My first college summer class teaching human sexuality starts today. I’ve taught summer school before, but it’s generally been developmental psychology or educational psychology or one of those other topics I teach on occasion. Experiencing a classroom that is focused on sex is just different than other topics, and so I wonder what this whip-lash fast course will be like for me and for the students.
I like the slow pace of a long semester human sexuality course. In fact, with my middle and high school classes, I prefer to meet even less often and stretch them out over an entire school year. The addition of lots of time gives the students time to go home, think about what we’ve talked about, mull it over with their roommates and parents and romantic or sexual partners. It gives them time to really start noticing the incredible sexualization of the media around them.
When I have taught fast classes – either college summer school or sex ed for the teenage set – I’ve found that the group becomes quite close quite quickly – but that there just isn’t enough time for them to really digest the content before they are being pushed into another set of ideas. There isn’t time for them to e-mail me or Facebook me with questions and thoughts.
I am excited to be with this new group, though, because I also think that many college students consider summer their time off – and if they are taking my course, which doesn’t specifically “count” towards any graduation degree program that I know of – they probably really want to be there. Often in my long-semester courses at Austin Community College I get students who needed a “filler” course – something to bring them up to the number of hours they were required to take – some of them just sign up for any psychology class without regard to the content. These students are often quite surprised on the first day!
Because I will be spending several hours every day teaching this class and interacting with the students, it will be very close to my thoughts through July 7th. I will try to mix it up a bit, but I will probably write a lot about my approach to college sex ed – perhaps, for example, counter-pointing what I do in this class to how I present the same material in my younger classes.
Welcome to summer, folks!