Very soon (two and a half weeks from now!) I'm going to be teaching a three-week course on World War II. I'm terrified about this because: a.) after all this sickness and travel, I'm getting behind on my writing; b.) the syllabus is due on Thursday, and there is so much that I still haven't done; and c.) it's been two years since I've done any teaching work (and I've never been in charge of my own class all by myself). I know that I'm more than qualified: I did all the comps reading, I've helped to design courses, I've guest-lectured, and I've been a TA more times that I can count. But it's still scary.
Chris knew that I was getting stressed out about all of this, and so he offered me an opportunity to ease back into the classroom environment in a small, pressure-free way: he's bringing me in to his Film & Video 12 class, to talk with the kids about Leni Riefenstahl and The Triumph of the Will. They're going to be finishing watching the film tomorrow, and a required part of the course is to watch the film and learn about the context. And boy, do I know about the film, the filmmaker and the context. (I did a lot of research about Riefenstahl for a course I designed years ago.) So, all I have to do is go into a small class, full of kids that I already know, and talk about a filmmaker, a film, and a historical period that I can't shut up about anyway.
The principal of Chris's school heard that I'm coming to school on Monday, and asked if I could also talk with the Social Studies 11 class about primary sources and about research. He's encouraging me to show the kids some primary sources from my own research, to give them an idea of what a historian does.
You know, I'm actually giddy about tomorrow morning. I'm going to get a chance to get used to talking to a class again, in an situation where I get to have a laid-back conversation about things that really interest me. And then I'm going to get set up in an unused office and get some serious work done on my course and my dissertation. (And, having forced myself to write at Chris's school before, I know that I'll make some good progress tomorrow: talking about history will clear out my head, and then the unfamiliar office will be free of distractions, with only my work to entertain me.)
Now I must sleep. Early morning tomorrow.