Category Archives: This Week In My Classes

This Week In My Classes: No More Classes!

Classes ended last Wednesday, and I held my first final exam at 8:30 the following Saturday morning. That seemed hasty to me! Students have a lot going on at the end of term, and two days isn’t much time for them finish other assignments, regroup, and rest up a bit. On the bright side (for […]

Responding to Srigley, Over and Over and Over

I have been very glad to see eloquent and well-informed responses to Ron Srigley’s screed “Pass, Fail” in The Walrus (which largely reiterates his screed in the Los Angeles Review of Books). I was disappointed in both venues, frankly: it seems to me to show poor editorial judgment to publish rants of this kind without checking their […]

This Week In My Classes: Hard Times – for these times

Dear reader! It rests with you and me, whether, in our two fields of action, similar things shall be or not. Let them be! We shall sit with lighter bosoms on the hearth, to see the ashes of our fires turn gray and cold. Dickens’s subtitle for his 1854 novel Hard Times was “for these times.” […]

This Week In My Classes: Teaching as Therapy

Not for them — for me! I have actually noticed this often over my teaching career, but it has been particularly evident to me this week, when I have been feeling quite frustrated, angry, and disheartened by things that need to stay off this blog (at least for now): teaching is good for my mental […]

This Week In My Classes: Catching Up

When it’s quiet over here at Novel Readings, that’s generally a sign that I’m busy elsewhere, and that is more or less what’s been up this week. After I got back from Louisville, I had some catching up to do, especially with midterms that needed to get graded so we could all move on to […]

This Week In My Classes: Team Brontë!

I got a bit snippy with the tweeters from Oxford World’s Classics a couple of days ago. Poor things: they were just doing their job, spreading some news about great books and trying to get people to click through and read it. How could they know that I was already feeling grumpy, for reasons quite beyond […]

This (Short) Week In My Classes: Canons and Catastrophes

Thanks to Dalhousie benefactor George Munro, we have Friday off, which means that I’ve already wrapped up my teaching week. Hooray! Because although we are in the midst of some great books in both classes, I am feeling both tired and distracted, and an extra day or two to get my brain caught up with […]

This Week In My Classes: Vanity Fair

Teaching Vanity Fair is always a morally significant experience: it prompts so much reflection on what really matters, both in the world you actually live in, and in the world you wish you lived in. One of the earliest essays I wrote for Open Letters Monthly was on this aspect of Vanity Fair — on the way that it […]

This Week In My Classes: Back to Busy-ness

It always takes a couple of weeks for a term to rev up and really get going: we have to get through a certain amount of reading, for example, before much writing can be done and thus for much marking to be needed. We are passing that point now, though, and this week I have […]

This Week In My Classes: The Pride and Prejudice Paradox

I don’t teach it very often anymore: it’s too popular. This is my version, I guess, of Yogi Berra’s line “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” Pride and Prejudice is the only work I ever teach (in any genre) that has routinely been read already, often multiple times, by many of the students in […]

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