The homework has begun in earnest. My students are edging oh-so-closer to the paper that will consume my every waking minute for a good week. I’ve presented on Carl Jung, which consumed most of Labor Day weekend. I am writing a journal or commentary on the notes I take for my Rhet/Comp for Teachers class. And I have not even begun talking about the reading. Even my hair is tired.
The second week of teaching has been harder in some ways, because I realize that making lesson plans a unit at a time is not going to work for one class (Night). I’ve redone all lesson plans this week, and then had to throw half the stuff out anyway, just because they were not connecting to the strategy I was implementing. That’s been the bane and ultimate beauty of coming to this curriculum as a third-year teacher: I now recognize the it’s-not-working signs so much more quickly than I did my first year as an MA, and therefore, I have been making the adjustments before it’s too late, and the papers are less-than-desirable. Of course, there will be some of that. You never avoid that. But I am desperately hoping that my fluid style will reach out to them. It has to. It must. Night just doesn’t have enough students who are comfortable enough to take a risk and make the material their own. Most of them stare at me and look bored, whether it’s a small group learning activity or me giving announcements. I feel as if most of them would rather I lectured so they could doze off or fall asleep and check out. I’m hoping it’s just the unit. Otherwise, this could be a long and painful semester for all of us.
I am praying for the strength to pull ahead this weekend, so that I can build up a cushion to protect me when time inevitably slips away, I (heaven forbid) get sick, or something else pops up unexpectedly. My dad’s coming down to visit this weekend, so that’s a big thing to look forward to. I just want to feel as if I am on top of something, and not muddling through my teaching, muddling through my vast theoretical readings, and muddling though my Theory class, feeling like an idiot for not knowing the right answer to a question about a close reading of Keats during a discussion of Kenneth Burke. Sheesh. I feel dizzy just typing that. I think part of my sick feeling is knowing that there’s going to be an exam on this stuff. How can I identify a passage by Kenneth Burke and then explain its significance when I don’t even understand half of it in reading or in class, or be able to closely read “Ode on a Grecian Urn” in the way that my professor lays it out? That last part is making me especially anxious. I’m just really afraid of having the “wrong” answer and getting penalized for it.
Goodness. I didn’t mean to turn this post into a “let’s analyze all of Bonnie’s insecurities about formalism.” But there it is. It just feels good to get it out there.