Tuesday, November 28, 2006

This is what the office is for

One hour 50 minutes left before I drive. The floor of my office is strewn with articles and notes, and slides from previous talks. I've made good progress today. I think I'll be well prepared for this class tonight. It's a three hour class. That's a lot of time. What makes it harder is that the subject of my talk is [Field 1 & Field 2 studies]. You ever realize how hard it is to narrow down a topic that you've spent so many years expanding? From that standpoint, three hours should be fine. It's not like a conference paper, which you have to distill to 20 minutes. That said, it still feels like there is so much I could talk about. Figuring out how the many pieces fit together into one cohesive whole, and deciding which parts to just cast off, is the hard part.

I like deadlines, because they give me something concrete to work towards. But, as you can gather from my current state, I'm out of practice preparing for a class. There's the sense that the longer it's been since I've taught a class, the higher my expectations are for this one. It also helps that my friend for whose class I'm teaching happens to be co-chairing a search committee for two posts in [Field 1/subfield 2] at her school this year. Now do you understand why I'm a bit nervous, and still working on this thing just hours before the class? The application deadline is in January. I'll be having dinner with her before class, so maybe I'll broach the subject if it seems appropriate.

Meantime, there is a class full of students who are expecting to hear wisdom and enlightenment from me. Let's hope I don't fail to inspire them.

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