It’s that time of year. The time when people might think that a teacher is NOT working. But ah, it’s probably the most stressful time–the building of the syllabus. Back in the day, a professor could just walk into class and do whatever. No more. Now it’s expected that the whole course will be outlined and in my case, put on Blackboard. As a chemistry professor, I write many of my own labs. I post my old exams and keys because some people are privileged with friends who’ve taken my course before and others aren’t and I like a level playing field. Of course, this is as likely as finding an ideal gas but one can approach ideality.
As an English professor I’m frantically reading and selecting from The Oxford Book of American Short Stories edited by Joyce Carol Oats and writing assignments from Janet Burroway’s Imaginative Writing. This is my first time teaching Short Story, so I’ll have to make sure it meets the criteria for arts credit. I’ll probably have them read that article from The Atlantic about what it really takes to make it as an artist these days. You can’t just be good. You must sell yourself. Which is why being a scientist is so much more comfortable for me.
My novel has gone through the first round of edits and I have another one started. I’m looking forward to classes and students but it will be hard to in a sense, say good-bye to stretches of quality time the new novel.