Tuesday, April 23, 2013

the state of the teaching thingie iv--being a lit guy

When I was younger, if you would've asked me, I would tell you I always envisioned myself being the popular culture-oriented professor in a literature department. This is why I got both a BA and an MA in Lit.  Literature courses, however, are very hard to come by.  Grad students in the English department usually get thrown into writing classes.  So do adjuncts.

 This semester, however I got a literature class.  It was only the second time it happened...and I only was assigned this class when one of my other classes got cancelled.  Rather than doing an organizing theme, I decided to just load it up with stuff I wanted to read...so that was cool.  We've had:
  • The Hunger Games
  • World War Z--Terkel meets Romero!
  • Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom--this was the surprise of the semester, as it's both a monstrously fun read and brimming with ideas all at the same time
  • Gun Machine--Warren Ellis brings his fiction mastery to prose.  All cop thrillers should be this much about information
  • 1984--while I've been a big fan of Animal Farm, I had never gotten around to this
  • Glasshouse--perhaps the biggest head-spinner
  • a ton of cool short stories, including stuff from Gaiman, Zelazny, McCarthy, Welty, Assimov, Clarke, Sheckley, O'Brien, and tons more.
 The students, though, are the best part.  They are fearless.  I've given them some pretty weird readings, and they've always plunged right in.  I started giving them basic lit terminology, and they took it in.  Then I started slowly with the theory.  They took it in.  Then I started ramping up the theory, and they kept taking it in.  I was, on occasion, holding near graduate student level conversations.  I'm really going to miss this class...because it's exactly how I always imagined teaching would be.

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