I got a note on Friday telling me that my proposal for an internal grant for next spring has been granted (is that the word I want?) and so in spring, I will have a course reassignment for our writing course!
My proposal is for a paper using ecocriticism on a couple of Shakespeare plays. It's a modest proposal (though not involving eating any children, so no Titus), and you may think, why does she need a course reassignment to write a paper?
But those of you who teach 11 (or more) credit hours a semester will understand what a difference a course reassignment makes. (I'm sure a lot of people who teach 6 credit hours a semester would also understand, of course.)
And the fact that I'm reassigned from the writing course just makes it all that much better!
But, this also gives me cause to rework my plans a bit because I also got my teaching assignment for spring, and I'll be teaching a senior seminar on early Brit Lit. And Intro to Lit. So pretty much a super teaching assignment. (I think I got a second upper-level course for the year because one of my other early Brit colleagues will be on sabbatical. We've been told that we should expect an upper-level course only every other year going forward, so I didn't expect it. But I'm very happy about it!)
In fall, I'll have a topics in Shakespeare course and intro to poetry, two courses that will make me very happy.
So, here's what I'm thinking for the topics and senior seminar.
For the topics course, Shakespeare and Geography (or something similar). I'll teach the plays I'm planning to write about, and be able to get a good, focus going. And I'll also teach some others, and some critical race stuff, and maybe also look at commodities (thanks, Susan!). Anyway, my idea is that it will be new for the students (so they can take two later Brit courses should they wish to, without having just repetition), and new enough for me to teach me new stuff, and enough stuff I've done relatively recently to help me teach efficiently.
Then in spring, I'll teach an ecocrit and early Brit Lit seminar, using some of the syllabus from the last time (two years ago now), and revising in in light of what I learned last time.
I got a note last week that a paper I wrote last year during my course reassignment is due to be published on April First.
I went to a really fun concert yesterday put together by a music seminar on Gender, Class and Race in [Famous Composer'] Operas. All the music students in the seminar, and about 20 more performed, along with five faculty folks, all doing opera stuff. So there was some superb singing. But then there were also arias performed on instruments. So, there was a trio of trombone, tuba, and euphonium doing an aria for three male voices. And there was an oboe and clarinet duet of an aria, and so forth. It all came with an overall introduction about the course and operas, and then smaller introductions about some of the issues in each of the operas, with attention to how the musicians were trying to communicate the lyrics with instruments and such.
I wish I'd known about this seminar before the semester began, because I bet we'd have figured out a way to get some neat interactions between our courses!
Our music folks astound me sometimes. First, they're really good musicians. You may think that out here in the boondocks, we have a bunch of third-rate folks, but competition in music is so hard these days that we have stellar people, both as performers and as teachers (my violin teacher, for example). And second, they do collaborative stuff with students, and really showcase their students' work with such generosity.
My school re-opened opportunities to teach abroad, at least on paper. So I turned in my applications. The difficulty is that while we're allowed to apply, our departments are being told basically that they have to come up with replacement funding. And funding is pretty scarce in all sorts of ways these days.