Guilty Conscience

Today I designed the syllabus for my new course. It will be on Latin America, which is not my area, so I had to remember everything I was taught in graduate school. I’d received a great training in Colonial literature, so that helped. The textbook is entirely new to me and not amazing.

So I designed the syllabus.

Found all the readings I will assign. 

Selected the excerpts from the readings to use both in class and as homework for every day of class. [Thanks to grad school comps I can take a 4-volume text from the 16th century and find the 3 pages I need within minutes].

Prepared discussion questions based on the readings.

Created 20 quizzes.

Found all the readings I will offer as options for the final essay. 

By the end of the process, I had 29 windows open in my MS Word because I need to see the course as a totality. It’s an important course. We don’t let students graduate without it, and I need it to be good. 

I did all this before noon. After that, I couldn’t do any more work for private reasons. And I spent the rest of the day beating myself up for being lazy and unproductive.

But writing this post helped. So thank you for listening.


5 thoughts on “Guilty Conscience”

    1. “You’re a rock star!”

      Yeah….. just kind of a lazy one….

      I’m kidding, but the thinking is sound (I think/hope) Don’t let dumb ideas (like the idea that you’re not working hard enough when you clearly are) get purchase in your brain, treat them with the ridicule they deserve.


  1. That’s great! I usually take the easy route and find my literature excerpts from different textbooks instead of leafing through hundreds of pages of the original texts.

    I also can’t create a class that fast, but part of this has to do with my anxiety and OCD.

    I’m wondering why you’re teaching the course instead of a Latin Americanist? It sounds like you’ll do a great job and that you’re well prepared already, so that’s not my issue, but none of the Latin Americanists want to teach this course? And with regard to your training in colonial lit at Yale: didn’t you once comment here on your blog that your colonial lit course was the greatest cure for insomnia ever? 🙂


    1. No, I love colonial. And I’ve always been good with it.

      We are sprouting so many language courses for some mysterious reason that there aren’t any people who are available to teach anything else. Please don’t ask why. It’s a mystery that will haunt me forever.


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