Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Buffet: Teaching New Lit Courses!

Having taught mostly at the technical and community college levels over the years, I don't get an opportunity to teach new courses often. It's mostly those ole freshman composition courses, developmental courses, and the occasional oddball writing or reading class. When I was a graduate student I was teaching or helping teach other things like children's lit, film, and guest lecturing on graphic novels, fairy tales, and even picture books.

The college where I work has recently added some new bachelors programs, and with those come additional teaching opportunities. Next term I'll have two sections of "Science Fiction and Fantasy" and one section of "Literature and Film." This is the first time I've gotten to teach either of them since grad school, and I cannot WAIT!

The way our school is structured, many of the required readings and the textbook choices come down from central administration. We have some choice in what else we bring into the class, but an overall structure is in place. With this in mind, we'll be reading the following:

Film and Lit:

Our main textbook is Adaptation: Studying Film and Literature. We will also be reading Stephen King's novella, "The Body" from the Different Seasons collection. We'll watch Stand By Me as a companion to it. We'll also be reading and watching Twelve Angry Men. Now these probably wouldn't have been my choices, so I'll likely bring in some additional materials like a portion of Daniel Clowes' Ghost World and the film adaptation. I had a wonderful adaptation class as a grad student, and I can't wait to share some of what we watched and read with my students.

In the Science Fiction & Fantasy class, we'll be using Science Fiction: Stories and Contexts edited by Heather Masri. We'll also be reading and watching a collection of stuff including The Great Fairy Tale Tradition by Jack Zipes and watching the adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Stardust. We'll be reading Ender's Game and watching Starship Troopers and Deep Impact. There's more, but according to the textbook list, I'm a little unsure what we'll be reading, what we'll be watching, and what we'll be reading AND watching. I've done a lot of work with sci-fi and fantasy over the years, so I'm really excited about this one, too.

I always have a blast putting together new course materials for classes like these, and I'll probably start on that ASAP. I'll keep you posted as my short story and excerpt reading list takes shape!


  1. This sounds fantastic!!!! I was an English and Creative Writing major but somehow I got wrapped up in the Corporate Business world and never got out and still in it 16 years later (blech) ...and I need to get out, it's driving me nuts!! Can you hear my jealousy of these flippin' cool classes that you'll be teaching, and just the fact that you're a college teacher in general is enough to make me absolutely green with envy! Okay, will put that aside for now to tell you that these courses sound sooo cool! Sheesh, I would have loved to take a Sci Fi/Fantasy class in college!!

  2. Cool classes! I probably would not have taken Science Fiction, but Shakespeare was one of the most popular courses on campus in my day because the prof also showed film adaptations (samurai Macbeth, Russian King Lear) of the plays. Indelible.
    Don't fret over Twelve Angry Men--it's a classic & sadly, things haven't changed all that much...

  3. What cool classes! Sounds like it's going to be a very interesting semester!

    At first I saw Starship Troopers and was thinking of Super Troopers, which is...er...not science fiction.

  4. How exciting for you to be taking on a new challenge. I can't wait to hear all about the books and films your class will be reading and watching so we can all add them to our list too!

  5. Oooh, I want to come take your classes!!!! I really, really do!!!!

  6. I'm with Debi, I want to take a class with you! Your students are gonna love you. Congrats!

  7. Yay! I'm glad you shared this with us! It's interesting that the central administration is the one that pick the materials and the general structure of a class. Was it the same way when you were teaching at community colleges?

  8. Congrats on getting these classes! I know from experience that getting to teach anything outside of composition is difficult. It is such a wonderful break from straight up essay grading.

  9. Coffee and a Book Chick, I was hung up in corporate in the beginning of my college career. I interned as a graphic designer for a Fortune 500 company in Dallas, and corporate design was soul-sucking! I got out quick and switched my major to English. I've never looked back! Teaching is a great, if stressful at times, job. Getting to do new classes like these makes it even more fun.

    DS, my students are a bit of a captive audience. We have new Bachelors programs and limited advanced English classes, so they may not want to take SF either! I hope I can pull stories and films that will intrigue and bring them over to my side, though!

    Jenny, LOL! Interesting indeed.

    Kathleen, I'll definitely keep you posted. I read a new-to-me short story in the sf anthology yesterday. Octavia Butler and WHOA! Crazy! Loved it!

    Debi, come on! I'd love to have you. :D

    Thanks, Iliana! I hope I can make it interesting for them.

    Vasilly, that's not the case at a community college. I teach at a "career college" now--technical school--and central administration is a bigger part of the structure than anywhere else I've been. I thought it would be stifling at first, but we have a lot of choice in how we reach our objectives, so I'm OK with it most of the time.

    Amen, Trisha! I'm looking forward to giving some different assignments from the ones I usually do.

  10. What fun! It's nice you have some flexibility with titles, and I hope you enjoy the variety of teaching new things!

  11. I loved my lit & film seminar in university! Looks like you've made some nice choices. Different Seasons is an awesome book! Shawshank Redemption is adapted from a short story in that series too, as is Apt Pupil (though it's not a great movie).

  12. I took a children's lit and film course my first summer as a grad student and LOVED it! The class met twice a week. On the first day we would discuss the book, and then on the second we'd watch the movie and then discuss it. It was great fun :) Definitely keep us posted as the class progresses!

  13. Also: LOVED Ender's Game :)


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