First Week Reflections

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009 by Rachel

1) Teaching in the morning is much different than teaching around lunchtime or in the afternoon. My 9 o’clock students still seem sleepy. My 10 o’clock students have woken up. Maybe their energy will fade as the semester continues. I am not a morning person.


2) Freshmen are idealistic and delusional. I don’t want to kill their idealism or delusions, but I do worry about them. For example, yesterday I found out that there is a program where guys drive around in golf carts and pick up girls who are walking by themselves on campus. Don’t these poor cute Southern sorority girls realize that they can’t trust the guys in golf carts either?


3) I have to memorize two poems this semester. I’m going to try to complete one by mid-October and one by the end of the semester. The last class I memorized a poem for was a completely horrible fever-inducing mess. I worked SO hard on memorizing this awful little eight line poem as requested by my instructor. I showed up on the day assigned, ready to recite, and I was the only person in class who completed the assignment. I recited it okay, with a few messups, and the instructor said we’d come back to it next week when everyone else could recite it. We never came back to it.



4) I still think that pedagogy is tiresome and boring. I want to read an essay where I say “that’s my class, and, by golly, now I know how to fix it!” instead of lofty discussions of long dead philosophers. I’m not worried about completing my 20 page research paper on composition, but who knows what I want to write about? I’ll have to decide some sort of focus by late-September


5) I’m excited about working on a literary journal (Arts & Letters!) where people seem genuinely concerned about what kind of poetry goes into the magazine. No more popularity contests or domineering editors! I have been introduced as an equal reader.


6) I’ve decided to devote Friday afternoons 12-5 to finishing my long-neglected campus novel. I’ve got the whole plot. I’ve got the characters. I’ve got the writing. No more fumbling around! I have no excuses and need some sort of regimented schedule to keep me going.


7) Some have ignored the fact that I’ve taught before. NAU gave me the opportunity to teach classes and work in the writing center during the four semesters I was there. I deserve to be here, and I earned my right to teach my first semester. While I’m definitely NOT an expert yet, I can handle my way around the classroom just fine. I know what I’m doing, and I’m excited about doing it. I don’t like being treated 100% like a newbie. I already have a Master’s degree people!


8) HTML code does not like #8. So this point just has to look super stylish all glammed out in sunglasses. Sorry!…If I have one goal during my MFA work, it is to get published. I am waiting anxiously to hear back from this contest: Once September results come around, I will be sending out poems like a crazy person! (Or not, if my whole book gets published!)


9) I’ve already begun working on my thesis. Marty wants to read my MA thesis to get a feel for my last book and we’ll be meeting about it after Labor Day. I have a lot of ideas about what I want to do while I’m here.


10) My poetry workshop is small, with six students. But only two of the six (me and Stephan) are poets, so this should lead to an interesting dynamic. I don’t think I like being outnumbered!


  1. Sounds like a good first week! I hope you like it there in Milledgeville. I lived in Macon for 5 years doing undergrad, and I would visit the school occasionally for readings. I think Marty is really swell.

    I’m about to start at UNCG on Monday, and I have a feeling it will be quite like your week. How did you get over new-teacher jitters? I’m going to be an instructional assistant (more than a preceptor, but not quite a TA), and I am quite terrified.

  2. Marty is wonderful! He’s one of the major reasons why I ended up here!

    I’ve been teaching for two years already, so I didn’t really have new-teacher jitters anymore than when I show up as a student for a new class.

    Teaching is weird. As soon as you’re standing in front of the room and everyone’s staring at you, you sort of take on this new persona. You realize that you know a LOT more than all of the students and that you are an authority figure. It’s a nice ego booster :)

  3. Wow Rachel! I didn’t even think about the fact that you already have a masters and thus a completed manuscript already! I hope someone takes it!

    So if the other people in your poetry workshop aren’t poets, what are they? Is it fiction people taking poetry? It’s probably obvious lol

  4. I hope someone takes my manuscript too! :)

    Not obvious at all! The class breaks down into 3 fiction people,1 playwright, and 2 poets. Weird setup!

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