Years ago I was teaching a section of the American lit survey, Colonial through Civil War, and I found myself facing a really common problem: that when at the end of class I said, “Okay, for next time—” and before I could say “we’ll be reading Emerson" or whatever, the room would be filled with the sudden thunder of Young Scholars getting ready to flee—closing their books and laptops, sticking things into their backpacks, moving their desks, talking…and no one—not even me!—could hear the detail of my reminder of the next reading assignment. It really is common—I remember this happening back in my long-ago undergrad days, too.
It was very annoying. But what to do?
I began talking about the assignments at the beginning of class. “Okay, today we’re reading Emerson. On Wednesday you’ll be happy to know that we’re not reading Emerson—we’re reading Whitman.” (I had a lot of sad Emerson-haters in that class).
The oral announcement at the beginning of class worked better at the beginning of class than at the end. But then I had my brilliant innovative idea—put the schedule on slides!
So I did, and it works great. I’ve been doing this now for about six years or so.
But no one ever really acknowledged the greatness until this week, when a Young Scholar said, “I really like your slides.”
Damn. That’s just about the nicest thing anyone has ever said to/about me.
So now I’m sharing my brilliant innovation with the world. Below are the slides for my current ENGL 345 class, “Writers’ Studies: Prose.” I post the previous week, the current week, and the coming weeks, along with anything else the scholars need to know….