Saturday, April 28, 2012

I'll Get All My Blogging Done Now...

I have the equivalent of three sections to teach next semester: U.S. History online, and what College of Western Idaho considers a "double section" of Western Civilization.  Instead of a 30 student section, I get a lecture hall that starts out with 92 students.  That is three times the students of a standard section, but time spent preparing for and delivering the class is the same as a standard section.  Grading papers is three times as much, so getting paid for two sections turns out to be reasonably fair.

I have taught both these classes before, so I am not starting from scratch.  We have switched to new editions of the textbooks, so I do need to review the new editions, make sure that I don't have to make any big changes, and update my slides and notes.  This isn't a major piece of prep, but I do need to get started this weekend on any updates or corrections for fall.


  1. So how do you handle it when you find the textbook is grossly incorrect on something?

  2. I've actually been pretty pleased with the textbooks. Sometimes I find minor errors (wrong year for Magellan's circumnavigation of the world). These are just a matter of correcting it with the authors (who are grateful for the corrections. In other cases, such as the claim that hill country Southerners were as committed to the slave system as lowland Southerners, I simply tell the students that I do not agree, and point out that hill country Southerners often voted against secession, and were frequently sources of Union guerrilla units.

    The Western Civ text we used had a couple of what I consider PC driven claims such as that there was same-sex marriage in classical civilization. Even then, the textbook is careful to state it as something that one scholar has advanced. I point out to my students that I am pretty sure that this is incorrect, and why I think that scholar was grasping at straws in making that claim. Students re sophisticated enough to realize that motivations often drive this sort of thing.

  3. More than just guerrilla units; West Virginia contributed many regiments to the Union Army.

    In fact there were Union regiments from every "Confederate" state (except South Carolina, if one excludes black regiments).

    Most of these troops came from mountain country, such as east Tennessee, west North Carolina, and northeast Alabama.

    East Tennessee was intensely Unionist, and welcomed the Union Army as liberators. (Those Union troops were led by Ambrose Burnside, whose massive failures with the Army of the Potomac alternated with lesser genuine successes elsewhere.)

    There is a Congressional district in east Tennessee that has never elected a Democrat since the War.

    However, it should be noted that hill-country whites were just as insistent as flatlanders on white supremacy; vide Andrew Johnson.

    And before the War, there was no support whatever among them for emancipation. Unlike the flatlanders, they valued Union above slavery; but they did not oppose slavery - except to the extent that they resented the competition of slave labor and the presence of blacks in any form.

    Incidentally, I think your students are extremely lucky to have an instructor who knows and loves history as much as you.

  4. West Virginia was its own state, by this point, so it wasn't the same as the east North Carolinians fighting against the Confederacy.

    Yes, people often have a hard time understanding that hating slavery often was because slavery meant having blacks in the neighborhood, and that was often the biggest upset.