they hear those words. I really struggle to present the information in a way that is accessible to everyone, so that they don't turn off but instead try to engage with the materials I'm presenting. That's all I want -- for them to interact with what we're reading and talking about.

Anyway, this class looks like it will be great -- interesting students, good co-instructor, great texts. Even considering that I'm working with a syllabus that I didn't create, I'm really looking forward to it.

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