[The Spring 2022 semester was in some ways more “normal” than the last few have been, but in many other ways just as difficult, if not indeed more so. But y’all know me well enough to know that I’m not going to focus on the challenges in this week’s series, but rather on individual discussions in each of my classes that reminded me of why we do what we do!]
Every class I’ve ever gotten the chance to teach in our English Studies MA program (which I now have the honor of directing) has been not only excellent but rejuvenating, a reminder of why we teach (which is not at all unrelated to the fact that most of our MA students are fellow educators, and very thoughtful and talented ones at that). That held true for this semester’s 19th Century American Women Writers course, and every discussion was as excellent as the last. But only one was also surprising, and rewarded a choice I don’t usually make: because the class started a week into the semester (it met on Monday evenings and the first week was MLK Day), I decided to share and have us briefly discuss a couple 18th century texts, Annis Stockton’s “Impromptu Answer” (1756) and Hannah Griffitts’ “The Female Patriots” (1768). Those are two of my favorite American poems, but it was the first time we had met as a class, and we were meeting virtually at that, so I didn’t set my expectations too high—but in any case and as ever our grad students far exceeded those expectations, and we had a multi-layered and provocative discussion that was just as good as if they’d had a week to read and respond to these texts.
Last reflection tomorrow,
PS. What do you think? Spring semester reflections (in all tones) you’d share?