my friend, F, called me yesterday and asked, "how's your class going????"
"it sucks," i told her.
she then launched into a million ways that i could improve my lecture. being a seasoned lecturer herself, F has a million strategies to build rapport with students, to engage them in the lecture, to use technology. in short, she has skills.
yes, the act of lecturing is difficult. but my subject matter is equally difficult. this week i'm supposed to be lecturing about how race and class interact. you know that one affects the other. you know that they work together. you might even be able to point to some examples. but what is the specific argument that you make to students about the intersections race and class.
today i tried to use one of our democratic presidential candidates as an example. i just read an article in The Wall Street Journal about him, and i thought it was an interesting how the authors uses him to signify class division within the black community. according to the article, he just doesn't mean as much to working class blacks as he does to middle class blacks. it's interesting, but unsure of how to articulate the BIG argument around that specific example.
grappling with these issues in a smaller class would be easier because we could have a discussion, but in a class of 90 students, not so much.
that's the thing about being a professor. part of it is the performative aspect of teaching (the "skills" my friend, F, has in abundance). the other part is an intellectual endeavor. you want your students to think critically about issues you discuss in class. however, as a professor, you have to do the intellectual "leg work" to make connections between different bodies of literature. ideally, you present the ideas, and the students take them and think about them. i feel like i'm experiencing a breakdown in how the transmission of knowledge is supposed to occur!
sorry for the rant. only 7 1/2 more weeks of the quarter! bet me that by week 10 i'm going to finally have the hang of things.