Saturday, December 19, 2015
December 19-20, 2015: Spring 2016 Preview
[With this week’s final papers and exams comes the end of another semester at Fitchburg State University, and with it this week’s series of semester recap posts focused on inspiring student work and ideas, leading up to this predictive weekend post. Please share your own fall reflections or spring predictions in comments!]
Five reasons I’m excited for the Spring 2016 semester:
1) Old Favorites: The five courses I’m teaching are all old friends: American Literature I, Major American Authors of the 20th Century, Ethnic American Literature, the English Studies Senior Capstone, and the graduate Intro to Literary Theory. But since I’m committed to never being the kind of teacher who brings out the yellowed lecture notes, old favorites mean new opportunities to examine the syllabus, readings, and assignments, as well as to remain open to student responses and ideas as the semester develops. I’ll keep you posted!
2) With a Twist: One thing that helps keep classes new is when I get the chance to work with a returning student in our Writing Associates program, where a student who has taken a course before works with the professor as an additional resource for the other students and the class as a whole. This spring I’ll have one of our best students, a member of our English Secondary Education track, working with me in Major American Authors, and I can’t wait to see what she brings to our discussions, the student writing, and many other aspects as well. I’ll keep you posted!
3) A New ALFA Course: I try to alternate more literature-focused Adult Learning courses with ones more linked to American histories and narratives, and so this Spring I’ll be offering a new course of the latter type. In it, I’ll be sharing figures, histories, and texts that help us consider other sides to moments with which we feel already familiar: Quock Walker and the American Revolution, Chinese American soldiers in the Civil War, anti-suffrage violence in the Progressive Era, and more. I look forward to finalizing my own choices but also and especially to hearing the student responses to them. I’ll keep you posted!
4) The NeMLA Conference: I’ve been working toward the March 2016 Northeast MLA conference for nearly 3 years, and couldn’t be more excited that it’ll finally arrive this spring. But there’s a lot to finalize before then, including the visits to Hartford Public Schools for which I’d love to include you and/or your ideas (email me with any interest and ideas, please!). You know I’ll keep you posted!
5) We’ll See: Every semester, some of the most exciting opportunities and experiences take me entirely by surprise. And a significant number of them over the last few years have come from online connections and conversations. So … keep me posted!
Next series starts Monday,
PS. What do you think? Other reflections or predictions you’d share?