Blank sheets


I’m Brenden and this is my first post as a teacher/blogger. And this is also my first day as a teacher. Ever! I’m teaching this class about gay and lesbian midcentury paperback fiction:

Cheers to queers! Amazing photoshop job courtesy of fellow blogger Megan.


I’m very excited and nervous. It is the morning before. I didn’t get much sleep. I’m not sure if it was due to anxiety or indigestion, or if it was due to me painstakingly trying to figure out whether it was anxiety or indigestion.


Over the last three days, we had an intensive, three-day, all-day long workshop in which we learned ways to each our seminars. I’m not sure what I got out of it. Surely something. But only time will tell. I was distracted the whole time by the fact that I wasn’t teaching my class yet, and I wanted to teach it. I wanted to teach it all, right there, instead of learning how to teach it, and instead of waiting for the students to show up. I’m realizing how difficult it is to teach on life’s term: I have to accept that time still exists the same way it always has, and that I need to learn things. It’s a process, like everything else. Yet teaching carries a superhero affect that makes me want to be above all that. I’m not!


One thing I definitely learned in the workshop is how I want to prepare for class. We learned a lot of ways of doing it. I know there are a lot of resources available to me. I can make modules using programs, I can copy the format of earlier instructors…etc. But for me, because this is my first time, I want to start at the beginning, with a blank page:

Waiting for the train, gripping my UWS folder like it's keeping me from getting sucked into the tracks.
Waiting for the train, gripping my UWS folder like it’s keeping me from getting sucked into the tracks.

When I told Megan this plan, I said, “I’m gonna start with a blank white page!” and she said, “You mean the most horrifying thing in existence?” So, I know this strategy isn’t for everyone. For me, it’s nice because I know that I am in complete control with a blank page. I can make mistakes on it, draw pictures, emphasize whatever I’d like. It’s going to feel like mine after I finish writing on it. I also like it because it’s a technology I can understand. I can break the page into sections, refer myself to other handouts or readings, and it’s all within these four edges: my dominion.


I just used the word “dominion.” Damn. And I usually identify as a sub. But that’s kind of the point. I’m not good at asserting and maintaining boundaries, so, in lieu of an A-Type disposition, this sheet of paper is where the power is. The classroom is not my dominion; its the subject of what happens on my sheet. This means that the students may mutiny, and I’m cool with that. The more insurrection in a queer classroom, the better. I still have a plan, and I’m going to stick to it as much as possible, but I don’t have to. And here’s my plan; it’s ready:

I value educating students in literature and in pretty socks.
I value educating students in literature and in pretty socks.

So this sheet isn’t blank anymore, but the whole semester is! And I like that about it. Here goes something!


Looking forward,

Leave a Reply