Fall Break Work

It is fall break. I have spent four days working eight hours a day preparing courses for next semester. Under normal circumstances, it would seem logical to do this during the Christmas break. Fortunately or unfortunately, we will be gone from December 18th until January 17th. That will only leave me with three weeks when we return to get things finished. That is not enough time. Next semester, the teaching load more than doubles due to new regulations of the university. There are no promotions in sight for me since there is a moratorium on promotions, so my course load increases due to my peon status. A doctorate degree does not come into play here. My classes for spring will be:

  • Language Practice 4 – I will most likely use a curriculum I have already written and just revise it. The LP classes are American Culture classes with an emphasis on academic English.
  • Ethnicities in the U.S. II – Have to write the curriculum for this one. I am teaching Part I this semester. Part II will focus on Jews, Hispanics, and Native Americans.
  • Critical Thinking – I am teaching this this semester so there is little to do. I have the curriculum done, I just need to revise the syllabus.
  • Gay and Lesbian Film in the U.S. – This is where much of my time and attention has gone. I have had to research the films, find them, watch them, create study guides for each, make decisions on which to use, and so on. I have close to 60 movies, but they are not all American films. I am trying to decide if I will have each student watch a different foreign film as well to do a comparison to the U.S. one. This is much more work than I ever anticipated, but I expect the course will be great.
  • Survey of American Culture – This is available and mandatory to freshmen. We have had 300 enroll this semester, but none of them have been eligible for my classes. My first introduction will be with this course. My co-teacher and I will both be teaching sections of this, but based on the time slot, one of us may have more than ½ of the group. I usually teach my freshmen class at 8:00 am, while he has his at 9:30. Since the students take so many classes, it is more an issue of class conflict, rather than sleeping in. This course will be 1 ½ hours a week, but all lecture. I ordered a survey book from the States and will lecture on a different chapter each week. There is no chance of making them write essays. I will never have time to read all of them. They will have weekly quizzes instead with homemade scan-tron answer sheets and then a TA can grade them for me. I am dreading this. It has been years since I have had to lecture.

Then to complete my teaching hours, I will offer a two hour tutorial for the survey course for students who cannot keep up with the lecture. This is a glorified office hour, but it prevents me from having to offer yet another course. I spent days looking at film reviews, book reviews, and ordering books and films from the US. The university does not buy the books and the students don’t either, so it is my responsibility to make sure they have the materials they need for each course. This is how I spent my four eight hour days of vacation. The method has a “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy agreement. Now I am hoping beyond hope that the books and movies arrive before we break for winter. I could not find anyone that was coming over to bring them back with them or I would have ordered them and had them sent to these people. Everyone coming back or coming to visit someone is arriving after we leave. Time is of the essence. I am going to be a bear next semester.