A couple weeks ago, I posted about maybe sharing some class planning strategies. And now that I've turned in my grades, I thought I'd start working on that.
I'm hoping that I'll put some thoughts up, and you folks will share your ideas to do things better, and then maybe we'll all benefit.
I haven't taught the classes I'll be teaching in England, at least not in this sort of format or for a long time. That means I'm starting pretty much from scratch. So I start out looking up three things.
1) I look up what the school says the class should be or do.
Here's what the catalog says for the three classes I'll be teaching:
Course 201 - Masterpieces of English Literature I (3) Studies major works of English literature from Beowulf (750) to Blake (1780). Includes such authors as Chaucer, Marlowe, Donne, Milton and Swift.
Course 301 - The Renaissance (3) Studies Renaissance English literature emphasizing works by Sidney, Spenser, Marlowe, Bacon, Jonson, Bunyan, Marvel, Herrick and Donne.
Course 302 - 17th Century (3) Covers prose, poetry and drama of the post-Renaissance period through the Restoration with special focus on works of John Milton.
At my school, I can go into the course files and look at the original course descriptions and such as well, but this is what I have for my fall semester. I also have access to a previous syllabus for one of the courses.
2) Figure out the basic calendar for the semester. I do the calendar only for teaching days (and the occasional other day if it seems important). I do out a calendar for the whole term. Here's what mine starts out looking like for fall:
Course 201 - MTR - 2:10-3
Course 301 - MW - 11:15-12:30
Course 301 - MTR - 4:10-5
8/29 - Mon- Classes begin
8/30 - Tues -
8/31 - Wed -
9/1 - Thurs -
9/5 - Mon -
9/6 - Tues -
9/7 - Wed -
9/8 - Thurs -
9/9 - Fri -
9/12 - Mon -
9/13 - Tues -
9/14 - Wed -
9/15 - Thurs -
And so forth.
Since I'm the sort of person who needs to see things on paper to do my planning, I print out a copy of the calendar for each class. I do each calendar up for the specific days for each class by cutting out days I don't need for the class.
3) Now I have an idea about what the school wants the course to look like, and what the calendar looks like. I start with one class, and think about what text(s) I want to teach for that course.
I'm looking at two anthology groups right now, and am planning to choose the one that works best for all the courses. Happily, both anthology groups come in physically smaller texts than they used to, so you can choose the ones that will be best for a given course, and not have, say, the 18th century for a medieval course in the same anthology.
One possibility is the Norton Anthology
The other possibility is the Longman
Thoughts about which you'd choose and why?
Let's start with the 16th century "Renaissance" course!