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

Friday, February 18, 2022

on to the weekend

I'll be sorry to finish this kaleidoscope of a book tonight/tomorrow. 

Three different fin de siècles, three sets of American characters who may or may not be connected, so many threads to pull and reincarnations and alternative narratives to ponder. [Something I noticed and may want to build on for a paper/lesson is the way race--with all of its messy margins--is noted. I particularly appreciated how it carefully mentioned when a character was white instead of assuming that everyone was white unless characterized otherwise.]

So yes--very preoccupied with reading at the moment. But also got a ton of student work, a women's month meeting, and misc. followup done. Not much sabbatical work to report, but: Nu got into the AP World History class they wanted; I fell asleep on the massage table and woke up feeling heavenly; it's the puppies' Boss Day so there're strips of turkey bacon in the microwave; At stopped by to pick up some mail and we got in some hugs; and Big A is ordering in Sushi for our dinner. 

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).

Thursday, February 10, 2022

"A Pedagogy of Kindness"

An older article, "The Pedagogy of Kindness" has been making the rounds on social media again and is a good reminder of how much unlearning those of us teach have to undergo. Elite institutions (in my case, Oxford) especially reinforce ideas of privilege, proving oneself, thinking of your cohort as competitors, etc. etc. It took reading bell hooks and June Jordan to discover more inclusive and compassionate forms of learning and teaching are possible. 

June Jordan's electrifying statement in "Outside Language:" “None of us has known enough tenderness” has been my mantra in the classroom for decades now. 

Anyway, I was in my office for meetings today and a kind student gave me this beautiful calendar to say thank-you. Other students may say thank you by undertaking research, accepting additional responsibilities, pioneering new activities and events, or confiding personal struggles--all of which happened today too. I'm so lucky to be doing this work.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

"the family I wanted to have"

Another day in bed and too much time to think... and it got me thinking. 

How I haven't seen my parents in three years. How my mom is lowkey disappointed in me because one grandkid hasn't made it to grad school yet and another grandkid is transitioning. (She's stopped saying it out loud, and gets full points for being a supportive grandmom and using the right names and pronouns, but she'll still say perhaps I could "talk" to the kids and "help" them. This included a story of an uncle--a child psychiatrist (!!!)--who "talked" to his kid and she's not lesbian anymore? I tried to tell my mom that's not how sexuality works.)

Why the child who's applying to grad school won't take any advice from his parents when we have about three grad degrees each and could be good resources. We have lots of students and mentees whom we're honored to help, but our own child wants none of it. Why the child who's transitioning is still so unhappy and what else could we do. 

In family therapy the other day--I shared my worry that when Big A begins commuting to Milwaukee in July, it would disrupt the family and all the little traditions and habits we'd built up over the years because can we still do it if Nu and I are the only humans left at home? And the therapist said that I was probably comparing what's left "with the family I used to have... and the family I wanted to have." 💯

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

when your child's dorm room makes it to the tabloids



One of the people At went to school with complained at length in the NYPost about campus being "too woke" and mentioned the Mao poster that used to hang in At's dorm room.

Uh-Oh. 

This made me chuckle.

Esp. because this student doesn't know that I (At's mama) got him a Chairman Mao hat when I was in San Fran for a conference and KB offered him more Mao memorabilia from her trip to China.


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. 

starting over

Once in a while, I'll come across a piece of art--even something Nu has decided to throw away like this piece... And I'll be overcom...