Thoughts On Summer School Teaching

Frankly, I adore it.  Not just the brevity, but the intensity of the whole experience.  Only eight weeks, here at SRJC anyway.  This Summer, as I have the past two or three (can’t remember if I taught in Summer ’13), I’m teaching English 100, the Reading and Writing section just before 1A.  This is a perfect week-amount for such a course.  I return to the staging of intensity and the dedication a student has to demonstrate each meeting in order to pass, and grow however they want to as a student, or reader, writer.  The short nature of the term is the motivator.  And, honestly, it motivates me to be more speedy and punctual with not only handing back papers but planning my lessons, writing lectures, sketching activities, outlining assignments.  With everything.

The weather.  Well, that’s part of it.  Right now it’s in the 80s, while the forecast for the rest of the week promises numbers in the 90s.  Summer, right?  Yes.  And how appropriate, this heat, with the intensely timed nature and the workload that the students and I assume in such a time trek of time, such temperatures can only be expected.  Class meets in a little over an hour, and I need something to eat, so I’ll take another walk over to the bookstore for a snack and another water, get out in the Summer atmosphere again.  Feel like a student, not so much a teacher.

I love how the campus is quiet, but just active enough.  Just enough traffic and people standing in line at the bookstore not to frustrate someone.  True, I’m only speaking for myself, but there’s just enough people around to make campus feel like campus, but not the campus during a regular term, toward finals, when the airborne stress is tangible and toxic.  Sure, there’s stress during summer, again with how short it is, but not like during week 17 or 18 of this last Spring.  I used to joke with my students, “I can’t go in the library anymore, the stress is too obvious and too uncomfortable.” Not today.  Not at any point this Summer.  I hope.

Another ingredient I adore, and thoroughly enjoy about Summer:  As an adjunct, I for once don’t have to share this office!  It’s all mine!  Take that, other ‘juncties…  This room is mine.  And it’s quiet, so quiet.  So quiet I can hear myself think, brew ideas new for tonight’s first class, think of other exercises and approaches for the next 8 weeks, for what I’m to teach, what we’re going to read.

Wonder if the wind is still as strong and staccato’d as it was when I walked back from the bookstore the first time, after getting this first water.  Wonder if the sun’s still as hammering.  It’s definitely Summer.  Can’t tell you how prompted I am as a teacher this go ‘round. (And I just remembered, I didn’t teach Summer in ’13.)  This will be my strongest Summer lecture and teaching set, ever.  I have zero doubts, qualms or worries.  Not the thinnest sheet or shred of anxiety.

So here I go, for the third straight year.  English 100.  All mine, like this office.  And my energies… all theirs, these determined matriculants.