A Catholic perspective on the world and all the good things therein, especially books and food. Literature cum chocolate is the order of the day at The Crockery.

Location: A Collegetown, Undisclosed Location, United States

No longer a graduate student, Teresa is now a professional know-it-all.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sometimes I hate having a pedagogical conscience

. . . because all I really want to teach in my literature classes is a range of ghost stories, mysteries, and sensation novels. Really, is that so wrong? All of those genres do or did important cultural work in their own era.

Instead, there are these concepts of "coverage" and "canon" and "course objectives." You know, things I have to teach my students so that I can go home at the end of the semester and feel that I have given a handful of young Americans just a little bit more cultural depth.

It is syllabus time in our house. I have been tinkering with a syllabus for a new (to me) survey course for some time, but now I really have to get cranking, and I don't like it. What I really want to do is run my classroom like a bookclub . . . one where I get to pick all the books. (Bossy much? Why yes, thank you.)

Perhaps my day will come when I get to teach a graduate level course. Graduate courses are more often themed, so all I have to do is come up with a wicked cool theme that somehow manages to encompass all the most fun books I can think of.

I'm working on it, I tell you. But in the meantime, I have a general survey course to plan: two hundred years of literature. Surely I won't be blamed for slipping a little Conan Doyle in there, you think? Just one of the short stories . . . it'll tide me over until the day I can manufacture a justifcation for teaching Laurie R. King's The Moor alongside The Hound of the Baskervilles.


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