Thursday, January 12, 2017

What if?

I really need to start working on my syllabus and class planning for my classes.

When I think about it, I suddenly wonder: what if I don't remember how to plan a class?  How to make a syllabus?  How to set up assignments?

Of course, once I get started I'll be fine.  It's the getting started that's so hard.

Do you folks ever have that feeling, that even though you've done this a lot, tens of times, maybe you won't be able to pull it off this time?

We need a longer January!


  1. I don't worry about it with syllabus planning (although now I probably will), but with actually leading an individual class meeting. Especially lecturing. If I allow myself to think about it for a minute before class starts, I cannot *imagine* talking (or leading a discussion) for 50 minutes--or 75! How is it possible? And yet, I'm 9.5 years into my full-time teaching career.

    In fact, I do this with running, too. Running seems impossible to me. But all semester (and starting again this week), I go out three times a week and do it (modestly, slowly, and for not very far). Weird.

  2. I'd settle for a longer break, rather than a longer January.

    My big anxiety is that I'll forget to include something in a syllabus that I really should have done or that I'll somehow make everything due at the same time and bury myself in grading. This semester, I'm trying out giving fewer assignments, but having them be deeper. So instead of lots of 2-3 page papers and then a long paper at the end, I'm having my Renaissance class do one 5-7 page paper and one 12-15 page paper. They'll also do in-class writing, but no busy work.

    The weird thing is the every single person in my Renaissance class is also in my Modern class, so I tried to make the schedules very different for that reason. I didn't want to have similar assignments for each class, like I often do, because I felt like they would be bored and not challenged. So the Ren class is more literature-based and the modern class is more theatre-based. They're getting two completely different perspectives this semester. I think it's going to work out great!

    Good luck getting it all done. I agree that just starting is very hard.

  3. Anonymous5:52 AM

    I am not in the academic world, but yes this happens with new topic areas on which I have to write (I am not an atty but I play one at work). Once I get started it usually turns out fine- and I have strategies to solve areas where I lack technical expertise. But I do have those random thoughts (after 30 years!), what if I can't do this anymore?

  4. Like Heu Mihi, my anxiety tends to be about actually being in the classroom and interacting with students. What if I don't remember how? What if I suddenly have gotten bad at it over the break? I usually have some insomnia the night or two before we return to school, fretting over this.