Showing posts with label Teaching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Teaching. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Thaw


I looked up from my desk to this glorious sunlit sky in my sliver of office window. Being here physically was relief and sustenance after the torture of trying to make things go right with Nu yesterday.

Reading students encountering Laura Mulvey, Hanif Kureishi, and Shauna Singh Baldwin, introducing a new class to invitational rhetoric, referencing an old student's lesson plan involving the 'Red Rover' game... everything felt like a fresh spring--at least in my soul.

By the time I got home to little Nu, the 'sad' part persisted, but the 'mad' part had melted away.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Weekend Magic

Three long, snowy hikes (with LB and BS), one long-ish run (5 mi), two short yoga sessions. I can't remember when I've had a weekend so full of physical activity before. Two raucous and movie-heavy sleepovers with Nu and Scout and Huck; sadly, not much contact with At--I mean, a picture of a nice omelette he made himself on family chat--but he seems to be mostly ok.

Finished Oona Out of Order--which was meh at best, and frequently irritating--but I grew to care about the characters after all although I didn't care for their idea of gentrification as a beneficial development. Started Marlon James' A Brief History of Seven Killings. Again. I couldn't get into it when it first came out and I remember being roundly castigated for it by world lit friends. I've been humming and channeling a lot of Bob Marley (because I MISS my mom so much) recently, so I'm giving Seven Killings another go. It's intense. 

Also intense, Judas and the Black Messiah, which I watched with Big A. Fred Hampton--especially how much he did at so young an age and how much he could have gone on to do had he not been assassinated has been a trigger for me--but the film was oddly heartening. Especially as Akua Njeri and Fred Hampton Jr. seem to have been such a central part of the film's making.

I disengaged from most work all weekend. And something that helped was that I didn't get a single work email! Is this everyone deciding to institute strong boundaries since we work from home so much these days? On Friday, which was a "Reading Day," I sent out an inquiry on behalf of an advisee and my senior colleague reminded me to "take the day off." Knowing everyone is doing it, and that it would be rude and interruptive not to, makes it so much easier for me. I still have some grading to catch up on, but hope to get it done by Tuesday when I will have to face people in real time again. That's not magical thinking, although I did wish on the beautiful and magical wishing tree BS gave me this weekend. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

"Bloom! Bloom! Bloom where you're planted"

Meetings started at 8 am and ended after 7:30 pm today. Such a FULL non-teaching day with everything from curriculum planning and faculty training, to new protocols for CASA from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  

Lots of support from Nu and Big A who told me they were proud of me. That was unexpected and felt SO NICE! Also, when I was being hugged by those two, I was surprised anew by how much taller than me Nu is now--their face is still such a Baby Nu face!

We liked the vegan dinner I made today (a nicely-sauced stir-fry of Impossible meat and rice noodles topped with mint, julienned peppers, and shredded cucumber) a new-ish, Vietnamese-ish palate with our usual ingredients. We watched a bit more of Korra, (which is sad, neoliberal apologia compared to ATLA) and will probably finish the series this weekend. What's next for us? Perhaps Schitt's Creek, which we've tried twice but can't seem to get beyond episode 4 or 5. A colleague-friend said maybe we should just start from season two, and perhaps that's just what we'll do.

I don't remember going outside today; it's still freezing with snow up to my knees. I did spend some time in the tea garden where we have everything from floppy paperwhites and ratty poinsettias from Christmas to the cyclamen showing up to say, Spring, suckas. The cyclamen gave me such a pang of nostalgic yearning for Greece where it would grow even in the rockiest niches. And apropos of that tiny synaptic nudge, that super-insistent song the sisters taught us in school, "Bloom! Bloom! Bloom where you're planted" started playing in my head. I think I'm trying.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Ordinal

The view from my "classroom" (previously the yoga/zumba room) in the rec center. There's something mesmerizing about that speckled sky and the in-between-classes emptiness of the walkways. 

I sat in a pool of sunshine during group discussions as I didn't know if the sunshine would last until I was out of class. (Reader, it did not.)

But... I'm all caught up in class, fit in about seven different student meetings (everything from honor societies, to MacCurdy, DEI, and Honors Day), got in a quick visit and hugs with At, drove home listening to the impeachment case, ate the egg sammies Big A made for me (the rest got Culvers per Nu's Boss Day request), celebrated Nu, hung out with Scout and Huck, ate a ton of chocolate... all of it satisfying different points of my soul. 

A full day of meetings tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

WFH*

I didn't meet the health-check requirements at work, so I declared today a WFH day. I had to. 

Pre-pandemic, it would have been a day where I talked myself into showing up, because canceling three classes over flu-like symptoms would be "weak." But in the pandemic, it was the responsible thing to do, and I talked myself into assigning asynchronous work and emailing an FYI to my chairs in ENG and WGS. 

I'm likely experiencing side effects from the first Moderna shot I received yesterday. But what if it isn't? What if that doofus, with his mask worn as a chinstrap who came up to talk to me at the store this weekend and was so upset I told him to back off, gave me Covid already?

I ended up monitoring the important stuff and sleeping a significant amount. But up until about 4:00 pm, I felt a fair amount of anxiety from knowing I wasn't where I was supposed to be. Then I peeped Big A and Nu taking a walk in the backyard with Scout and Huck, and the day shifted into home-mode. 

__________

*Everyone uses "WFH" to mean "work from home," but it'll never not look like an abbreviation for swear words to me.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Catch Up

Despite the big freeze, there was a long walk-and-talk with BS on the Nemoke Trail yesterday.  BS never fails to surprise me with how strong and vulnerable and beautiful they are... what a gift to to have them in my life and Nu's... They plan to postpone their wedding date by a year because of the pandemic. That is the kind of responsible and resourceful action that defines so much of what they do.

Lots of catching up on work with the new issue of Jaggery, Canvas, grading and class prep. Also, Feminist Bookclub meeting today--we read Ijeoma Uluo's Mediocre. I didn't make it into the Zoom, but EM and MW went on my rec and judging from their texts post-meeting seem to have loved it--so I feel like I did my best to keep ole LFB going.

Big A has put himself in charge of groceries since he has had the vaccine and we did some meal-planning this morning. This--meal-planning--is new for us, because I like to cook extempore based on what veggies have been delivered to us and what I feel like. But he's doing multiple weekday dinners because I get home from teaching kinda late TTR, so I've given up my primary-chef privilege. Groceries (to be delivered to At too) and meal-prep notwithstanding, dinner was Acapulco to celebrate Nu who has caught up with their schoolwork! They've really clawed their way back, got such a kind and celebratory email from their homeroom teacher (teachers have been AMAZING in the pandemic!), and I'm proud of this kid for working hard and learning some life lessons on the way. 

Today is the deadline to pick in-person or virtual school for Nu for the March-June period. Big A pointed out that kids rarely get hospitalized even if they do catch Covid and that Nu might do better with some in-person instruction. Nu noted that the kids who plan to go to in-person school are frequently the ones with very conservative backgrounds and that that might put them in danger from more than just the pandemic. That decides it--virtual school it is! 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Desk Picnic

Like most people I know, I slept so much better last night and awoke feeling lighter. 

I'm loving the student energy in all my classes this week (OMG, long may it continue!). All of us, me included, seem a little less shell-shocked this term. 

I'm teaching in person, by choice, and I think it's the right decision for me. Everyone has been very respectful of social distancing requirements and health checks. It's almost like we're at some futuristic health celebration when the class waves their phone screens with the green health check marks in the air.

A teeny-tiny life hack for me: It was also the day I seem to have realized that my lonely desk-picnic lunches needn't happen on breakroom napkins. My contract doesn't preclude me from bringing bright things to keep me company as I scarf my lunch down between classes. Ha. And actually, not so lonely today as there was a KCP virtual lunch. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

At Last...


Four years ago, At and Nu were newbies to protest and I had a houseful of students. So much to love then and now. 

What will I do now that I don't have to be horrified every SINGLE second that we've Twittered our way to some new calamity? Huh?

I didn't get to watch the inauguration in real time, but took in a few texts here and there and then a Zoom to toast the new admin so "things feel more real." 

I really missed my WGS folks who have helped me keep my sanity in the last four years, mostly by making ad hoc traditions of marches and protests, and linners

I so wish we could be together in solidarity and community again. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Let's Goooooooooooo!!!!!

Felt like I was hitting the ground running this term, with syllabuses and diagnostics uploaded ahead of our start and even a mini lecture/poetry reading in honor of Dr. MLK Day the day before the term actually started! 

It would be nice if I could keep this up all term long. Just 13.5 weeks to go!

(P.S. Not pictured: Me all wired up and unable to sleep; up until at least 2 am--when I looked at the clock and despaired. I found this article on SEVEN types of rest on Melissa Ford's Stirrup Queens blog, loved it, and sent it to a bunch of people; I would have been sensible to have planned for some basic sleep at least.)

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Side Eye

At sent this picture--in which Scout appears to be eyeing At a bit judgmentally as he packs to leave for college--to family chat. Surely offering At the book about doggies is Scout's attempt to make At reconsider his decision?

Talked to At on Twitter and chat today; and gosh--I miss him fiercely. Spent some time settling things in his room and ended up clearing out a decade's worth of video games, Popular Science, and Make Magazine. We've been in this house only four years and only four years in the Alma house before that, so this stash somehow made it through three moves. Yikes. 

Also yikes, as I leaned to get another piece of mail from behind At's bookcase, I twisted something in my knee and it has felt progressively weird. It feels... feeble now, although it didn't when it actually happened.

Finalizing all the syllabuses and diagnostics for first week today. And I'm laughing at myself because the smallest things get me excited sometimes.  My latest tweak is so superficial--I changed all the font to Garamond--and I'm so inordinately chuffed about it. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

"Beam Me Up"


Mostly teaching prep and house/meal prep (my Imperfect Foods box came) today. 

Big A was mostly experienced as a napper in various settings around the house (he's coming off a spate of nightshifts). 

This "Beam-Me-Up" action in the sky is from a long walk with Nu and B.S. and it made us chuckle. Lots of talk, sharing, support, and a huge, delicious loaf of BS's banana bread that Nu and I loved (i.e. have almost finished) this afternoon.

Rumpus Room sleepover tonight with Nu, Scout, and Huck, because At left for college this morning and this is how we cope. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

yes but also no


                    The instructions surprise:               perhaps I will solve gravity              or simply realize how unready 

                    "pour the saliva" they say              chorus my saliva's spectacle           how random, how to unbait sighs

                    I once described a snake                exist/lament/impact/about               the junction of having breath back

                    'pouring' itself down a hole             the scratching exhaustion               having my back, trusting offspring

                    the kids were so freaked out           of dying on tv every day                 to try to sidestep the cracks



Saturday, January 09, 2021

Peace Out

It was a peace-keeping kind of day around here: mediating between people who hadn't done their homework, people who'd fallen behind on housework, tracking down errant dishes (Scout and Nu, and At), errant books (At, Big A, Nu) providing emotional support for assorted causes from grad school apps to DnD character building, and trying to fake an interest in topics like conspiracy theories and eye boogers, etc.

Thankfully, my flu-shot site doesn't hurt so much anymore and I made some progress with work and teaching projects + got things arranged around the house in preparation for the crush of the oncoming weeks as term gets going. Excited! Anxious! 

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Wednesday's Insanity

What an extraordinary day. Woke up to news of Georgia electing Rev. Warnock (John Lewis' pastor) and Ossoff (a sometime John Lewis intern) to the senate. Breakfast felt like an upbeat celebration. In hindsight, I wish we'd had more time to sit with this moment.

At 3:00, Nu was on their daily online-school-accountability call with Grandma S, and were told that they really should go watch the news. So we did. Watching the storming of capitol buildings by white supremacists was surreal, frustrating, and infuriating. Activists from ADAPT and BLM certainly did not get the 'I'll open the gates, hold your hand going down the stairs, and take selfies with you' treatment from the police. 

By 4:00, I was in a meeting with one of the finance guys at work who wasn't interested in the news and kept referring to higher ed as "our industry." I can't help thinking this kind of obliviousness and corporatization contributed to the mess we're in.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Tuesday Communiqué


Let this unremarkable picture mark that I ventured outdoors. It was a cold, cold walk in the snow and wind with L; I would have demurred, but L will be up north with T, so this was my only chance for some time with her for the next week.

Off the top of my head, I do feel on the brink with: the inexorable pandemic, all the feelings uncovered by the Tommy Raskin tribute, the impending crush of work, and my lack of control over any of this.

Surprisingly, I was offered the Pfizer vaccine today--not because of teaching but because of my child advocacy gig; I said yes.

Monday, January 04, 2021

Monday Memoir

I saw the cutest snowperson when I ambled over to L's house earlier today! Their bangs are like mine, but even that detail couldn't detract from their quintessential cuteness.

Nu's back in (virtual) school today, so everyone is back to waking early so we can have breakfast together and build each other up... apparently, we do this with cuddles, and riddles, and jokes, and teasing putdowns.

Speaking of school... I miss my students. There're lots of meetings starting Wednesday and I started today by writing to every one of my advisees. It's re-entry time for all of us although classes won't start until after MLK Day.

Speaking of days... It's my Boss Day! My dinner pick was poke, which we made together; my entertainment pick was Veep... again!

After everyone headed off to their rooms, I found the tribute Rep. Raskins and his spouse wrote for their child Tommy and I weep to think that someone who brought so much joy and goodness to people didn't feel enough of it themselves. 

(Related: I think of Aaron Swartz frequently. Sometimes I think about them multiple times a week--especially when my students are doing internet research. I resent that I was introduced to Aaron Swartz through his obituary--it's a particularly downhearted way to learn about an extraordinary person. I thought I'd written about this before, but a quick search revealed nothing.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

One down...


I rode with Big A to the hospital and waited in the parking lot while he got his first shot of the Pfizer vaccine. 

There had been a previous round for his ED, but in his typical way, he'd decided that since he'd had Covid and presumably had some antibodies, he'd wait for this later round and let colleagues who hadn't had Covid go first. 💗 

Earlier this year--before the vaccine debuted--I wondered if anyone would be sending out holiday cards. I needn't have wondered. I think we actually got more cards than in previous years... there were nearly ten just today. 

Alongside the photocards of cute cousins and niblings, was one from our college prez with a handwritten greeting to me + Big A and a kind note of thanks to me. Tenure means being able to say how warm and wonderful I think this is without worrying about sounding sycophantic. 😛

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Yays




A floor-to-ceiling balloon bouquet from JG showed up at dinner time. I mean--I can't even get a good picture of it, it's that huge. We can't celebrate in person, but we have a walk-and-talk planned for next week after the Christmas excitement calms down.

In the meantime, a loooong trek by myself today: I feel somehow aligned in mind and body.



Friday, December 18, 2020

Light, Lighter, Lightest

Tenured and promoted! Yay! It took more years to get 'on track' given all my travels and moves and life choices and tangents and missteps. I'm way behind so many of my cohort, BUT--I'm relieved and so very thankful. I can feel my shoulders settling and the weight lifting.

After I turned in my portfolio, I felt so strongly that whatever the committee decided, I did deserve tenure. I have zero imposter syndrome, apparently. What I do have is survivors' guilt knowing there are so many equally--or more--deserving peers all over the world trying to make it in an unjust higher-ed system. Also moments of sadness knowing that it won't be what I dreamed since JG and KB, two of my besties on the third floor of SAC, resigned this year. 

The "celebration/crybaby" present Big A had been promising for weeks turned out to be... a new laptop. Whomp, whomp. I tried to fake my way into being gracious and enthusiastic about it, but honestly--it feels like a "vacuum cleaner present." I had imagined a big ol' massage chair or a hot tub or something indulgent... Ha. 

Monday, December 07, 2020

Sitting Pretty

Grades are in! Ahead of schedule! And they're decent--generous in a pandemic, but not inflated. 

I prioritized weekly assignments rather than a grand final project; that resulted in really solid foundational applications and a high rate of completed assignments. Extensions were available on request, Canvas was configured to allow later submissions, and email submissions were enabled for people who didn't make it. 

The research students graded themselves ("ungrading"), and that went really well. They need the practice for grad school and teaching assistantships anyway, and it gave us some good discussions on the rubrics and objectivity. Speaking of teaching assistants--best email today was from AS, who graduated last year, with the subject heading "office chocolate." I miss pre-pandemic office culture so much.

All that, yes. But my own school child seems to be slipping quite badly. Big A took down one side of our refrigerator collage to post Nu's sad report card as a goad. (I'm not a fan of this, but was vetoed.)