le plus loin le plus serré

le plus loin le plus serré
mourning art

in memoriam

"yet I tell you, from the sad knowledge of my older experience, that to every one of you a day will most likely come when sunshine, hope, presents and pleasure will be worth nothing to you in comparison with the unattainable gift of your mother's kiss." (Christina Rossetti, "Speaking Likenesses," 1873)

Friday, October 30, 2009


as soon as i posted my blithering about not knowing what to put on my syllabus, i realized i had at least a second awesome title: I AM THE MESSENGER.

so: Un Lun Dun, and I am the Messenger.

now: build-a-theme workshop time.

what should I teach?

I have to put together my book order soon (today is the deadline, but that won't happen) for my spring semester of Childhood's Books. This may very well be my last semester of teaching at my university; I'm in my final funded year, though not (alas) in my final year of dissertation work. In light of this, I want to put together a fabulous syllabus - an especially fabulous syllabus, I should say, since I always strive for fabulosity.

But what to teach? I'm torn between teaching my favorites, willy-nilly, or putting together some kind of organized theme. This term, my theme is history (past, present, future). I've had smash hits with Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK, and with Rick Riordan's THE LIGHTNING THIEF. It's tempting to teach these again, because they get such a good response from the students, but then, I also want to branch out and try some things I've never taught before.

I suspect that I am placing WAY too much importance on this last syllabus; it may very well NOT be the last syllabus, and anyway, it's my sixth semester of teaching this particular course. I have a stack of well-planned syllabi for this class to draw upon, and to use for my eventual teaching portfolio.

But the problem remains: what to teach?

I would really, really like to teach China Mieville's UN LUN DUN. But other than that, I don't think I have any particular commitments to specific titles.

Syllabus making is one of the best parts of teaching, but it can also be the most stressful. And since right now, I have a pile of midterms to grade along with a conference paper to prepare, the syllabus work is exceedingly stressful.