Endings|Beginnings

Last month, we were all a little obsessed with beginnings. New year, new presidency – it’s all been a little crazy. It still is. Here in my little corner of the universe, though, I have an ending in sight: my sophomore history course ends in 9 days.

This year, I’ve had a total blast teaching two sections of Accelerated 20th Century World History, a course I’d only taught once before. 20th Century World History is one of my favorite topics, and it’s one I’ve taught nearly every year since I started my job. The content is a blast, and one of the things I love about it is that it’s pretty much all still relevant. If you want students to understand how the past continues to be present, then take a look at 20th Century World History.

All of my 20th Century World courses have been fun over the years, but this year was something special for me. It’s been a fabulous run, and I’m sad that the course is already coming to an end. A month ago, it felt like we were just getting started: we’d finally moved past the basics and were starting to apply our knowledge to trying to understand more recent events, such as the Syrian conflict.

Right now, I’m sort of stuck in this moment. It feels like limbo; I’m eager to see my students produce their culminating projects (documentaries with oral history interviews), and I’m looking forward to these final class sessions. At the same time, I wish we could just keep going, and I’m sad that two weeks from Tuesday we’ll start our third term of the year and everything will be different. I know it will be good, in its own way, but I’m going to miss this.

I’m trying to remind myself that this must be the mark of a successful course: that when you reach the end of something and feel sad that it’s ending, it must mean it was good, right?

Mother: Well.

Tateh: You say that often, ‘well’.

Mother: It’s because I don’t know what else to say.

Ragtime the Musical

Right now, I really don’t. I’ve spent the past month alternately overwhelmed by non-stop grading and non-stop political news and non-stop personal life changes. I’ve written about my class today because it’s something that’s on my mind that is neither political nor writing related – two things I either don’t want to write about right now, or can’t (since I’ve done no writing in weeks).

But this is where I am. A few weeks into the new year, I’m nostalgic for a class that I’m about to leave behind, and feeling not quite ready for the new adventures that lay ahead.

I will be. And you’ll hear about them soon.

Well.

 

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