Tag Archives: teaching

Next Week In My Classes: Who, Me? Intimidating?

Teaching evaluations (or “Student Ratings of Instruction” as we apparently call them these days) are a notoriously … imperfect … guide for future conduct. Probably because we all spent many, many years being graded, professors nonetheless read them obsessively compulsively carefully and fret about freak out pay special attention to the most negative ones, because at […]

This Week in My Classes: Processes and Products

The second full week of term has gone by already: it’s amazing how time seems to accelerate when things get busier. In both my classes we have moved from throat-clearing and context-setting to richer discussions about our readings: in The 19th-Century Novel from Austen to Dickens, we’ve wrapped up our work on Persuasion, and in […]

Teaching Art: “Let me describe it to you”

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that we’ve been watching one of The Learning Company’s ‘Great Courses,’ The History of European Art. In the comments thread, I noted that the lecturer’s favorite move is to “describe” an artwork to us. At first glance (so to speak!) that seems an odd strategy: we’re looking right at […]

The May Marks Meeting: That’s What It’s All About

Today we held one of our department’s most cherished and loathed rituals: the “May Marks Meeting.” It’s called that because one of its key elements is the annual review of students’ marks in aid of awarding our departmental scholarships and prizes, and also because we go over the standing of all of our current graduate […]

Is Cormac McCarthy a Terrible Writer?

For the record, I don’t think so. In fact, I think he’s brilliant. Mind you, so far I’ve read only The Road. [Update: now I've also read No Country for Old Men.] Still, though I had my doubts when I began it for the first time, by the time I finished it I was under the spell of […]

This Week In My Classes: Cranford and The Road

The honeymoon is over. At the beginning of every term things putter along easily enough while I wonder why I felt so stressed out at the end of the previous term … and then marking starts to come in, and the new assignment sequences dreamed up over the break loom on the horizon and require […]

This Week In My Classes: Information and Education

We’re starting new books in both of my classes this week (well, weather permitting, we are, anyway!): The Road in Introduction to Literature and Cranford in 19th-Century Fiction. What makes this a particularly exciting but also daunting prospect for me is that they aren’t just the next books on our syllabus but they are also […]

This Week in My Classes: Focus on Writing

I don’t seem to be posting my teaching updates with the regularity I used to: “this week” too often means “last week” or “these days.” I was wondering why I put off posting, and I think it’s because after doing this series for so long, I worry about repeating myself if I simply report on […]

This Week In My Classes: The Value of F2F

Last week I cancelled two regular class meetings for my Introduction to Literature Class and instead set up individual conferences, 15 minutes per students. (If you want to do the math, of the 26 registered students 24 ended up meeting with me, so that was six actual contact hours in place of two, and since it […]

From the Archives: The Last Time I Taught Bleak House

For some reason this phrase has been running through my head to the tune of “The Last Time I Saw Paris.” I don’t know why I would be feeling nostalgic about teaching Bleak House, though it was rather a while ago–it was Fall 2008, to be precise. Because we’ve started work on it in my 19th-century […]

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