Thursday, September 3, 2009

orientation irk

This week has been so all-out flattening, I've forgotten what components of my life have been neglected. I come home, and if the rage at some particular point raised in orientation or frustration at the rush hour (part of being a college student generally means wonky schedule, which generally means the bonus of zippy traffic experiences, but orientation brings us firmly in the parameters of real-world scheduling, which is misery, particularly for someone like me)--if these burbling emotions have not dissipated, I stomp around a bit, and then Ryan settles me down with some ridiculous movie, or I read a book of poems whose clarity or language cheers me (Here, Bullet was tonight's reading, and though it is not flawless, there are points of buoyancy and it was enough to remove me from the funk--I also recently finished Old Heart by Stanley Plumly, which I adored).

Orientation for composition courses is nearly over, not without the requisite drama and doldrums.

But, I am amused at one of my fiction peers' characterizations of our sessions. I mentioned how the MFAs seemed to be the misfits in the back of the classroom, our arms firmly crossed, New Yorkers surreptitiously paged through. Being comp, the sneered-at division of language and humanities, known as a torture device for some MFAs (just to clarify: I requested comp--no lie), there is a motley mix of graduate instructors, ranging from the die-hard Writing Studies Ph.Ds, to American Studies grad students, to Lit grad students, to us (MFAs). My friend, whose swing-messing metaphor remains a vehicle for describing poor writing a year later, pointed out that the Writing Studies people loved talking in terms of rhetoric and Aristotle and ethos, the American Studies and Lit people loved applying their gender and socio-economic and post-colonial lenses, and the MFAs loved picking at the language and form.

Ah, predictability and your sweet little boxes you fit us into.


Jessie Carty said...

i will love hearing how the comp teaching goes. i really want to try a class at some point but too scared to do it :)

Molly said...

Jessie: I'm really looking forward to it, actually. I have a lot of fun lessons planned, etc., and I love teaching any kind of writing. I requested it partly because that's where the jobs are, but also because I hadn't exactly had a good experience teaching lit the year before, and I knew I probably wouldn't get creative writing--so I chose it, which is a bit unique for those of us who are MFAs-teaching-comp.

nikkita said...

Please please if you have any advice for teaching comp, or ideas about how you plan to approach it, let me know! I am teaching it this semester with no prior teaching experience, and it's all argument based and I don't know how to bring the love of writing into it yet.

In our comp prep orientation, a girl with prior teaching experience said she didn't like teaching comp to the "creative writers" because they were too sure of themselves and not open to criticism. The 10 CW grads all cringed and glared :)

Best of luck! Hope you have a nice semester.