Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Needy Me

I've been teaching a while, and I generally feel reasonably confident about the courses I teach.  But I'm also not shy about asking friends with more expertise for suggestions and help (especially, for example, I always ask real medievalists when I'm prepping Chaucer again because I know they know way more than I do).

I'm really struggling with the new composition class format.  It's really uncomfortable.  I'm beyond anxiety about it, and more into incipient terror.  And it's obvious around here.  For the first time in ages, I don't want to get out of bed in the morning because I dread this class.

More than once I've been told to ask for help from this or that person, and when I've done it, I've immediately gotten help, and good help.  But it's still hard to ask for help.

It's like I'm a college student again, and having trouble in a class, and shy about asking for help.  And it's damned uncomfortable.

I think there's a part of me that thinks my colleagues are judging me, and I'm coming up short, when I need to ask for help.

I think there's a part of me that is judging myself.

I'm waiting to go see a colleague to ask for more help as soon as her office is free of the student she is helping.


  1. Oh, it's so hard not to be the expert! As teachers, that becomes a default mode. And we know the things about which we are not experts, so having something you thought you knew how to do be something you need help on would be hard.

  2. I agree that it's hard to ask for help. The desire to be an expert in all things is hard to fight. With writing, though, I don't think that enough people take a collaberative view. In publishing, there are so, so many people who have an impact on the writing process and getting a book (article, whatever) to publication. Why should a writing class be any different?

    Still, asking for help can be tough. Good luck!

  3. Having gotten good help feels much better than asking for it, doesn't it? but every one of these sorts of conversations usually ends up being a two-way learning street. There's so much of what makes a class not feel like it's working that really isn't about you--the mix of students has an influence, too. Hope you have the conversations you're hoping for.

  4. Oh, that does sound rough. I'm glad you've got colleagues to talk with. I hope that she's helpful.

    If it's any comfort, I still use some things you taught me about reading Shakespeare, which of course is one of the things I teach that I'm not an expert in. Which is to say that we all help each other from time to time!