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

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Rockstars

Look at these fuzzy rockstars! My first sighting of goslings this year. I appreciate how protective their parents are, and it never fails to amaze me how they'll be full-fledged geese by the end of this short season. This is pretty much my theme for the spring-- marveling at things: e.g. what I thought looked like dead sticks springing back into life as trees and shrubs.

While on rockstars, I read the entirety of Taylor Swift's--Dr. Taylor Swift's--commencement speech to the NYU class of 22. It was all good advice, honest, confidently self-deprecating, and very well crafted. Recommended. Wish there had been something about service and the greater good, but other than that--no notes. I think I might share with students. Here's a snippet: "How will you know what the right choice is in these crucial moments? You won’t. How do I give advice to this many people about their life choices? I won’t. Scary news is: You’re on your own now. Cool news is: You’re on your own now."

Pic: Family of geese by the Red Cedar on a walk with L this morning.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

"work it real good"

A working lunch--which I couldn't eat. Shouldn't people serving a set lunch make meat, croutons, nuts, and other things people cannot/might-not-want-to eat add-ons rather than plate it all together? (Sorry this is a bit of a pet peeve; I don't eat meat and my kids are allergic to nuts.) 

But I got some oars in at lunch. And I shared this article about faculty exhaustion, which is important because everything about the last three pandemic years has been additive and nothing has been moved or withdrawn to make room for the extra stuff we've taken on.

Got some other campus work done, delivered flowers and cards to two young admin colleagues who finished their M. Eds, took flowers and card to MB who'd had shoulder surgery, and then set off for a long walk-and-talk with JG. It was the perfect, fluffy-cloud day for it--and as always, my mind is clearer after I get some JG time.

At various points I also got to collaborate on an NWSA statement on the Roe opinion and then I really got into Lauren Groff's Matrix. This is a book that kept showing up in my recommendations, and I kept resisting because nothing about the title or the book cover indicated it was about MARIE DE FRANCE and a HISTORICAL NOVEL--I'd thought it was sci-fi!!! Loving it, BTW.

Pic: The bike trail in Alma with JG. 

Saturday, April 23, 2022

commencement day

The amazing Robert Pinsky, our commencement speaker today, gave a talk he'd titled "A good idea, a bad idea, and a joke." The joke, he warned us, was unfunny but would save everyone thousands of dollars and many hours of psychotherapy. Here's a paraphrase. Patient tells the doctor: "it hurts when I do this..." Doctor replies: "Then don't do it."

But an unscripted funny moment was when Pinsky was describing how hair sprouts on the human body, using his fingers to mime sprouting at his head, then his armpits, and then the whole auditorium kind of held their breath wondering if he would go further. (He didn't). 

It was bittersweet saying goodbye to advisees and students who graduated today. I went in early to finish writing congratulation cards in my office and was touched to find cards students had crammed into the doorjamb or slid under the door. I thought I knew whom they might be from as I collected them, but I was wrong. None were from advisees or people I had done big, important things with/for. For the most part, these cards referenced small conversations and interactions. I kind of sat with that for a while. The idea that small things had been so important in someone's life made me feel... TBH... a bit anxious, actually. It's easier to do a finite number of big things than it would be to be open and supportive all the time. 

Pic: A screengrab of me doing the faculty marshal thing with the staff/mace and all. I kind of like the extra shoulder width and overall height academic regalia gives me.

And I couldn't help remembering that this happened at last year's graduation.

 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

a reminder that "doing the most" is not an accolade

April showers, check; April flowers, check.

I'm excited my favorite part of the year (the warm part) is almost here. I'm not even sad/mad that my sabbatical is now officially over (as this is finals week). I think I've garnered a few professional responsibilities and established some working/writing habits I can continue over the summer. 

In the meantime (just) today: I helped lead a WIAB meeting, joined an AC shared governance team, drafted a SLSA proposal with EM, and wrote up a panel and roundtable for the SA caucus.

OFC. 

SMH.

Pic: Daffodil Hill near the Radiology Gardens

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. 

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

ah, youth

Kind of a super busy day ahead of Honors Day tomorrow... and full of the wins and victories (and cautions) that come from looking over and editing student research. 

But Nu came to me just before dinner with a research question of their own (hate speech in schools). And it was so cool to sit down and share some early research skills with Nu and talk about what we found. I feel like my kids (understandably) see me as a parent more than anything else, so it feels a bit special when I can help them with stuff that I didn't get good at in order to be a parent.

Also, for some reason I just found my student evals from December, and they were the kindest ones I've had in years! I wish I'd had this level of approval and support before I got tenure. Something that really touched me is how all of them used "they/them" as my pronouns because I'd indicated my preference for gender neutrality at the beginning of the semester. I never hear myself referred to in the third person in class or meetings, so I hadn't realized that they were being so lovely about it. Young people truly give me hope for the world. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

"I get sprung"

The crocuses are here and... Big A is here!! It's also pretty sunshiny out today and students' research work is coming along nicely. (Not my research work, but--you know--one can't have everything.)

Anyway

let's begin once upon a time, with a house
we can fill it with hope and surprise

(we raise our eyes to the sky in greeting
use whatever rains down as anchor)

let's begin far, far, far away with a feast 
we can open mouths wide in laughter

(we press bites and bruises into pretty fruit
after we steal some answers and quiet)

Monday, April 04, 2022

Hello, Sunshine!

Just kidding! It was the grayest, wettest, grossest day in a while so I'm glad the baby daffodils (narcissi?) are coming up to brighten this week. (And typing out "Hello, Sunshine," which used to be grad school best bud JW's address for me, made me miss her and grad school and Oxford sunshine so bad.)

If it will make your heart happy to see 11-year-old Prince being interviewed on Minneapolis TV in 1970, head here. Guess some people are cool from the moment they were born. 💓

If it will make you laugh-cry to read a championing of the patriarchal practice of coercive dowry in a college textbook, head here. ("Ugly looking girls can be married off with an attractive dowry" LOLOLOL-sob.)

Big A is back tomorrow, most of my editing duties will be done by tomorrow, and Nu starts a new therapy regimen tomorrow. To tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.

Friday, April 01, 2022

upcoming (re)union

A short lunchtime stroll to Luckie St. and MLK Square yielded this vista of daffodils and fountains.

Bought myself chocolate and a plug with a USB port (the hotel is so old it doesn't have USB ports to charge my phone) at the CVS and headed back. Traveling with just a backpack means I never buy/pack superfluous stuff anymore.

SO READY to get home tomorrow and see my three youngest (Nu, Scout, Huck).

And SO EXCITED for the successful unionizing effort at the Amazon warehouse in Staten Island. Do other people's family chats nerd out about things like this too? This news forward was the one text that received hearts amongst all the little bickering about whose turn it was to empty the dishwasher (while I'm gone) yesterday. #Atlanta

Thursday, March 31, 2022

so much shining

Proud of students who really seem to be coming into their own in a way I've missed. It's a combination of having done a great job presenting, being in a new city, attending other panels, learning, and networking with peers--so basically why higher ed has conferences in the first place. There should be more opportunities for students to share research. That is all.

Friend and colleague LV and I have resurrected the "the ten-minute chat" from their grad school days--you think it's going to be a ten-minute chat, but it ends hours later. I didn't know this term before, but I treasure this ten-minute chat format.

While the shine of student success and renewing bonds are legitimate, the shining in the blog title is more Stanley Kubrick than anything else. The elevator at this ancient Sheraton lets us off outside Room 402, we then have to walk past 84+ room doors before we get to ours. Really not a fan of this at all. Yikes. #Atlanta.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Glory (and alleluia)

I'm headed to Atlanta with our Honors students for a convention. I'm both proud and nervous for them and mostly nervous about the cursory supervisory care I've cobbled together for Nu through family and neighbors.

Pic: I woke up from a quick plane nap and through the window I could see the shadow of our plane on the cloud bank ringed by a rainbow halo. It felt really special while it lasted. And... I looked it up on the internet, and it's called a "Glory!" At the link, they described thusly: "Glories are most commonly seen from planes and on mountain tops on misty days. The glory is always seen around the observer’s shadow." "Pilot's Glory" is an alternative name for this phenomenon. My picture doesn't quite do it justice; there are better pics at the links.

I did not know about glories, and am so glad to have learned something new while traveling (that's unrelated to how frustrating it is when people are such inconsiderate babies about masks).

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

tinker, tailor, labor organizer

Family dinner with At in attendance. I pulled together something from the freezer+pantry because today was crazy with additional tasks that misfired: tried to reconfirm details with the student convention (a couple of things still up in the air); tried to get the body shop to take the car (they say they need more time); tried to feed JL's cat while she's on vacation (the key she gave us wouldn't go in the lock, and now she's having to head home early). 

Tacos with eggs, haloumi fries, potato hash, and assorted veggie toppings can be dinner, right? There were smiles after the meal, so perhaps?

I'm so very proud of the labor organizing At's doing. My mom is quite upset that he's not in grad school yet, and is always "reminding" me that her dad was a college man and that my dad went to grad school, so At "needs" to at least get one grad degree. It's some complicated emotional math I don't quite get. 

I really do want him to go to grad school too, but I'm not sure what I could do differently to change his mind. He told me today that he got accepted to U of M (the #1 school for Social Work) and MSU (right here in town) but has declined both offers. I begged him to defer instead, but he wouldn't hear me out. I will say he seems way more relaxed now that college decisions aren't hanging over him. He's also doing some real good in the world, so maybe it's time for me to step off and try to deserve the "cool parents" status he once conferred on us.

Monday, March 28, 2022

puppies/meetings

I found this video of two puppies bopping a balloon on the beach at sunset... and I want to go to there. I've watched the little clip multiple times and my heart rate steadies and lulls... this is the funnest "guided meditation" ever! Full video here.  

Otherwise it was a pretty busy--not always successful--day.  For instance, I realized I mailed a ton of documents without the form that ought to have accompanied it. [FacePalm]. And while I'm not teaching on sabbatical, I've stayed involved with student research--about ten of those projects are going to be presented soon, so each one is a separate saga of hard work and happiness.

The work day culminated in a department-wide meeting. I love that our chair has normalized remote attendance--they don't even ask if anyone needs a remote link, they just go ahead and arrange one, and every time there are a handful of us on it. This feels like a radical shift in inclusivity.

I can't be on a sunset beach with puppies, but at least I work with some good people.

Pic: from TheWorldOfDog

Saturday, March 26, 2022

"saying the word I was not supposed to say"

Nu and I went to The Vagina Monologues performance helmed by MacCurdy, the women's house I advise. 

We got a solid two hours of talking and joint DJ-ing in the car, an electrifying performance by some fabulous people, and lots of fun and supportive chats. I got a personal shoutout in the program notes + Nu told me that they're "so proud" of the work I do... 

(Nu's comment took me to Sarabeth Maney's picture of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and the way her child was beaming at her during KBJ's historic Supreme Court confirmation hearing. I mean, Nu wasn't quite as admiring, but then I haven't exactly been nominated to the Supreme Court either 😇.)

Feeling so grateful today for all of this.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

wild and precious time

I chuckle/howl/bawl-ed so hard at this one.

I love Mary Oliver's "The Summer Day" poem so much and love that other people love it too and love that it became something people passed around in the pandemic. I mean there's apparently a whole Pinterest section on it.

But this Sarah Lazarus take on it is hilarious. We have literally been using this line of inquiry to make decisions on birthday plans, vacations, work duties.

Travel, especially, seems to require some unsentimental evaluation. I have some coming up: an honor society meeting with students early April; a site-visit for the big NWSA conference in May; and... do we dare plan a non-US family vacation in June?

Friday, March 18, 2022

running, running

Having grad school feels today, I guess. It's application decision time everywhere, and students, friends, wards are waiting to hear where they've matched at grad schools and residencies and internships. I did my part by trying to get the admin stuff for MacCurdy (the women's house I advise) done. In fact, formatting it all for the board took so much time that I forgot to run before my massage. 

My (teensy) puritanical streak dictates that I do something physically strenuous before a massage. I have to "deserve" it. Well, I showed up in my undeserving state, and it was still a great massage. And I guess my muscles hadn't turned to slush overnight, as R, the masseuse, asked if I wanted to run a 5K with them. Yes! I like R a lot--they remind me of my Nu--and I'm happy we have plans to run together. 

Lots of cozy chats with people in different timezones (JG, mom, sis, cousins, BS) and finally finished Badhai Do, the gay Indian film streaming on Netflix that everyone loved so much. I went in wanting to like it, but it didn't grab me right away (maybe because of the small town affect and aesthetics?) but by the time the obligatory pride parade rolled around, I was (predictably) in tears. 

Dinner and cuddles with Nu, Scout, and Huckie and then off to read in bed. Big A is at work still (sigh/sob).

Pic: Another 2008 picture of Nu, which brought joy/guffaws to people who needed it today. One of my favorites.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

snapshot


I found a stash of our Flickr photos online while looking for something else and took a screenshot of this one; originally taken in 2008 with my Nikon D40X on some unremembered mini golf course. 

I don't know why I love it so much--no one's even actually smiling... but Big A is holding the kids both so protectively and the kids are so tiny and portable and healthy and it just seems like a snapshot of a simpler time.

(In other news, my campus-wide presentation went ok, but didn't reach the numbers we'd projected; I do wonder if it was a good use of 15+ sabbatical work hours... but if I didn't do it, it wouldn't get done... and it deserved to get done.)

Friday, March 11, 2022

centering

Serious face (and reading glasses) on for chairing the Michigan Academy WGS section conference proceedings. Just so incredibly invigorated by the work of students and colleagues who presented and happy to build some mentoring and networking in there too. 

I have another conference (SALA) coming up tomorrow where I will have to present a paper, and then poetry selections to finalize for Jaggery, tons of  22 advisee and committee meetings next week, and a campus-wide women's month presentation on the same day of Nu's first appointment with a new therapist. Add international and pandemic news, what I'm reading (Laurie Frankel's This is How it Always Is), surprise snow instead of spring today, and the knowledge that Big A will be home for just two days in the next eight and it has me feeling... panicky. 

But one step at a time will get me there. First step: finishing up my slides for tomorrow's talk. Second step: preparing to let tomorrow be another dry shampoo kind of day.

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

slips and slides

I started the day walking with L, who will be away for a month. It wasn't the best day or time for a walk as it was pretty icy, but I couldn't pass up the chance to say goodbye to L, whom I'll MISS SO MUCH. Not even 20 mins in, I slipped and fell "very gracefully" as L assured me 😁😂.  

Not usually an office day for me, but I had to prep with some students for upcoming conference presentations, so I headed in. Plus I was putting together goodie bags for International Women's Day anyway--it started as a cozy and convivial MacCurdy Event, and I'm not happy about its distant-sterile pandemic avatar, but it's better than nothing. Fun chats with colleagues and dean during drop off...

While rushing home so I could take a virtual meeting, I realized that (a) my day was very busy and people-y for someone supposedly on sabbatical (b) filling my day with so much busy work is a clever and virtuous way of NOT doing the writing I'm supposed to be doing. 

Pic: Office nook--I repurposed the top of an office supplies box as a tray.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

recovery

We (Nu and I) had plans with CF today. We were supposed to see the Kahlo exhibit and then come home to hang out and pet puppies and eat pizza and watch the movie remake of Nella Larsen's Passing together. 

I'm not gonna lie--after the accident yesterday, I wanted to just cancel it all and stay home and worry about the war in Ukraine, racism against refugees, the poor deer, and my Bluey. But this morning I woke and decided I did NOT want to think about anything on that beyond-my-control list. So Nu and I bundled up and walked to the museum, met up with CF, and spent a satisfying couple of hours together transformed by--and transcendent with--art. 

The picture is of Detroit-based artist Beverly Fishman's piece "Recovery". I love how the angles of the work play on some of the unusual angles of this Zaha Hadid building (a little bit of which is visible in my pic). And I loved, loved this part of the artist's statement: "The notion of recovery is central to the experience of the exhibition. In the face of a global pandemic, along with the ever-pressing need for wider social, racial, and environmental reckonings in the United States and abroad, it is all the more important for people to seek out moments of solace." 

So that happened. Then CF went and got their car while Nu and I ordered the pizza. Then we got home and hung out and petted puppies and Nu took a nap and CF helped me find the VIN number on Bluey and take more pictures for the insurance company. I didn't have the energy for a whole ass movie, but we watched three episodes of Abbott Elementary (so about the average run time it would take to watch a whole ass movie, ha) but its wry teaching humor fit better than a more serious reckoning with the world. 

I'm still in recovery mode.

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