Most of this feeling is unrelated to teaching (and is generally stuff that I wouldn’t want to spill on an unsuspecting and largely indifferent reading audience), but the sudden realization I had yesterday that there are only three weeks of school left before Christmas break most certainly is related. Ooh boy.
So I’m left trying to think about what I will cover for the next two or so weeks before I have to kick into gear for final preparation – including preparing myself for having to give my first semester exams ever. Some are easy – I can’t get through another novel, so my novels course will end on Frankenstein – while others are harder – my sophomores are supposed to finish up speeches with a persuasive speech, and it will be difficult to assess knowledge about persuasion on a final unless I get into the terms and elements of it (which I might actually do out of desperation).
Having been sick this past week – including a little bit now, although I’m well enough to resume work tomorrow – hasn’t helped in the least, with the exception of a strange 4am feverish episode in which I awoke thinking about my teaching (which is actually one of the few times it’s ever happened) and ended up writing down a bunch of thoughts on a 4″x6″ index card. Many of those ideas were about teaching research papers next semester, and I’m really excited about that. I’m also excited about teaching transcendentalism (whoo Emerson and Thoreau!), anti-transcendentalism (whoo Hawthorne! eh, Melville), and some American poetry, most specifically Whitman and Dickinson.
And I must be perfectly honest – I will be ecstatic to be done with my novels elective. It has been a very challenging course, and I frankly would like never to teach a class like that again; I might even get my wish when I have all of the seniors for English 12 next year and have to eliminate one thing from my course load (at least, I hope there is replacement and not addition!). I would gladly teach a course on short fiction or poetry or virtually any other form of literature, but novels are not my forte. On the other hand, I’m really looking forward to teaching my writing elective next semester, which is something that I really enjoy despite the extra work it takes to make it work well.
I guess I do have some hope for what’s to come. The only key now is picking up the pieces and putting them back in order.
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P.S. The Achebe reference is somewhat timely; I’m going to try and fit in a short modern African lit unit before the end of the semester in my senior English course, which includes Achebe’s story “The Voter.” Always a win!