It’s one thing to be sitting in a classroom discussion as a student– its something entirely different to be leading the discussion as an instructor. I’ve enjoyed teaching scientific facts and promoting inquiry-based learning in science, but it’s a new experience for me to be leading discussions rooted in my literary interests.
It really makes a difference to have an enthusiastic group of students and a classroom where we can sit in a circle. I taught about the history of illness narratives, which I’m simultaneously writing about for my thesis. It was a strange experience to be crafting leading questions by voice that I have also been trying to ask in my writing.
I think one of my teaching goals for the semester is to get better at tackling silences. There’s an art to teaching in silence, to allowing quiet to linger for just long enough for thought generation, without letting this surpass into daydreams and uncomfortable, awkward silences. I’m working on it.
It was a thought-provoking first discussion class, and I’m looking forward to keeping the conversations going. Up next: excerpts from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and her poems Lady Lazarus and Tulips.