tempestsarekind: (rosalind and celia)
So I'm pretty sure my current plan for section this week is a thinly veiled version of "I ♥ Rosalind and Celia." But oh well.
tempestsarekind: (rosalind and celia)
So I'm pretty sure my current plan for section this week is a thinly veiled version of "I ♥ Rosalind and Celia." But oh well.

dear self

Oct. 17th, 2008 01:52 pm
tempestsarekind: (bored history boys)
The next time you teach Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, please do not start rambling on about the green children, for no reason other than that you've always had a soft spot for the story.

I suppose I should be thankful that I didn't put "It's not easy being green" as the title of my handout, at least.

Ugh. Failiness, thy name is me.
tempestsarekind: (martha at the globe)
Whenever I get an email from a student who needs/wants to switch into another section, a little voice in my head goes, "And then I could get sectioned!"

This post also occasioned by the fact that I really don't want to teach today.
tempestsarekind: (martha at the globe)
Whenever I get an email from a student who needs/wants to switch into another section, a little voice in my head goes, "And then I could get sectioned!"

This post also occasioned by the fact that I really don't want to teach today.
tempestsarekind: (free radicals and tannins)
--If I ever become a professor (and I hear the snickering from here), remind me not to make all the papers on one poem. Because trying to read them will drive me slowly insane. (It's not even a poem I *like*, which is particularly annoying. Hey, I didn't choose it.)

--I feel no ownership over anything that happens in the classes I've taught for, which does, I think, make it particularly difficult to grade papers. There must be ways for me to integrate the papers more closely with what we do in section, if not what goes on in lecture, but I always feel like the paper gets dropped into the semester unexpectedly and all of a sudden. This is probably related to the fact that I always feel like I'm flailing when it comes to teaching ("teaching"), playing catch-up with the lectures, and basically just trying to keep the students from mutinying in boredom for an hour. I haven't learned/figured out how to make one section meeting build on the last one--particularly not in a way that would help students with their papers. I wonder if this would be different if I were responsible for structuring the class. At least then I suppose I would be able to think about what kinds of skills I wanted to integrate into the classroom at the outset. But I probably wouldn't be able to impart those skills anyway.

--Because of this, I often feel like I'm grading students based on what they already know how to do, rather than what they've learned to do or been taught to do. I have attempted to do "paper-writing sessions" on occasion, but (like most things where I am involved) they haven't gone very well, and I have yet to figure out why. Maybe you just need a certain type of personality to get anything done in the classroom, paper-writing sessions included, and I just don't have it. I have the type of personality that earns me a lot of blank looks, and a lot of comments to the effect that my questions "aren't really answerable," except when they're totally leading.

--Really, it all boils down to the fact that I just wish I could learn *how* to teach. I'm still not sure what the goal of discussion sections is, anyway (and even the advice in the teaching handbook is totally contradictory), but it doesn't help that I don't know what I'm doing. My tendency is to be hands-off, letting students explore their own interests, because that's how I work best. That hasn't worked, clearly, but I don't know *how* to be hands-on in any way that isn't stifling and micro-managing.

--And we might as well end with a rousing chorus of "Maybe I'm just not cut out for this," since that's how I've felt since I got to grad school. I had hoped that maybe I would discover some predilection toward teaching, since I was clearly crap at the research side of things, but that has most definitely not been the case. I had a week or so when it looked like my class last term was going okay, but that was clearly a week or so in which I shouldn't have bothered to indulge in hope.
tempestsarekind: (free radicals and tannins)
--If I ever become a professor (and I hear the snickering from here), remind me not to make all the papers on one poem. Because trying to read them will drive me slowly insane. (It's not even a poem I *like*, which is particularly annoying. Hey, I didn't choose it.)

--I feel no ownership over anything that happens in the classes I've taught for, which does, I think, make it particularly difficult to grade papers. There must be ways for me to integrate the papers more closely with what we do in section, if not what goes on in lecture, but I always feel like the paper gets dropped into the semester unexpectedly and all of a sudden. This is probably related to the fact that I always feel like I'm flailing when it comes to teaching ("teaching"), playing catch-up with the lectures, and basically just trying to keep the students from mutinying in boredom for an hour. I haven't learned/figured out how to make one section meeting build on the last one--particularly not in a way that would help students with their papers. I wonder if this would be different if I were responsible for structuring the class. At least then I suppose I would be able to think about what kinds of skills I wanted to integrate into the classroom at the outset. But I probably wouldn't be able to impart those skills anyway.

--Because of this, I often feel like I'm grading students based on what they already know how to do, rather than what they've learned to do or been taught to do. I have attempted to do "paper-writing sessions" on occasion, but (like most things where I am involved) they haven't gone very well, and I have yet to figure out why. Maybe you just need a certain type of personality to get anything done in the classroom, paper-writing sessions included, and I just don't have it. I have the type of personality that earns me a lot of blank looks, and a lot of comments to the effect that my questions "aren't really answerable," except when they're totally leading.

--Really, it all boils down to the fact that I just wish I could learn *how* to teach. I'm still not sure what the goal of discussion sections is, anyway (and even the advice in the teaching handbook is totally contradictory), but it doesn't help that I don't know what I'm doing. My tendency is to be hands-off, letting students explore their own interests, because that's how I work best. That hasn't worked, clearly, but I don't know *how* to be hands-on in any way that isn't stifling and micro-managing.

--And we might as well end with a rousing chorus of "Maybe I'm just not cut out for this," since that's how I've felt since I got to grad school. I had hoped that maybe I would discover some predilection toward teaching, since I was clearly crap at the research side of things, but that has most definitely not been the case. I had a week or so when it looked like my class last term was going okay, but that was clearly a week or so in which I shouldn't have bothered to indulge in hope.
tempestsarekind: (globe)
Taught Macbeth today. One section went well; the other section, I think, gave up on school about two weeks ago.

But really all I have to say about this play right now (before I go cloister myself in the library for some more frantic reading, or at the least some more frantically attempting to stay awake--I am so tired) is that when I hear or read the phrase "milk of human kindness," my first thought is never Macbeth, even when I am *reading* Macbeth. No, it's always Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady.
tempestsarekind: (globe)
Taught Macbeth today. One section went well; the other section, I think, gave up on school about two weeks ago.

But really all I have to say about this play right now (before I go cloister myself in the library for some more frantic reading, or at the least some more frantically attempting to stay awake--I am so tired) is that when I hear or read the phrase "milk of human kindness," my first thought is never Macbeth, even when I am *reading* Macbeth. No, it's always Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady.
tempestsarekind: (globe)
Argh. I have to teach King Lear tomorrow. Not looking forward to this. This is my third go-round with this play, and the first two were Not Good. I think a large part of the problem is that my students really want me to tell them what it all *means*, they want to have sorted the play out by the end of the hour, and of course I can't do that--not with any Shakespeare play, or any work of literature worth studying, but particularly not with King Lear, which is so...diffuse, I guess.

I didn't ask my students to think about gender this time, because they were so not having it the last time (which is not to say that I won't wind up *talking* about it), but I did ask them to think about the body and authority and service. Fingers crossed. If I can pick a specific scene to focus on, we might yet get somewhere...

In other (yet related news) I'm grumpy and poor (always, but the rent's due) and tired (way too much reading left on my fields list). Why did I decide on this grad school thing again?
tempestsarekind: (globe)
Argh. I have to teach King Lear tomorrow. Not looking forward to this. This is my third go-round with this play, and the first two were Not Good. I think a large part of the problem is that my students really want me to tell them what it all *means*, they want to have sorted the play out by the end of the hour, and of course I can't do that--not with any Shakespeare play, or any work of literature worth studying, but particularly not with King Lear, which is so...diffuse, I guess.

I didn't ask my students to think about gender this time, because they were so not having it the last time (which is not to say that I won't wind up *talking* about it), but I did ask them to think about the body and authority and service. Fingers crossed. If I can pick a specific scene to focus on, we might yet get somewhere...

In other (yet related news) I'm grumpy and poor (always, but the rent's due) and tired (way too much reading left on my fields list). Why did I decide on this grad school thing again?
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
I have a really hard time reading or watching things about the plague. (When my friend and I went to the Museum of London in August, we were practically the only people who didn't stop to watch the video about the Black Death.)

I feel as though this will prove to be a real detriment to my career.

The reason this came up is that I'm trying to find some interesting angles into R&J for the week, and I thought it might be useful to make it clearer that plague is a real threat, not just a contrivance to make the Friar's letter go awry (especially for students who've grown up on Baz Luhrmann's film, where the letter gets delayed because Romeo apparently cannot take time out of his punishing schedule of hitting rocks with a stick to notice that someone's just walked up to his trailer, even though he's so eager for news from Verona that he practically tackles Balthazar later). But I'm having a hard time doing the appropriate reading--trying to find some contemporary passage about the disease without making myself feel ill and sad.

It's either this or sonnets. Either way, I'm just not looking forward to teaching. Even I am bored by my own ideas. Even the idea of having to take attendance on Friday is making me slightly nauseated. This is bad. How did I get so scared of teaching in just one year?
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
I have a really hard time reading or watching things about the plague. (When my friend and I went to the Museum of London in August, we were practically the only people who didn't stop to watch the video about the Black Death.)

I feel as though this will prove to be a real detriment to my career.

The reason this came up is that I'm trying to find some interesting angles into R&J for the week, and I thought it might be useful to make it clearer that plague is a real threat, not just a contrivance to make the Friar's letter go awry (especially for students who've grown up on Baz Luhrmann's film, where the letter gets delayed because Romeo apparently cannot take time out of his punishing schedule of hitting rocks with a stick to notice that someone's just walked up to his trailer, even though he's so eager for news from Verona that he practically tackles Balthazar later). But I'm having a hard time doing the appropriate reading--trying to find some contemporary passage about the disease without making myself feel ill and sad.

It's either this or sonnets. Either way, I'm just not looking forward to teaching. Even I am bored by my own ideas. Even the idea of having to take attendance on Friday is making me slightly nauseated. This is bad. How did I get so scared of teaching in just one year?
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
A phone conversation I had today:

My best friend: So when's your first day of teaching?
Me: (heavy sigh) Friday.
MBF: So you've got a whole week to stew over it, huh?

...Yeah, that sums it up. I fell asleep earlier today while doing some reading and had this almost-nightmare about having signed up to be in a production of R&J without knowing that it had been made into a musical with dance numbers, and the show was in two days. Plus I had been cast as Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet is, of course, the first play we're teaching.

*sigh*
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
A phone conversation I had today:

My best friend: So when's your first day of teaching?
Me: (heavy sigh) Friday.
MBF: So you've got a whole week to stew over it, huh?

...Yeah, that sums it up. I fell asleep earlier today while doing
some reading and had this almost-nightmare about having signed up to be in a production of R&J without knowing that it had been made into a musical with dance numbers, and the show was in two days. Plus I had been cast as Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet is, of course, the first play we're teaching.

*sigh*

freedom!

Jul. 25th, 2007 02:39 pm
tempestsarekind: (martha jones is a star)
Done with summer school at last. I've finished grading, finally (it was really hard to make myself do it--at one point I even cleaned my bathtub, a chore I hate, to avoid the stack of papers on my couch), and now only have to leave the papers in my mailbox for pickup, and await my paycheck.

I'm again astounded by the level of sheer wrongness that got perpetrated on the final exam (I'm pretty sure that someone wrote that Viola's "Disguise, I see thou art a wickedness" speech from Twelfth Night was from Hamlet, because there seems to be some "when in doubt, say it's from Hamlet" rule that I am unaware of), but the odd and *unexpected* thing this time around was how earnest my students all became any time they had to write about Prince Hal/Henry V. Suddenly Henry was "revealing his innermost thoughts" in his conversation with Williams in H5, and learning to connect with the common man and feel his pain in the tavern scenes in 1H4, or languishing under the burden of kingship and wishing only for the simple, carefree life of his soldiers. This happened last term as well (though to a lesser extent). I wonder if this happens to other people?

freedom!

Jul. 25th, 2007 02:39 pm
tempestsarekind: (martha jones is a star)
Done with summer school at last. I've finished grading, finally (it was really hard to make myself do it--at one point I even cleaned my bathtub, a chore I hate, to avoid the stack of papers on my couch), and now only have to leave the papers in my mailbox for pickup, and await my paycheck.

I'm again astounded by the level of sheer wrongness that got perpetrated on the final exam (I'm pretty sure that someone wrote that Viola's "Disguise, I see thou art a wickedness" speech from Twelfth Night was from Hamlet, because there seems to be some "when in doubt, say it's from Hamlet" rule that I am unaware of), but the odd and *unexpected* thing this time around was how earnest my students all became any time they had to write about Prince Hal/Henry V. Suddenly Henry was "revealing his innermost thoughts" in his conversation with Williams in H5, and learning to connect with the common man and feel his pain in the tavern scenes in 1H4, or languishing under the burden of kingship and wishing only for the simple, carefree life of his soldiers. This happened last term as well (though to a lesser extent). I wonder if this happens to other people?
tempestsarekind: (free radicals and tannins)
(Which is what you would say if you had a dog named "First Quarto," I guess. Oh, I'm so tired.) (I totally wanted a dog named Fortinbras, though, because the Murrys in A Wrinkle in Time had one. Fortinbras or Gobo, of all things.)

Blargh.

I'm supposed to teach Hamlet today, which is the last play on the summer school syllabus. And I don't wanna!

weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable )

I wish I could just hand out copies of the Hamlet performance scene in Pamela Dean's Tam Lin and then quietly tiptoe away. Fun for me, anyway, if not for them.
tempestsarekind: (free radicals and tannins)
(Which is what you would say if you had a dog named "First Quarto," I guess. Oh, I'm so tired.) (I totally wanted a dog named Fortinbras, though, because the Murrys in A Wrinkle in Time had one. Fortinbras or Gobo, of all things.)

Blargh.

I'm supposed to teach Hamlet today, which is the last play on the summer school syllabus. And I don't wanna!

weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable )

I wish I could just hand out copies of the Hamlet performance scene in Pamela Dean's Tam Lin and then quietly tiptoe away. Fun for me, anyway, if not for them.
tempestsarekind: (all the world's a stage)
1. David Tennant being in talks to play Hamlet for the RSC next summer. Which, while I think he would be good (and he can certainly do antic disposition), would apparently be the final nail in the coffin for his being the Doctor in series 5, since it would be filming at the same time. So then I would have no David Tennant at all, and wouldn't get to see him in Hamlet anyway since I don't live in England. And yet I can't help feeling like this should happen. Bother.

2. Returned papers to my summer school students this week. I've decided that there are at least two topics high-school students should not be allowed to write about: the use of the word "dream" in A Midsummer Night's Dream; and Romeo and Juliet, full stop. Because the first winds up as "you so can't tell the dream from reality!" and the second winds up either as "their love is OMG awesome!" or "their love is OMG stupid and reckless!"

3. My students were decidedly less than pleased with either Richard II (which they declared to be the most boring of all the plays we'd read so far, and thought Richard "should just stop whining"; I resisted the urge to yell "He was DEPOSED!" at them) or Henry V. Plus, discussions didn't go very well this week. I'm not sure why you'd sign up for a summer Shakespeare class unless you, you know, wanted to talk about Shakespeare, but whatever. At least I am being paid. And I now have two sections instead of one, so I'll be grateful for the extra money when it's over.

Off to try to write the second batch of paper topics...

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