I have enjoyed reading this collective blog, and I have anticipated with pleasure making my own contributions. And anticipated, and anticipated.
I’ve found myself having trouble rustling up a post on teaching Romanticism, however, because I am not teaching Romanticism. During the week before Thanksgiving break, a typical one in many ways, I taught King Lear in one class, taught White Teeth in another, and worked as department chair to host external reviewers whose visit was the culmination of a self-study.
That was a pretty good week, all in all, but it didn’t lend itself to posting fresh insights about teaching Wordsworth. Those insights may come: I do teach a Romanticism seminar in the spring, and I’ll go to London next fall to teach a literature-in-place course linked to a colleague’s ecology-in-place course.
Before I teach those courses, however, I want to offer a different kind of post, meant primarily for the graduate students and job seekers in the audience. We often talk about teaching from the perspective of institutions that allow and require teaching specializations that do not characterize many of the jobs Romanticists hold. As it happens, I love teaching Shakespeare and Zadie Smith as well as Coleridge and Austen, and I find satisfaction–OK, sometimes–in the way that smaller institutions ask faculty to get deeply involved in service and governance. (I am, for example, in my tenth year at Grinnell College and in my second term as department chair.)
In some ways, I do not have the job I imagined when I started my dissertation, but that indicates a failure was of imagination, not of the job. To spark the imaginations of others, I will use this space in part to describe the working life of a liberal arts college Romanticist. I welcome questions that will help me understand how to provide useful commentary from that perspective.