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Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Teach It, Then Read It
I am happy to report that I have just put the finishing touches on my second syllabus, a true labor of love. It is for a course I've always wanted to teach but have never had the opportunity to teach until this semester. The syllabus is good, if I may say so: the course is challenging for upper-division students (it is a seminar for juniors and seniors), the assignments are meaningful (and not only for this course), the readings are timely and significant, and the overall topic is simply good, complicated, nerdy fun.
I felt very "professorly" as I was putting this together, realizing that I hadn't read some of the pieces I was assigning for my students. It was fun to search through major journals that I knew published solid work on this topic and select articles I thought might be interesting. Skimming the articles, it was nice to know that I was educated enough to determine if my students could benefit from them just by reading the abstracts. The entire time I thought back to one of the exclamations of my favorite professor in graduate school. When asked if he'd read an important article in our discipline, he responded, "Read it? I haven't even taught it yet!"