Break Over (I think)

by I.A. Isherwood

I took a break from blogging last semester. I did so because I started a new job and I wanted to concentrate my efforts in that direction. I also wanted to spend a little less time online. Like everyone, I have found myself to be more and more focussed on my phone/social media and it made me a little sad to be spending so much time staring at a screen.

There was something else, though. I have been giving students a lot of advice of late about taking breaks and about the benefits of saying no to things and I realized (not for the first time) that I’m a huge hypocrite. So I wanted to cut myself a little slack and give myself some time to think by cutting out some other obligations.

In not blogging, I went through all of the stages of guilt that comes from setting something up and not following through with it, which seemed unforgivable, regardless of whether anyone was actually reading or would care whether I wrote something. Moreover, I found myself actually missing writing about teaching. Blogging kept me focused and helped me articulate what worked and didn’t work in the classroom. It kept me critically focussed on pedagogy and reaching students. These are good things.

So this coming semester, I’ll try to write a little more and get back into online musing (or blogging). I am teaching two classes – “Aftermath: The Experience of War and ‘Modern’ Memory” and “The Great War”. The former is a class that compares the experience(s) of the American Civil War with that of soldiers in the First World War and introduces students to memory studies (or the way in which wars have been remembered). The latter is what it seems to be – a survey course on the First World War. So I hope to give you a glimpse of what we’re doing this semester and feature a bit of my students work/insights in the process.