So! Among the many things I've done since returning from my conference 48 hours ago--read and commented on 25 comp papers; graded a sheaf of quizzes and worksheets; wrote and administered a makeup midterm; met with a failing student; presented self and research to new M.A. students; slept for not-quite four hours last night--one of the things I did not get around to doing was devising any sort of lesson plan for any of my three classes today.
In comp and my Milton seminar, I've at least taught the material before and have old notes and/or experience to go on. In Shakespeare, however, I'm teaching a play that I don't know well and have never taught.
Hurrying from the parking lot to my office this morning, I spied my Renaissance colleague--also a junior professor, but an actual Shakespearian--walking a few blocks ahead of me.
"Colleague!" I said, running to catch up with him. "Hey! All's Well That Ends Well. You taught it?"
"N-no," he said, looking at me funny. "That's one of those plays--I don't think I've even read it since college."
"Yeah," I said. "I know! But I'm teaching it today and I don't have a lesson plan."
He stopped walking and gave me a look of pure, startled surprise. Not disapproval--just wonder. "But you teach. . . now, right?"
"In 20 minutes." I said. "Well, gotta run! I need to grab some coffee and figure some stuff out. Group work? Maybe? It'll come to me. Catch you later!"
And in fact, it was totally fine: I'd loved rereading the play and was eager to talk about it--and my students, too, were lively and opinionated. We worked through a couple of scenes, broke down some themes and images, and thus filled our 90 minutes.
I'm still laughing, though, at how utterly perplexed my colleague seemed at the idea of someone (or perhaps me in particular?) showing up for class unprepared. On my planet, that's not so unheard of.