I think I expected the process of prepping a new class to be angst-free this time around. I knew I could do it; I'd done it before. Even better, I am prepping one of the classes I'd wanted to teach, rather than something outside my area.
The reality is that prepping a new class means making mistakes. The first time you give an assignment, you can think ahead and proofread like crazy and problem-solve in advance, and you're still going to have students saying, "But wait, what about...?" The first time you plan readings for a course, you're going to realize that they need tweaking. The first time you give a lecture, you're going to be guessing to a certain extent about how long it will take. The first time you teach a class, you're not going to nail it.
I like nailing things.
In my first year on the job I felt extra pressure to Get It Right because I had zero job security. This year I would probably have to goof up something major (something much bigger than telling my students on Thursday that the readings schedule for the following week was correct, and then sending an announcement on Friday that there had been a slight change to the readings I was posting -- although GAH! I am flinching at the memory anyway) to be disinvited.
In my first year on the job I was routinely stressed because I was teaching outside my area. I would think, "I can talk for 10 minutes about alexia. Unfortunately, I'm supposed to talk for 2.5 hours about alexia." This year it's the opposite sort of pressure. I will have 45 minutes of class time on Tuesday because of group presentations, and I have too many fun ideas and examples to fit in 45 minutes. (My 2011 self is saying, "Cry me a river, babe.") Even though it's a good kind of problem to have, it's not easy to figure out which ideas will be most useful for my students.
So. I am hanging in there. I am battling perfectionism every damn day. I am trying to be humble about the logistical things I get wrong, trying to find the right balance between accommodating and firm. I still hate grading and I hate plagiarism even more. More importantly, my students are terrific and teaching is a delight. I miss blogging. More soon.