Old prep, new prep, I prep, you prep
Posted by Melissa on December 17, 2012
I’m staring down the start of another term with a new class prep. I’m excited about the course I’ll be teaching, a course on materials science, energy, and the environment that counts both for the environmental studies major and the physics major . But I’m less excited about the massive amounts of time that I sink into any course that is a new prep for me. The situation got me thinking about how many times I would want to teach a course before giving it a rest.
For standard courses where I am the instructor of record, I’ve not taught any course more than three times in the 22 trimesters I’ve been at Carleton. Labs are a different story; I’ve repeated those more often. A couple of my colleagues in other departments were talking about repeating a single class six or seven times in five years. To me, that sounds like a blessing (more opportunities to refine the course, possibility for reduced prep time) and perhaps a bit of a curse (getting tired of the course, being concerned about falling into a rut).
So here’s my question — in an ideal world, how many times would you want to repeat teaching a course over a certain period of time? When would you want a break from a course? Does it matter if the course is offered every term, every year, or every other year? I loved my schedule when I taught one of my courses annually for three years in a row, but recently, I haven’t had much consistency in my teaching schedule.
My toddler offered me some course prep advice tonight: “Your students should do more art projects” When I asked if she had suggestions, she said, “Handprints with paint.” If I run out of energy for course prep soon, I may be tempted to take her advice.