Wednesday, January 13, 2010

No Time to Waste

The new semester has begun at CU, and I'm teaching three classes: Intro to Ethics (which I teach all the time, where I know the readings by heart and have every witty comment down pat), Rousseau (which I've taught twice before, but, oh, there is TONS of reading and I will need to re-read all of it in order to teach it well), and Philosophy and Society (which I haven't taught for years, and for which I'm using a new textbook I've never used before).

I am going to have to prepare! And I'm not used to preparing. I've fallen into a blissful rut of teaching Intro to Ethics over and over again. One year I taught it five times: twice each semester (both in a large-lecture format with 150-200 students in the class and in a small seminar format over in the Farrand Hall Residential Academic Program), and in Maymester (our three-week intensive May "semester") as well. There was no reason NOT to keep teaching it over and over again: it was easy for me, and the students loved it, and really, I never get tired of talking about Aristotle and Epictetus and my other beloved philosophers from the past.

But every once in a while, it's good to do something new. So I'm doing it.

This means that I am going to have to start using my time more productively. No longer will I be able to sit at my desk in my office dreamily checking Facebook or Googling to see if I happen to have won any prizes that somebody forgot to tell me about. My down time will have to be "up time" - working up these new readings, making notes, deciding how best to prepare the material. No more will I sit on the Skip counting the cars going by in the opposite direction (I love to count things!). No, I will be sitting on the Skip reading Rousseau!

I've resolved NOT to start counting down the weeks of the semester, much as I do love countdowns. I will NOT count my life away! I'm just going to focus on making each day happy and productive. "Be intent on the perfection of the present day" is one of my mantras. This semester I'm actually going to follow it.


  1. Oh what a pair we will make on a walk someday. You will count the cars and I will classify them by color, size, and shape. Meanwhile, best of energy in getting all that reading and planning done.

  2. I would love to take that walk with you!