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Posts Tagged ‘teaching’

soliciting readings

Here’s the deal: course proposals to teach at Collins have to be turned in stupidly early. As in, by October 19th, I need a complete syllabus, including readings broken down by week, assignments, grading system, and everything else. And since I have a variety of other things between me an October 19th, I’m going to bootstrap myself through this process a bit by soliciting help; otherwise this hunt would take way too long.

I need suggestions for small (i.e. article- or chapter-sized), reasonably scholarly nonfiction readings on certain topics, as follows:

  • hard/soft primitivism
  • the place of women in republic-era Rome
  • western views of Far Eastern/Japanese history and culture
    (would Said’s Orientalism work for that? I know he’s more writing about the Middle East)

  • the American frontier, esp. the interaction of diversity there
  • current theories on how we perceive and use history
  • the performance of gender/sexuality in Elizabethan England
  • the intersection of religious, political, and secular life in the Renaissance
  • eighteenth-century piracy in the Caribbean
  • events leading up to the O.K. Corral gunfight (not the events of the day itself)

Bonus points if you can figure out what my course topic is, based on this eclectic set of needs. <g>

I’m weird.

1) I shouldn’t have taken that nap today. Oh, this is going to suck tomorrow.

2) Even with insomnia, there’s something really weird, and possibly wrong, about being up at 4 a.m. outlining a course proposal for next year. (But the idea mugged me when I couldn’t go to sleep, and I didn’t want to lose it.)

Stay tuned to this channel for me soliciting help on the course proposal, probably. As for what it’s about? Five words: I blame Midnight Never Come.

teaching, week one

So I recently began teaching my own course for the first time. For those of you who weren’t around on this journal when I was developing the course idea last fall, it’s called “Fairy Tales in the Modern World,” and is in essence about contemporary retellings/mashups/what-have-you of a whole variety of folktales.

I’m pleased with how it has started. The class enrollment is limited to twenty; I had three people wait-listed as of Monday. One student appears to have dropped, so we’ll see if we get a replacement, or if the wait-lists have already moved on with their lives. I like the size, and since I’m only teaching the one class (instead of three sections), and we meet three times a week (instead of just once for each section), I’m much further along the road to learning students’ names than usual. As in, I can correctly guess over half of them already.

Probably the most encouraging thing is that they aren’t afraid to speak up. I’ve taught sections where people settled in quickly and got talking, and sections where getting anyone to open their mouth is like pulling teeth. (Or the latter, with just that one student who will talk when no one else does. Then I have to try and draw the quiet ones out without stepping on the enthusiastic one.) Several people seem to have come in with a pretty in-depth knowledge of fairy tales already, which should provide good fodder for discussion.

Next week we’ll be blitzing through a history of the more famous tale collectors and/or writers — Basile, Straparola, Perrault, d’Aulnoy, the Grimms, Andersen, maybe a few others. Not the most exciting thing to cover, since it doesn’t provide many hooks for debate, but it’ll be good to get everyone familiar with the basics before we dive into the nuts and bolts of tales.

I’ll probably post about the teaching experience from time to time, though of course there’s always the caveat that my students may find this journal and read it. I don’t anticipate that being a problem, but if for some reason I have a meltdown and decide I hate teaching the class (unlikely), you won’t get to hear about it. ‘sall sunshine and roses, here at Swan Tower. ^_^


Ladies and gentlemen, I have a job for next spring!

I will be teaching “Writing Speculative Fiction” as a Collins course. And I’m giddy about the prospect.

A million thanks to everyone who contributed suggestions for the reading list a few months back. I’ll post a finalized version of that list when I teach the course; between now and then it might get tweaked a bit.

And now, knowing that I have a year of employment secured, I can relax and start breathing again.