Taught for the second time today, and I’m so enjoying it! The class is Adolescent Literature, and the students are a mix of grads and undergrads, really bright people who ask thoughtful questions and make great insights.
The first time, I gave the class a writing prompt talking about significant details of their childhood neighborhoods. The second time, I lectured about Critical Race Theory and Labeling Theory. The first class was just pure fun for me, but the second really worried me beforehand in terms of how I treated the material, what language I used, and what kind of reactions I would get from the students. But everything went really well, and the students were such a pleasure that I was sorry when we ran out of time.
I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was a little kid, but I’ve always worried that the reality wouldn’t live up to the fantasy. If anything, it’s actually better than I had imagined. It’s such a thrill ride to lead discussion, watching body language to make sure people are engaged, figuring out how to take the material and make it my own, and enjoying the surprising comments students make that shift the ground under my feet. I love it!
Can’t believe I’m already three weeks in! (And that it’s been more than a month since I last posted. *hangs head*) I scheduled this to be a much lighter semester than the last one is, so I’d have time to write, and that’s already paying off, which relieves me to no end. The end of last semester had me pacing and wondering, “What the hell am I doing in an MFA program if I don’t have either the time to write or any idea of what to write about?”
This semester I’m taking the required fiction workshop and a science writing workshop; two classes instead of last semester’s four. My fiction teacher is awesome. She is seriously worth fangirling over. She runs class discussions on advanced ideas of craft, she makes radical suggestions for story changes, and she makes sure were respectful and supportive of our fellow writers. I think I’m going to get some really great writing done for that class.
Science writing is so not what I expected, in a good way. I had assumed it would be similar to a course in technical writing, or maybe investigative journalism. Instead, the professor is starting us out by writing POETRY about science. Then we’re going to move through fiction, memoir, and only get to more journalistic writing at the very end of the course. I’m terrified of writing poetry, but excited about it as well, and I think this course is going to push me in wonderful ways.
Still working in the writing center, but this semester I’m also TAing a course in Adolescent Lit. The professor I’m assisting is wonderful, the books are fascinating (I’d never even heard of half of them!) and I’m going to lead my first class activity on Tuesday. Getting up in front of 40 students is a little intimidating, but I’m looking forward to it.
And, as I said, the writing is going well. Struggled with three ideas that just would not cooperate, then sat down and banged out an experimental piece from the POV of Eliezer Ben Yehudah’s son that I think works beautifully. I’m back to feeling like a writer, and I can’t wait to see what the next few months will bring.