Sunday, February 11, 2007


And we are in the middle of a job search at the Zenith History Department, which means next week is scheduled more closely than I have had a week scheduled in two years. I remember the day -- shortly after I was hired at Zenith (and was instantly put on a search committee -- harbinger of Things To Come) that I discovered I could lecture right off the top of my head. I had been working so hard on the search I just had had no time to write a lecture. So I scribbled five things I knew about state centralization in the progressive era United States down on a piece of paper during the department meeting at noon, added a few more pieces of blank paper for good measure (this was a dodge so the students would not notice I had no lecture: clever me!), and ran in and started to teach.

And by gum, it worked. In fact, I thought at the time it was one of the best lectures I had ever given, including my class on Andrew Jackson's tax policy (otherwise known as the Tax of Abominations, which I really do just love, particularly because I can never get enough of that badass secesh John C. Calhoun.)

OK -- you can't always do it this way and secede -- er, I mean succeed. And I don't want to do it this week because the other thing I have learned over the years is that being unprepared is just as stressful as squeezing out time you don't have to prepare. But it's a good thing to know you can do it if you have to, isn't it?

1 comment:

susan said...

This post is very comforting to me, as I'm in the midst of juggling three candidates for three different searches, and keeping my daughter safe and reasonably entertained on two consecutive snow days, and I'm just not where where the class prep time is coming from. Sometimes, it's hard to do it all, but sometimes, things work out anyway.