Between grants, preparing to move the lab* and having a new student start it has been very easy to ignore the elephant in the room. Now that I have weekend plans (including a date night with my wife, who has been very tolerant of my long hours) and only a few days before classes start up again, the elephant is starting to get gassy and is becoming impossible to ignore. In my case, that elephant is the course I have to teach this semester.
As courses go, it should be incredibly straight-forward. It's a grad class with only about 6 students and it's on a topic that I find fascinating. I think this class is going to be something I really enjoy doing, but for an unknown reason I am completely paralyzed when it comes to planning for the class, now that it is right around the corner. I have a general idea of how I want to teach it, but I can't bring myself to lay out the schedule or deal with the syllabus. There is no real reason of my complete avoidance, but it is a bit daunting to have an entire course to plan from scratch. Like most people in my position, I don't have any formal teacher training and have never had to plan a course. Since I have been here I have only concentrated on research, which is entirely familiar and not the least bit scary. It's what gets me up in the morning (well, technically I get up to the screaming of our hungry alarm clock that needs a new diaper) and why I put in long hours. Teaching is the thing I always knew I would have to do, but haven't looked forward to. I am confident I will enjoy teaching, but for now it represents the great unknown. Today, however, I brought my elephant gun and it's huntin' time... after lunch.
*I got to go over to the new building again today and tour my new space. I didn't want to leave. Like yearning for a distant lover, it's constantly in my thoughts. I can't wait until I can see it again, move in with it and start a new life together. Alright, maybe that's creepy, but the space rocks.