New school year again– eventually

I say “eventually” because most of my pre-fall term thinking as of late has been occupied by the impending faculty strike, which I predict here will begin on September 1. I’m sure there will be more posts/news on EMUTalk.org about all this.  All I will say here is that it annoys and frustrates me that we’ll probably be going on strike, mainly because of insurance and the Board of Regents micromanaging.  It seems avoidable to me, but it will almost certainly not be avoided.  Hopefully, since classes won’t begin until September 8, that won’t happen this time around.  Hopefully.

Anyway, the new school year is still on my mind, and as I have written in the past here and elsewhere, the new school year feels more like “the new year” to me than the actual New Year in January. I tend to measure things more in school years, which I suppose is a given since I’ve been doing this stuff for a while.  Actually, this year I start my 23rd year teaching in college (counting my time as a graduate assistant), which means a) I am about to cross over to a point where I have teaching college classes for more than half my life, and b) I am not at a point where I am old enough to be a parent to all but the “non-traditional” undergraduates and most of my “traditional” graduate students. Insert music here about drag getting older, etc.

This fall, we go into the year in exile while the building my department is normally in is closed for remodeling.  For the next 18-24 months, our offices are in a dorm and our classrooms are all over campus.  I’m hoping to do a CCCCs talk about this dislocation, actually.  Stay tuned for details.

I’m teaching English 328, which I’ve probably taught 50 times by now.  So not much new there from what I’ve done in the recent past, though I had some good experiences/experiments this summer with peer review I will try to repeat, and since this is an online class where there are some collaborative elements, I want to play around more with some things like Skype and Tinychat to do some synchronous discussion.

I’m also teaching English 505, which is a grad course called “Rhetoric of Science and Technology” I’ve now taught twice before, once online and once in person.  It’s a bit of a bear of a class to teach, because it is one of those classes that is (potentially, at least) about everything, and also because this is the rhetorical theory class for students in our professional writing MA program.  Without getting into the wisdom of that, what I’m going to be doing to get students “up to speed” is to this time teach Crowley and Hawhee’s Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students as sort of a “basically, this is what rhetoric meant/means” before we get on to the more contemporary stuff.  We’ll see how it works out.

And last but not least, I’m teaching an Honor’s Section (that has to be capitalized, right?) of first year composition.  I did this years ago, and I think honors students are an interesting lot to work with.  I haven’t completely figured out the syllabus for this yet, and given some of my challenges with the 505 class, I probably won’t figure it out completely until either the term strikes or we go off strike, whichever comes first.  But basically, I’m going to have them watch RiP! A Remix Manifesto early on in the class and requite students to develop research topics around it.  I think it is generally a good idea and it is also something I hope to talk about at the CCCCs in Atlanta.  Once again, stay tuned/we’ll see how this works out.

A lot of potential out there right now, no?

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