Showing posts with label Class. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Class. Show all posts

Thursday, April 07, 2022

Honors Day

Oh, I was so proud of my students today. They totally owned their work and I heard raves about them all day. And I just saw a tweet about one of their presentations from a local pastor who'd happened upon it, loved it, and wanted to tell the world about it. Some extra love because the paper was about douching and manipulative rhetoric in medical, marketing, and makeover culture. (It started out as a poster presentation a few months ago.)

The special thing about Honors Day is that sometimes you get to meet families too. And they are so excited and proud of their kids sharing their research and fielding questions, my heart just grows and grows. My department members are really good about talking to families and telling them (truthfully) how proud we are of their kids, and we might get to hear some nice things our students shared about us. I was thinking about all these interactions on my way home and smiling at adding memories to my things to think about whenever I have my next bad day at work. Like: You know your students today were rock-stars right? Your light as a teacher has clearly lit them up as well. Like: My kids tell me (I've had two of them in classes) how you've just changed the way they see the world. Like: I remember you from when we came to tour the college and you talked to us. Like: I guess you're the reason she wants to be an English Major?


Anyway, I was both exhilarated and tired by the time I got home, so I was glad there were leftovers for Scout, Huck, Nu, and me to eat (cheesy scrambled eggs from breakfast for Scout and Huck; chicken, potatoes, and veggie hash for Nu; curry, kootu, and yogurt rice for me). 

And then a hearteningly civil email exchange with a colleague who leans transphobic and was participating in one of those moral panics about school bathrooms that keeps coming up. And another late-night email exchange trying to help an advisee graduate. Oh, and did I say I stopped by the accountant's to pick up our tax docs and drop off At's tax docs  too? And I got a cute journal for Nu at the bookstore--can't wait to give it to them on their Boss Day (Monday).  I really think I should get out from under these puppies and go to bed now. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

zooming to nostalgia

When the invitation to attend a state of the art talk with so many of my old professors showed up, I RSVPed right away. It was some of the usual suspects from the Thursday Poco Seminar and it  took me back to being a student in Oxford in the first decade of this century--late as usual, racing past the tourists and townies and fellow students to get to Wadham College by 5:15. Usually I didn't bring my bicycle because there'd be wine and/or we'd go to dinner with the speaker and it would be easier to split a taxicab with someone.

It was at 5:00 GMT today, so although I tuned in at noon, it felt like one of those evenings. Lots has happened since then: jobs, publications, promotions; and on the other side: relationships, marriage, kids. It's wild that my profs are still the leaders in the field; it's crazy that I still show up on their acknowledgements pages from time to time. 

There is one person on this panel who is newer, very likely much younger. They mentioned in their introductory remarks that they felt "intimidated." I assumed they meant because of the august company--but no, they meant because they had to cover a lot of ground in very little time. And that, my friends, is one of the many reasons why although both of us applied for the same job at UCLA Berkeley in 2012, only one of us got it (and it wasn't me).

Saturday, December 04, 2021

my eyes are... out here?

Vulvae and "no one needs a douche" stickers from my student's WGS symposium station this week. 💓

Today, I spent the morning interviewing students for scholarships and...

It was demoralizing that a couple of potential students with great GPAs, neurotypical presentation,  pre-med intentions... just wouldn't make eye-contact with me. 

And I understand these are teenagers who've spent close to two years mostly seeing people virtually or masked, but this was not about that.

I interviewed with a (male, white) colleague, and at every question, even if I had been the one who asked the question, they'd look earnestly at my colleague while they answered. One student who was otherwise equitable at dividing their time between interviewers, focussed solely on my colleague while describing their football success. 

I checked with my colleague to see if he had noticed it too--and he had. He said he'd tried to look at me while they were answering to model etiquette. (To no avail, apparently.)

I guess I'm lucky this doesn't happen all the time, but c'mon kids!

Friday, December 03, 2021

"both sides now"


I found this on the internets and what a perfect way to mark this last day of class... for the term... for the year... for the academic year, in my case. (I mean I start with an 8:45 am meeting tomorrow and will interview students for scholarships on Saturday, also starting at 8:45 am, but...)

I remember a school teacher friend in YS announcing that they would be turning off their morning alarm for the next three months. I won't--I'll still wake up at 4:30/5:00 alarm or no, but counting my sabbatical and summer, I won't be in a classroom until September of 2022.

And of course, all that self-congratulation aside, I know I will miss the high of being in the classroom. My students did SUCH MAGNIFICENT work on their WGS symposium work today and everyone who visited loved it too. And there were student visitors who were disappointed that the course wouldn't be offered next term and their interest made me sad I wasn't going to be teaching next term... 

So... you know, like the date, the day went both ways. 

And apparently, we're in for a week+ stretch of palindrome days.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

in which I muse

My office, bright (but cluttered) is a good representation of today. 

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving... all the students who were going to come to class came; some no shows--but many of them sent me an email beforehand. I find these last weeks so fulfilling as students work the lessons and discussions of term into building their own research projects. 

There was no one in the English Bay after I was done with classes, and I got noisy moving furniture around in my conference corner, cleaning, tidying, decluttering and making sure my plants would have enough to drink over the break. 

Strange to think we'll be off for almost a whole week. 

And then suddenly term will be over. 

Just like that.

Friday, November 12, 2021

demand and supply


It was a mouthy day at work for me. 

The screenshot is a colleague gently teasing me for being pushy about the "ethical action" bit in our General Ed reform saga in an online meeting this afternoon. 

This morning at a breakfast meeting with the President (of my college), I got on a soapbox about how our facilities staff who were recently subcontracted should also benefit from free tuition for themselves and their family members (as those of us employed by the college do). I went on for a while and when I stopped Prez A shared that they had made arrangements to offer free tuition to subcontracted staff earlier this year. That's terrific, but I was a bit mortified because I can get kind of preachy when I get all worked up about stuff. 

I made everyone at the meeting chuckle when I asked why he hadn't stopped me while I was going off? And he said--very kindly--well, it's an important subject and I didn't want to interrupt.

I guess I'm at least supplying opportunities for some laughs here and there?

Thursday, November 11, 2021

the elders are (al)right


Took the Cosmopolitanism class to Ziibiwing Center this afternoon; got to chat to Mr. Roy who's given several of my classes the grand tour before. I wasn't able to arrange one this time, but he gave us a short tour anyway. 

The class was standing around, feeling a little out of depth, and Mr. Roy reminded us that the people were Anishnaabe and the language Anishnaabemowin and showed us how everything was titled in Anishnaabemowin and also in English. And then... he taught us to pronounce a word, making us repeat after him: "eh ggzhi bit... now say it all together." And everyone dutifully pronounced it: "exhibit." Ha. It wasn't possible to be stiff after that. 

I noted how people fell silent around the boarding schools exhibit and were startled by the clay people... and then we had some great conversations on our way back to the college. And we got our basketballer to their game on time too.

Thursday, November 04, 2021

honors


A lovely and successful honorary induction and such a thrill to celebrate in person with a community of like-minded book nerds again. 

Lots of pictures with students and their families for my imminent Goodbye Mr. Chips years, and lots of ziplock bags so students could take the extra hors d'oeuvres with them.

But it leaves me with less than ten hours to commute home and get back to campus for my 8 am meeting in the morning... zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, October 22, 2021

ahead of me


Got to work so early there was no one else around... the sun's pretty high in the sky in this picture, but so is the moon. It turned out to be a long day at work, leading to some disappointed texts from Big A because I'd promised to be home by 6. 

But there was barely time to sit down between committee and student meetings all day. So at 4:30 when the last meeting was finally done, and I'd even managed to reach two dear students who've been down and out of touch this term, and I had just two more emails to send off, I cleaned my office thoroughly. (Because I was wearing--what my science colleagues called--my 1970's-style ENG. prof. dress with the tie collar? Who knows!)

I watered all the plants, trimmed, weeded, took tons of papers to the shred-it box, dusted, swept, and looked longingly at the armchair I'd installed in my office when I moved in... back when I thought the life of an academic involved hours of reading and looking out of the window. Ha. Some day it will come.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

the kids are alright



I know everyone is flagging from ennui and exhaustion. But my kids students are awesome despite it all. 

I'd re-shared the menstrual products drive my CASA director shared with me, and they decided to amplify it by putting it on the front page of the college newspaper. 

😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

Friday, October 01, 2021

Parkinsonian expansion

I guess Parkinson and his insight about work expansion remains valid. 

But in a more neutral way, now that I'm on campus so much, a lot of work gets done at work instead of after dinner. Time feels a bit less scramble-y because home/work demarcations feel more natural. Plus I get to see and be around more people, which is me at my happiest.

I still do work things after dinner, on the weekend, in the middle of the night, etc., but it's freeing to know that I spent 8/10 hours working already, so if it doesn't get done, it ought to be perfectly acceptable.

Being at work lets me get at all the stuff that gets shoved aside--like the graduation gift I'd gotten for a colleague in financial services and was finally able to hand deliver yesterday (months late...).

Pic: I thought I was taking a picture of flying geese as I walked across campus... but look, guys: No geese! Lovely blue sky, anyway. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

thinking of...

My teaching day started with standing in line at Groovy Donuts at 7 am and went well as days with donuts tend to. 

But after dinner I found out that DP, a student dear to me--someone I had known in class and on several committees as a joyful, thoughtful, and compassionate citizen--had been hurt badly. 

I am hopeful they and their family will heal, but the description on their GoFundMe site is truly horrific and I keep thinking about all the unnecessary pain and fear they've experienced. 

Flashes of their smile on the Zoom of this year's Kente stole ceremony and images of them waving to me as they stood in line for their diploma keep coming back--will keep coming back--to me. 💗

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

classroom




amidst the dusty chalk of discussion
our figures gesture like talk 
ache with attachment

there is teaching in the (back)ground
find it in the sprawling grassroots 
reaching up from dispute


Monday, August 30, 2021

check-in

I video chatted dad for his birthday last night (by myself, it was already morning in Bangalore) and this morning (with the rest of the fam). Video calls are better than audio-only calls, because it's easier for dad to understand what we're saying when there's visual context. I wish I could have been there. I miss my parents.

<<<Amma sent me this picture of a long ago beach day--I guess the beach has always been a happy place for me. When I showed this picture to At and Nu, they chortled at tiny me. One of them claimed: "It's like you took your face and put it on a child's body." I mean, I was a child once.

It's EM's birthday too (just goes to show how astrology doesn't work as she's nothing like my dad!) and BS's first day as a prof. so I took them cake to sweeten their special days.

The rest of the day has been little fires and email fire-fighting and finishing up final edits and diagnostics... classes start tomorrow! I'm my usual mixture of yikes+yippee.

Monday, August 02, 2021

bits of the day


Out early today to Alma for a seminar/workshop and it was so good to see and be with people--many of whom I haven't seen or been with for a while.  A few people were wearing masks indoors and although we're nearly 100% vaccinated as a college community, I wore mine too out of respect. 

Work, work, work, and then I headed home with JG on the phone to keep me company on the commute home. 

Low: Heart heavy with the looming eviction of millions of families in the middle of a pandemic.

High: Hearing The Foo Fighters' cover of The Beegees' "You Should be Dancing" live from Lollapalooza on the radio. Apparently it's something they've been doing for a while? Anyway, it was the bit of disco silliness that helped me get through the day.

Pic: An early bird posing for me with their accessory worm (yesterday at the Horticultural Gardens).

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Summer again

 

Finally, another summer day. I took advantage of our first no-rain day in over a week to putter around the garden and prep for a picnic with Nu and AC--a wonderful former student who babysat Nu years ago. I was so surprised to learn that AC is turning 30. They grow up so soon!

One of this year's WGS guest speakers (KH) mentioned how they were doing social work because as a WGS student they'd been inspired by AC's presentation as a guest speaker--I loved that so much and enjoyed passing it on to AC. 

This last year has been tough.

[Pic: Robin with cherries]

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

context




breath is a hymn 
accomplishing joy
surfacing tree brown
I come back to my body
through the sacred,
absurd landscape
of patience

[Pic: Scout and Huck hanging out with me in puppy pose.]

Friday, March 05, 2021

Very Sari

I wore a sari to work yesterday because I felt festive + I want to normalize saris and the difference they embody on my PWI campus. It was one of the intentions I had shared at the beginning of the term with my WGSS class, so when I showed up all floaty and colorful, they seemed quite happy and proud for me. 

I may have tied it too high ("where's the flood?"--the snarks at my high school might have asked), but for the most part, I was comfortable and didn't trip. The tripping thing has been one of my most frequent excuses, so I had to re-evaluate why I don't wear saris to work. 

Other Indian aunties are wearing saris to everything from construction jobs to yoga to designing spacecraft. Why don't I?  I really do think it's because all the ones I have are gifts and meant for festivities and too shiny or drippy with zari/fake pearls/pompoms/gems/stonework. I need a sari wardrobe for work--but I feel weird buying stuff for myself so soon after a day when I got so many presents.

This one, BTW, is a 'house sari' discard from one of my mom's visits. In fact, it was from her first visit when At was a newborn, so it's nearly 22 years old. Very nearly vintage. Wild. 



Thursday, March 04, 2021

Happy Birthday to me!

My birthday usually falls right in the middle of Spring Break... Except we started a week later this year, so for the first time I was teaching on my birthday. I got all excited about this and stocked up on birthday treats like I was in elementary school. And my students, for whom the treats were meant, were so sweet and wrote happy birthday notes on notebook paper and asked if they could sing for me. 

I love my students. 

I was supposed to go home after that last class, but I was hoping to get a birthday hug from At before I left for home. I sent two texts--including one that read fairly desperately: "Birthday hug: yea or nay"--because it's At and he's completely capable of forgetting my birthday in his gentle, absent-minded way. He texted back that he was very busy, couldn't meet, but would explain later. I was pretty crushed, and remember thinking he could have at least said "Happy Birthday" before he brushed me off. 

Yes, he's in that picture--he'd driven home to have birthday dinner with us. 

I'd asked to be surprised for dinner and it seems like Nu, At, and Big A had each picked three things I like to eat so there was an incongruous all-you-can-eat buffet situation with sushi and green curry and poke* and pao* and a glorious olive oil cake* with raspberries, lemon zest, and pistachios (the last asterisked three by Big A and his kid helpers). AK and KB had dropped by at work, LB and EM dropped by at home, so I have more presents than I deserve.  More books to read, notebooks to write in, so much chocolate, and so many bath bombs.

At had parked at the end of the cul-de-sac because his presence-present was a surprise, so I got in a magic walk by starlight when I walked him to his car. And then some magic--albeit smelly--cuddles with Scout, Huck, Nu, and Big A to end the day.

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