As I’ve written here before, this summer I’m teaching a class at my university on the centenary of the Treaty of Versailles that brought an official end to World War I, the Great War. This also marks my first time teaching a class during a summer semester. This is an update on that experience and what it means to me, personally. Today is the end of my first week teaching this class. The class is only three consecutive weeks so in a “nutshell,” today means it is already a third of the way through!
Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I want to explain that I’m unable to conduct the class bare and the students aren’t able to attend the class clothes-free. We’re in the District of Columbia and the laws in the district aren’t that relaxed or tolerant. Both I and the class must wear clothing in public!
Excuse my digression, please! With one-third of the classroom time almost officially over, I can report that my class time for this summer will be done by the end of this month, May, 2019. That allows me the months of June and July to relax and enjoy myself before the arrival of August and efforts of beginning classes again in September. It’s not as much freedom (i.e. bare time) that I would prefer but it is still better than nothing whatsoever!
There were projections of between forty and fifty students for this class when it was originally offered. The School of Inter-Disciplinary Studies requested a larger classroom due to the high enrollment projection. Because of the campus renovation projects, the university declined the request. This past Monday morning, a new student roster was shared with the faculty and the official number of students, as of last Friday at 5:00 p.m., was at 78. Much larger than anyone imagined.
After waiting for almost an hour outside Monday morning, we were instructed to take our place in the university’s Chapel and then informed that for the remainder of our scheduled time, this is where the class would be located.
This is proving to be an even more rewarding class than I could ever imagine. The students are all very enthusiastic and are very well informed on a topic that both I and my co-instructors feared would not permit us the ability to follow the notations we had made when we first taught the class during the Spring semester. The result is that we have had to adopt our plans and focus more on group discussions as well as incorporating other ideas and research into keeping the students involved, challenged and rewarded.
The only serious problem that I am facing is the time allotted for our class. An entire semester is conducted in a three-week period. The classes are from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. every day as opposed to my usual schedule of hour-long classes. It does make for a fairly long day but with a two-month break before I have to return to the classroom, I imagine I can live with the torture!