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

Thursday, January 13, 2022

in and out of the woods

We made a decision yesterday about Big A's university offers after our tromp through the woods. We mulled over the same series of circumstances and determinants and possibilities we have for weeks now and decided to go for the offer closest geographically and to his dream position. 

It means he'll spend 50% of his time in Milwaukee with the coming academic year.

Yesterday, L kept texting little things to show she was thinking of me, I had a good cry with my mom the day before that, and today--I told people at work so we could start brainstorming strategies to make single parenting possible in the Fall when I go back to teaching.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

"catch my drift"



The Michigan Department of Transportation's list of snow plow names is adorable. Here's the full list... my favorites are "Mission Implowssible" and "Catch My Drift."

Looking at yesterday's first real day of time tracking really helped me see (a) I ought to prioritize work (b) separate emails from deep work (c) make time for work (d) I haven't yet a clue where this time will come from.

There are a lot of hours spent hanging out with the fam and hiking and soaking in the tub, but Non, je ne regrette rien.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Grid Life


Day 1 on on the Laura Vanderkam time tracker challenge (since yesterday was mostly travel and touring);  Day 6 on Wordle (100%, Baby); and Day 0 of finding ways of minimizing administrative duties. 

My lovely colleague-mentor L had suggested that I disengage and use the sabbatical to good use--and I pared down campus engagement. But just today I got asked to join a search committee and a journal review board--and I said yes. It can't be helpful to anyone if I keep taking on every opportunity that flits across my timeline. 

Thursday, December 30, 2021

a better next year


Everyone told me not to do any work over the break: I took their advice; I'm bored. 

This week--with its radio silence on my work email--reminded me how much of my workday is responding to scheduled events and corresponding about projects. I'll need to shift out of that mode over sabbatical so I have something worthwhile at the end of it. I really, really, really need to get in the zone with my writing projects. 

Despite the seemingly universal experience of having 2020 drag and 2021 sprint, I think I ought to compartmentalize more effectively after two years of practicing pandemic panic. That's going to be my big goal for 2022. 

Drove up to the office today to collect some books, water my plants, pick up mail, etc. and I had a lot of time to reflect. (Also feel like I'm on the verge of a big cry--but that could just be from loping through Bewilderment and being too tired to cry at 2 am or whenever it was that I finished it.)

Thursday, December 23, 2021

morning lesson

For L W-B 

the city is seated here... erratic 
along our teacher chatter
waving in delight

we find ourselves amidst magic
winterberries so ripe they 
must surely hurt--inside

alert and hidden and still as panic
one bird ruby as berries
another dun as boughs

play by themselves like... music
to complete the morning 
to see us whole


Thursday, December 09, 2021

newsy



O, hello... it's me... with my adorable furry assistants... trying to be the best new effing co-chair of NWSA's conference in 2022 I can be. (Still not enough writing as I noted in March, but this is huge for me and I hope to learn a lot.)

In other news, I took great pleasure in letting fam and friends know that a Trader Joe's is coming to town--about 2-3 mins away from us. I foresee Big A biking over there for last minute groceries instead of Whole Foods. 

And in other gentrification news, I'm watching with horror--via friends and FB--the intersecting mesh mess of schadenfreude, transphobia, and anti-blackness in the latest Dave Chappelle vs. Yellow Springs clash.

-------------------------------------

Pic: We're all looking at Big A.

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.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

"one is a lonely number"


Big A is far away and I'm sitting here at midnight, anxious and sad... 

But I'm not gonna lie--the day was glorious. It's been SO LONG since I had the house to myself and though it was mostly grading and work and meetings and LORs, it felt luxurious. 

It's in the details and small tweaks to the day... like planning to have lox for dinner with Nu. Somehow it's Big A with his Jewish heritage who can't stand lox, while Nu and I LOVE it.

Speaking of my human kids--it's difficult parenting one at a time. Kind of lonely, actually. I had eight years with At before Nu came along, and now that At is 22 and in his own place, I get these years to focus fully on Nu. I keep telling myself this, but both Nu and I miss At and I don't think Nu likes being the sole focus. Ha. 

At least the puppy kids are accommodating and making pillow forts forever.

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.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

"here for you"

Parenting was on my mind today. 

* When my students don't have parents/good relationships with parents/are going through a particularly hard time, it takes everything not to jump in and be their parent. Big A mentioned that I have gotten so much better at maintaining a professional boundary. Yes... and I know how much of an effort I have to put into it. 

* Celebrated SH's impending parenthood and I'm so excited to hold her newborn and generally be a new mom helper soon.

* I accepted a new CASA case--a child who has been subjected to parental incest-abuse for years. They are surrounded with support and services right now, and I hope I can be another useful tool in their journey.  

*My time with the one human kid and two puppy kids living at home is the highlight of every day. But I don't get very much time with them on weekdays (especially on teaching days) and need to find ways to make them meaningful. Usually it's: a cuddle and then breakfast--we start at 5:45 am! At the end of the day it's: dinner together > a show/game > me conking out with the puppies. It's pleasant and cozy but fairly humdrum.

Pic: My NuNu sneaking a treat from the tray I made for SH's visit. 

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

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

two notes in a minor key


A. This photo on FB marketplace gave me major Hemingway-babyshoes flash fiction vibes.

B. Looking over minutes from last month's faculty meeting (which I had joined online) it turns out that my only contribution had been re. the library deaccession: "Maya—This is a blow. Used to be in acquisitions for post colonialism. Loves teaching in the library stacks. Students are missing opportunity physical catalogues. Going to sell books for peanuts—not placing them in another library. Very upset."

Those last two words made me chuckle extra hard. Not sure if I claimed to be very upset or if the empathetic poet-novelist-playwright colleague who took minutes that day summarized my rant. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

what we got


Big A went to Boston to accept an award and all I got was this cute and fuzzy picture!

It was a sudden trip so there was some scrounging around for childcare coverage, but things worked out fine. I found myself getting a bit antsy as one meeting after my fourth class of the day ran past 5:00 pm, but... I got home by dinner time, got everyone their dinner, and got all the kid and puppy cuddles I could handle. 

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.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

a-maze


I'm sorry I couldn't take any pictures of the amazing sunrise over the Maple River as I drove to work. I couldn't get a picture of the amazing combination of sunset-moonrise-full-moon as I made my way back home either, and for the same reason--I was going at 80 mph... I have to make do with a lingering look and what the kids and I used to call "a deep breath of beauty."

The picture I do have is this post-four-classes, end-of-the-day domestic-violence-awareness <<< labyrinth, which became a meaningful moment to pause and reconnect with some wonderful people (KC, SG) who do the hard work in our community. 

Oh, and I got to ask Loretta Ross about Dave Chappelle later. I know her as a reproductive justice activist, so her work on calling-in culture is new-ish to me.

Tuesdays have become Subway days at home, so I ate my sub while watching a show with Big A and the puppies and then took a snooze with them before Nu's bedtime too. Off to "proper" bed now.

Monday, October 18, 2021

well, well, well

 


Here we are at the backend of the term. 

The day started well enough--an early morning hike with L along the river and I felt well rested and well prepped for the new class starting tomorrow...

Then the campus alert system went off as there was a gunman close to campus and streams of police cars seemingly everywhere. Although quickly managed with no loss of life, the tumult of that kept reverberating right through every meeting afterward--even the 7 pm one.


Thursday, October 14, 2021

suburbia, hedonia

I did have periods of intense industry--checking midterm submissions, prepping and arranging next week's new course, letters of rec., emails, etc. Nevertheless, today felt like the midterm break I'd been looking forward to... It's the ninth day of Navaratri, so it's Ayudha Puja and traditionally a day of contemplation rather than action, anyway.

Long-anticipated trip to IKEA with Big A for some shelving in the basement. Everything gave me intense nostalgia for when the kids were younger and used those plastic dishes and had those stuffies and cuddled in those bed linens. Then we transported everything back and discussed immaterial stuff like how I have a summer and winter wardrobe but nothing that delineates spring or fall... while we took a decadently long soak together. 

Nu had D&D club so we got to pick them up late and then some more soft family time. Tons of to-dos and errands tomorrow.

And I've been trying to write a poem on Babur, but it just isn't coming together...