I Love Teaching

This is my twentieth year teaching at Clarkson & my twenty-sixth year teaching, not counting graduate school. Yesterday I met my first classes for the semester, which is going to be a busy one. In going over the syllabus with each class, beginning to lay out the themes we're going to develop, I felt a rising excitement, a sense of renewal. Yesterday, I met my upper division Imagining Science course & my survey, The Literature of American Popular Music. I don't want to come across like a motivational speaker here & I'm sure I'm going to have days when I come home cursing, but when I was done yesterday I was happy. I'm good at what I do, which makes me happy; but the realization that I get to spend the next sixteen weeks talking about things I love -- that makes me happy. Selfish? Sure, but the best moments yesterday were when I posed a couple of questions & got a couple of responses, even on the first day. Those responses give one a tentative sense of the particular class & its possibilities. These initial impressions will no doubt be revised as the semester progresses (& of course the students are constantly revising & reevaluating their impressions of the teacher), but I was very happy yesterday, driving home. Now I just have to finish getting the course weblogs organized this weekend & finish writing the syllabus for my third class, Modern American Poetry, which meets Mondays & Wednesdays. Yes, for the first time in twenty years, I have three preps. It may kill me, since I am also serving on a Middle States Self-Study subcommittee as well as substituting on the Faculty Senate (an old stomping ground) for a colleague on leave.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.