Listen to part of a conversation between a student and a professor.
Hi. Sorry I'm late, Professor Blaine.
No problem, Jim. So you've got some questions about your senior thesis requirement?
Yeah. I've got a couple of problems actually.
So, the first thing is, you normally write it during the first half of the academic year, right? In your final year of studies?
But I have my student teaching scheduled for that time.
I want to teach high school English after graduation, so I really need to give that my full attention.
And I just worry that I won't be able to if I am writing my senior thesis at the same time.
I mean, it's supposed to be 35 to 50 pages.
That's a serious commitment.
You are right. But it really isn't a problem.
No. A lot of English majors get teacher certification, so we have students like you do their senior thesis after their student teaching.
It works out well, because many students want to use a unit they taught as the basis of their paper.
So you'll just enroll in a thesis seminar for the second semester.
Well, that's a big relief.
But it brings us to my second problem.
I'd really focus my studies on old and middle English literature.
I am even thinking about doing a graduate degree with a concentration in that after I taught for a while.
So I was hoping to do my senior thesis on Chaucer, on The Canterbury Tales, because that would obviously be useful if I do go on. But …
Ah. But Professor Johnson …
Exactly. Professor John is going to be taking a sabbatical to do research in France during the second half of the year.
So without him around, I am not sure how I could do a senior thesis on The Canterbury Tales.
I mean, the focus of his teaching and research is unique around here.
Yes. I understand. It would be difficult to do your paper without Professor Johnson around.
Hmmm… would you allow me to try to sell you on an alternate plan?
Well, you can try, but Chaucer is sort of my hero, if you know what I mean.
Well, I am teaching a course on the literature of the Renaissance in the first half of the year.
It'll meet late in the day, so it won't interfere with your teaching.
And I haven't offered it in quite a while now, so I doubt you ever studied that period on the college level.
No. I haven't.
If you would be interested in taking the course, I'd be happy to give you supplemental readings, and I'd also be happy to be your advisor for your paper later on.
Well, I never looked at that area before, but I have always had an interest in it, so that does have a certain appeal.
Well, if you do decide to go this route, I would make that decision soon and I would use this summer productively.
After all, this is not going to be like taking an intro course.