I started teaching a new text yesterday; it went pretty well. But it got me thinking about how I approach teaching new texts. I'm sure most lit folks teach new texts periodically. And by "new" I don't only mean "written within recent history," but also "not yet part of the teaching canon."
At the end of my grad school teaching, I had the opportunity to teach a seminar for English majors, so I chose to teach something on early modern women or something. One of the texts I tried to teach was Elizabeth Cary's Tragedy of Miriam. Let's just say, I did a miserable job of it.
First, I hadn't been taught at all to read early modern texts by women. I hadn't had any classroom experience with closet dramas, even. And as a very inexperienced teacher, I didn't have a lot of strategies for dealing with such texts; I mostly had the example of what I'd been taught, with a lot of dissertation research on the side.
(I'm sort of ashamed to say that I've never had the guts to go back and try to teach Miriam again.)
When I check my sitemeter thing, I regularly see someone hit my blog searching how to teach [some text], so I know other people struggle with how to teach new to them texts, too.
I'd like to start thinking about how we're taught to teach, and what that means when we teach new texts, and also articulate some strategies for teaching new texts. I hope you folks will tell me about your experiences and talk about the strategies you use, too.