Sunday, January 12, 2014
Warning, warning!! Spring Term Imminent
Okay, it's inevitable. As much so as tomorrow's sunrise in the east. I face the first day of classes and cannot avoid it any longer - I must prepare myself. And that whole attitude is absurd. I love what I do. I've had a dozen other jobs, and this is by far the best gig: I've sold toys and candy and been a CSR at Big Toy Retailer. I kept books for a crooked medical equipment outfit. I worked in banks and trust departments, tried to balance distributions for oil companies, paid bills for a telecommunications company, analyzed contracts for same, analyzed budgets and expense trends, managed real estate, inventoried personal property for estates of the rich and spoiled... teaching history is a joy. And yet, the prospect of going back tomorrow fills my mind with ever-repeating crescendos of 'noooo! not yet!!' Craziness.
Particularly if we examine precisely what the term promises: two - count 'em two - classes that I have shaped according to my own interests: one in medieval Europe and the other on contemporary issues in Africa and the influence of the colonial past on those issues and how modern leaders/elites and populations are addressing those issues. I mean, c'mon - look at what's going on in Africa, and tell me it's not a rich environment for Post-Colonial investigation! South Sudan, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Mali... wow. AND it will set me up nicely for my own trip to Uganda (and all of its colonial baggage) next summer. And this is a senior research seminar, so much of the term, the students will be working on their own or in small teams on interdisciplinary projects. Which, again, are designed around my own interests - they do papers, but also digital projects. Ditto with the Medieval Europe class, which is an Honors class AND freshman level. It's my newest attempt to change the way we do World History - use a specific time/place to explore larger issues, trends and developments around the world. So I can use the collapse of the Roman Empire to explore impacts of such events around the world, through the lens of Europe. The influence of religion on peasant cultures, plagues, wars... it's an experiment. The rest of my classes are independent studies - not regular class meetings, just tutorials and directed readings and such. One of which is on creative women in the 20s and 30s in Europe (mostly France and Britain). It is going to be a term of juggling all these students and their various projects and due dates.
Thus, the term is exactly the creation of .... ME. There is no way I should worry about it, have any anxiety or dread. And yet.
No one has ever accused me of being rational. Have a good term.