almost midway

...through summer school, that is. I'm hoping I'm a bit further along in the unpacking & settling in process.

So far, I'm not hating teaching during the summer. I don't know how I'd feel if I hadn't also been moving during this time, but I think it would be even better. (I wouldn't be quite so exhausted, for one thing). Though the chaos on the home front has meant that I have devoted only the barest minimum of time to prepping for class -- it's a class I've taught 8 or 9 times before, and I know the material extremely well. So I can get by with less than my usual prep routine. But even so, I had a couple of mornings this week when I went in to class feeling a twinge of guilt. I think I pulled it off OK, and I promise to be better prepared for some of the remaining texts.

What's been most interesting to me is the classroom dynamic. For some reason, my course was capped at a lower enrollment level than is usual during the regular semester (I just looked at our course roster for summer and it seems as though some courses were reduced and other weren't -- kind of mysterious, but I'm not complaining, since I really benefited) -- I always run this course with a lot of discussion, but that's been made even easier with the smaller numbers.

I think the students are learning each other's names sooner, and are (for the most part) very engaged with the material, since they're reading and talking (and often writing) about it every day. But normally in the semester version of the course, I begin to see real changes in the students as they struggle to make sense of the ideas of the class and apply them in their own lives. (This is a literature course cross-listed with gender studies, and includes basic feminist theory as well as literary texts.) It's much harder to see if any changes are occuring day to day, rather than week to week.

What I didn't expect was that the compression of the course, rather than its intensity, seems to be shaping my attitude towards the students. Sure, I want them to get as much as possible out of the books, out of my lectures, out of our conversations. I care about their performance and progress in the course. But in the back of my mind, I'm a bit more distant from them as people than I am with my regular students, who I get to know slowly. The speed of this course, for me, prohibits really getting to know them beyond the most surface levels.

Of course, I may feel differently at the end of June. But so far, it's not so bad, the course is going pretty well, and I know I can definitely use the extra money.