Monday, October 29, 2012

The syllabus switch

You know the nightmare: walk into class prepared to discuss a particular text--but it's the wrong one.

I thought I'd left that nightmare behind in grad school but today I lived it. Yes! I arrived in African-American Literature all set to discuss poems by Ntozake Shange and Nikki Giovanni, but the students were prepared to discuss August Wilson's play Joe Turner's Come and Gone. Because that's what the syllabus says. Right: they read the syllabus correctly but I goofed.

And here's the worst part: I've never taught Joe Turner's Come and Gone. Never even read it. But I will--by Wednesday. Today my students came through in a pinch and did some group work on poems by Shange and Giovanni after I did a little spontaneous syllabus-shuffling song and dance. Free entertainment! What else is that Ph.D. good for?

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