Well, the first day of classes is tomorrow. Am I nervous? Not about the teaching, at least. Although it's been about a year and a half since I've been in the classroom, once you've done it enough, stage fright is no longer really a factor. Plus, I've done plenty of conferences and presentations (and dissertation defenses!) in the meantime.
I'm actually more nervous that I've minded all the relevant Ps and Qs in my syllabus; the modern syllabus is akin to rocket science, and I keep frantically double-checking things to make sure all the required tidbits are there.
But I'm already half in love with my new program -- and, needless to say, we've just met. I hinted at this before, but the UA Writing Program is really doing some wonderful things. Many of the pedagogical practices they've incorporated, as might be expected, reflect some of the best current theories and practices of rhet/comp theorists. On a more nuts & bolts level, our college's provost just recently signed off on a new $1 million dollar allocation to reducing FYW course class size to 19. Nineteen! That's almost unbelievable for a state college. Ohio State's writing program fought and scratched to get its freshman comp courses to 24; Middle Tennessee State U capped class size at 22 but had a rough 5/5 load for lecturers. Here at Arizona, it's only 4 classes, meaning that we have less than 80 students to teach.
Of course, at that kind of funding, the university expects a quantifiable increase in the composition skills of students. That's exciting too, because I'd love to be apart of a project that might help universities re-evaluate the workload placed on writing instructors. There's a little bit of self-interest involved, too. Because of this new level of funding, the program managed to hire 22 new lecturers for this year -- including yours truly. The funding, however, isn't guaranteed. But I really think the experiment will work, and I can't wait to start.
Something else that gave me the warm fuzzies -- a few years back, the U of A was a major participant in National Adjunct Walk-out Day. After hearing that, what's not to love? Go . . . wildcats? Okay, now that I've double-checked, that's definitely the right mascot, so . . . go wildcats!