Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Zombies, and Faulkner, and Letters, oh my!

This semester, I am teaching two hybrid 116 classes, so both of those are new for me! Prior to this, I taught basic writing courses at UCSD, tutor training at Mesa, and a couple 115 courses. Because I was a new teacher, my friends helped me out A LOT as I pieced together course schedules, reading materials, and lesson plans. I don't know what I would do without my colleagues.

This semester, I was given the opportunity to peek in on some of my colleague's courses, but from there, I chose all of my reading materials and let my excitement run free. I am thrilled at the choices I made for our readings this semester. I am, of course, cautiously optimistic as sometimes we think we have the most exciting, engaging, thought-provoking material around, and it falls flat.

My "theme" in the class is relationships: our relationships with friends and family, our partners, and our communities. To delve into the topics, we will be looking at epistolary texts, an awesome group of short stories, and a unit on zombies.

I'm not going to lie: the students have expressed a lot of interest in the zombie literature. We are looking specifically at a few zombie short stories (beginning with a chapter from Zora Neale Hurston's book Tell My Horse) and the students will be writing their research papers on our culture's "obsession" with zombies. I'm excited to see what they come up with. :)

After listening to our opening day speaker, I have been thinking a lot about the kind of student I was. I'm trying to connect back to her to remember the classes I had to miss when I couldn't find a babysitter, the buses I had to leave class early to catch, and the hours of sleep I missed because between working two-three jobs and having two kids, I didn't have much time to both sleep and do homework. Sometimes the homework won, sometimes it was sleep. I had quite a few caring and understanding professors. I had some who weren't. I want to make sure that all of my students know that I want them to succeed. I write that on my syllabus, so I want to make sure that they believe it.

Here's to a new semester.


  1. Yay for zombie lit! I look forward to hearing how this goes. I'd love to teach World War Z or Day to Day Armageddon, or Dan Moody's Hater. They will bring such interesting things to it...

  2. Hooray for zombies! Hooray for the epistolary theme! Make me think of Dracula (wrong monster, but close). I also thought of Walker's Color Purple, Sapphire's Push, and M.K. Asante's Buck:A Memoir (Asante's coming to campus this semester, too). Not only are they epistolary but they also take as their theme the place of writing to claim/create and identity.

    Jeff Duncan-Andrade's talk was super inspiring. Thanks for reminding me. Could always use those kind of reminders about students' multiple priorities and situations.