Like a Virgin

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This coming semester I have the opportunity to teach a class for our Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program.  The undergraduate class, Introduction to Gender and Sexuality, fits well with my interests in Queer Theory so I jumped at the chance.  It wasn’t until after I jumped that I realized I have no idea what I am doing. Give me any FYC class anywhere and I can walk in with a day or two of prep.  But this is a 50-seat undergraduate lecture class.  I was suddenly dumbfounded: what do I teach?  What’s the text?  How do I teach in such a large-class format? What should I cover?  Am I giving tests?  How do I even grade them? I was working on our fall orientation materials for new Graduate Teaching Assistants when I made the connection: the new course had me feeling like a new teacher once again.  And I think that’s useful.  After almost twenty years of teaching it’s easy to forget what it’s like to stand in front of the classroom for the first time.  My goal is to help our new teachers do that; remembering how scary it is adds, this year, a new emotional dimension for me. I’ll figure out my new class (thankfully I have a good two weeks to work it out) but more importantly I won’t forget the slight moment of paralyzing terror, because remembering it will help me help others get through it.
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About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.