Saturday, April 13, 2013

advice needed

I'm going to apply this week to teach non-credit classes at our community college.  Our CC is terrific-- very involved in the community and committed to providing the kinds of education/training that local employers want, as well as the usual--providing the first two years of college for students who want to go on to a four-year school.  But another wonderful thing they do is provide a forum for continuing education--non-credit classes that anyone can take about any topic that interests them.  Now that I've finished school, I can present a proposal to teach a non-credit class (or as many as I want).

First of all, this is scary to me. Funny--when I was younger but didn't have the credentials, I would have confidently stepped up to the plate, sure that I could teach people just about anything I know, and probably wing it to teach some things that I don't know all that well.  Now I am older and have the credentials, but I can't imagine that I have anything useful to teach anybody.  Oh, to be young and cocky again.

So here are my ideas, tell me which ones you think might work.  And also let me know what else you'd find interesting.

Ulysses-- James Joyce's 1921 masterpiece is often referred to as the greatest novel of the twentieth century, but few people have read it.  Ulysses is the story of a single day--June 16, 1904-- in Dublin, following Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom as they make their way around the city, and ending with a chapter from Molly Bloom, Leopold's wife.  The eighteen episodes present a variety of narrative strategies employed by Joyce to represent the complexity of conveying human experience.  This eight week course will be a guided tour of the novel, providing the background and context you need to take on this challenging work.

NaNoWriMo-- Did you know that November is National Novel Writing Month?  Every year in November, thousands of writers use the motivation of NaNoWriMo to finish a 50,000 word first draft in 30 days.  This class will meet for two weeks in October to plan our novels, plus weekly meetings and online support during the month of November to write a first draft.  It's crazy, fun, and addictive! (Note: you don't need to take this class to participate in NaNoWriMo, which is free and open to everyone at the NaNoWriMo website.)

What's Happening in Young Adult (YA) Literature-- This four-week course is designed to serve as both a survey of contemporary YA literature and a forum for generating ideas for encouraging teenagers to read.  We will read a novel each week, with suggested options for reading many more.  Course topics will include:  Get Your YA Out: Defining YA Literature, Current Trends, Beyond the Bestseller Lists, and Encouraging Reluctant Readers: Non-Fiction, Humor, Adventure, and Illustrated Novels.  The course is open to teens and adults who are interested in YA literature. 

History of the Romance Novel--Romance novels generate over a billion dollars a year in sales, yet many readers hold them in contempt.  What's going on?  This six week course will start with a discussion of "women's fiction": what is meant by the term? why is its use often an implicit criticism? are women such indiscriminate readers that they are incapable of determining what is "good" literature?  is there a place for stories about heterosexual love in the midst of changing ideas about gender and orientation? We will read a novel each week, starting with Jane Austen and moving forward to contemporary novels, along the way covering topics such as the evolution of the heroine, romance as a vehicle for exploring sexual politics, and subgenres such as mystery, suspense and paranormal.


  1. You can totally do this and will rock doing it!

    If I were there and looking at courses to take for fun, I would probably go for the YA class because I like YA lit. Second choice would be the romance course. I'm not a writer so the NaNoWriMo wouldn't appeal to me and I have to say I tried to read Ulysses once and never want to try again. But then, that's just me. I'm sure other people will have other opinions.

  2. History of the Romance Novel gets my vote.