Reflections on Teaching

It turns out getting into gear for teaching is…exhausting! Mostly because I was having weird panic dreams about being in class and forgetting which text we were covering, then waking up in a cold sweat. And also the general admin that goes along with a teaching position is a draaaaaag. So many new and different systems for communicating information about classes I thought I might drown in “how to” webpages at one point. I thought it’d just be more a case of “here’s your leather jacket, here’s your backwards chair, go do your best Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds…” but nay.

Marianne MacRae

Candid shot in class yesterday

Anyway, I did my first two classes yesterday and they were (I think) a-okay. On reflection, I probably could have eased off on the awkward, lame-joke-laden chit chat at the start, but that’s how I feel about most conversations I have, so nothing out of the ordinary there. It was actually really refreshing to be in an academic situation without the pressure of having to justify, or even mention, my research. I mean, obviously I did mention it; I’m a PhD student, what else do I have to talk about?? But the students just accepted it. Just like that. No questions, no ever-so-slight narrowing of the eyes that suggests I’m wasting my life/being funded to do what?! And then we chatted for an hour about James Thomson’s City of Dreadful Night…highly recommend this poem to anyone seeking an existential crisis.

But yeah, thinking about other peoples’ degree subjects is really tiring. On Monday I’d finished all my prep for class so figured I’d spend the afternoon getting back on top of my PhD reading. NOPE. I managed one and a half poems by Elizabeth Bishop before I fell asleep at my desk. Sigh. Baby steps, I suppose. Or am I just a weakling? Much more likely to be that, to be fair. Either way I’m in the process of drawing up my final year schedule. I’m hoping it’ll assuage the ever-creeping dread of running out of time. Does that ever go away? I feel like even after I hand in my PhD and get through the viva I’ll be worrying about handing in my PhD and getting through the viva for years to come. That is, unless we’re plunged into a nuclear winter within months of the new American demagogue getting his tentacles on the Gold Codes.

AND ON THAT NOTE! Lol, kidding, everything will be fine. I mean, I have months of classes planned now, so will be very disappointed if I don’t get to discreetly push my political opinions on unsuspecting students…I also only have 2 more blogs to go during my tenure as blogger-in-residence, which means I really have to up my game in terms of foisting my agenda on you, oh faithful readers!

Until next time, be good to yourselves and one another x

2 thoughts on “Reflections on Teaching

  1. john farnsworth says:

    I’ve just returned to the classroom after sabbatical, and even though I’m teaching a single seminar this term I found the first session exhausting. Teaching requires stamina, and I was surprised at how quickly I’d gotten out of teacherly shape.


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