Mostly (not) on McSweeney's!

A blog for my academic ideas, more or less.

Non-Writing

I started this job in November. I have not had much time to work on my PhD. I work four days in Oxfam. I teach one day at Goldsmiths. On one of the other days I tell myself I am going to do PhD work but mostly do teaching prep. On the other day I sleep and tidy my room and usually watch football games on television/via the internet/in the pub.

Doing a PhD part-time is hard. It is even harder when you work virtually full-time and are physically and therefore usually mentally exhausted when you finish work.

This is not meant to be a complaint.

I enjoy my job and I enjoy teaching and I enjoy my PhD. I wish I could maybe just do university teaching without the need for the PhD but not just teach like twenty weeks a year I’d like to teach fifty-two weeks a year or maybe forty-nine and the problem is that I would like to teach university level and not high-school level. One possible solution is to find ways to do the things I enjoy about teaching in other parts of my life like with friends or with book groups or maybe become a performance poet whose schtick is audience participation and getting people to do literary exercises. This last idea sounds like it could almost work and be something “innovative” and fun but maybe not.

Some other things that have been in my head when thinking about teaching lately:

  • The Dave Eggers (and others)-written book Teachers Have It Easy which has lots of stuff about teachers being smart and creative and underpaid.
  • The recent brouhaha about funding and stuff in universities. I liked the pull quote “post-graduates to replace professors” as I have issues with some teaching methods practised by established staff and think that more emphasis should be placed on teaching when that’s what the bulk of undergraduates are there for but this is a complex issue and I am just mentioning it here as an illustration of part of the current internal workings of my head.
  • Inspired by my friend Jack I got my students to make poetry graphs.
  • Growing sentences with David Foster Wallace turns out to be a great way to teach syntax.

I have like five or six weeks of teaching left. I will focus more on my PhD then.

Other things I have been thinking about:

  • Lydia Davis
  • Writing a review of Zeitoun for a friend’s magazine.
  • Trying to negotiate my reading list and working out ways to allow myself to not read some stuff.
  • The great article on mules in the last New Yorker.
  • Not really understanding Google Buzz but possibly this is because I already use Tumblr.

That’s “probably” it for now.

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