I am absolutely inundated in work. All of it is good and fun, but oh man it’s a lot.
I started teaching my Shakespeare Appreciation class today for the OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute at Tufts. OSHER is a continuing adult education program and they have an office at Tufts, so we graduate students frequently get pinged to pitch seminars at the program we might be interested in teaching. Of course I saw this as an opportunity to talk about Will with a roomful of willing victims pupils, so I proposed a class. It was snapped up immediately with great enthusiasm. Once accepted, the course hit high
registration numbers which is even more exciting. On the whole, I felt that the program really supported the possibility of a successful workshop.
I’m teaching As you Like it and King Lear over the course of eight weeks (with one odd little hiccup next week; since it’s Spring Break we won’t be holding seminar). We started by discussing the first two acts of As You today. I framed this with a discussion of Shakespeare’s early years as well as the pastoral genre and the differences we find between court and country in Shakespeare’s play. I also showed a clip from the Branagh film. While I don’t think it’s the best example out there of a well performed As you Like it (the concept is confused at best, and blenderized at worst…) I do think that it provides a great forum for discussion.
My class consists of fifteen students all well into their adult years with a plethora of backgrounds. This is really exciting because it means that I have the opportunity to chat with all different levels of Shakespearience in one room. I did a lot of lecture today, which I hope to remedy in the future, but by the time we were into the film they were ready to jump in with their own thoughts.
Teaching this workshop is a lot more relaxing than teaching a standard college course. First of all, there’s no grading (which, by the way, takes up an enormous time devotion if you’re doing it right). Secondly, everyone in that room really wants to be there and is dedicated to getting something out of the class. This is wonderful because it gives me the opportunity to assume that we’re all interested in the topic rather than fulfilling our gen ed requirements. There’s already the spark of curiosity in this room, which goes a long way towards generating good wholesome dialogue amongst ourselves. Last, and certainly not least, these are adults. They are older than I am. They have vastly more world experience than I do. They are definitely ready to learn from me, but I am so stoked about the possibilities of what they see in the material. Their smorgasbord of experience, so different from mine, is really going to highlight this text from an entirely new perspective than the ones I’m used to.
So while my Mondays just got longer, I’m totally mind-numbingly ecstatic about it. It’s going to be a lot to work through, but I think it will definitely be worthwhile; both for me and for my new students.