I am very grateful for my job. And not just because I’m still collecting a paycheck, which is definitely a part of it. No, I am grateful for my job because it gives me focus and purpose and helps to shape my days, much like I said about the obligations in that O post.
I am, thankfully, experienced with online teaching and recently completed another round of training in distance education. That made the transition to emergency remote instruction just a little bit smoother for me.
My last post about prepping for courses to start in mid-February is like a time capsule into another world. Live theater? Flights? I mean, one of those things is still happening but the other most certainly isn’t–at least not where I live. Although I am course-prepping again because our school switched to remote instruction a week and a half ago, so I guess some things don’t change.
I am going to ease back into blogging by doing a reading update because I have a lot to say but am not quite sure where to start. So I’m going to start where I always start: books. I mean, I have two stacks of library books that will go back to the library…someday? I’m not even sure when because all of our local libraries are closed. On the plus side, I definitely checked out some books I have been meaning to read–a couple of them graphic novels–so I am going to make those my priority after I finish the book I’m currently reading (and that I assigned to my children’s literature class): Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly.
Our conference presentation went well, though the turnout was light. We think it was a combo of being scheduled to present at 8 a.m. (later sessions had higher turnout) and not using some keywords that may have intrigued more people (e.g., “creative problem solving”). My colleagues are amazing and do really creative and innovative work, so it’s always exciting to hear what they’re doing in their classrooms–not to mention hearing from people at other institutions about the interesting things they’re doing in their classrooms. I got so many great ideas for assignments and not always from other English teachers. A really cool one I got from some drama/costume teachers is to have students create a shoebox that represents the mood of the play. I may play around with that next fall.
Today is the last day of class before the end of NaNoWriMo, and my students are very studiously working on their drafts, so I figured now is as good a time as any to update.
1. First, let me just say that watching my creative writing students write during NaNo has been such a delight. They come in and get right to it. Headphones on, laptops or notebooks open, and away they go. I have put a prompt up on the board every day (some requested it), but I have no idea if they’re using them–I just know that they’re intensely focused on writing. It is a joy to behold.
First, I had an IBS episode, which was not as bad as you might think except it was terrible because I was an emotional, weepy mess. If you know me at all, you know I don’t tend toward the emotional OR the weepy, so I thought I was probably dying (this is not really an understatement as I always feel like I am effectively losing my mind if I cry for more than, like, five minutes especially if there’s no evident cause). Anyway, it turns out my instincts about living to regret the croissant and many cookies I ate last Friday were right on and also the emotional response can be explained by science.
Then, Dana Johnson came to visit our school as part of its writer in residence program. (This is a good thing, btw. She was amazing, and when I asked my students the most important thing they learned this week, quite a few of them said “Just try even if you think you’ll fail,” which was a thing she mentioned in her talk. So! Yay for that!) Right, so that’s good, but her visit also led to me having a slight existential crisis because she’s in charge of the PhD in writing at her institution and while I absolutely am not interested in finishing the PhD in literature, the idea of a PhD in creative writing still excites me. Is it possible? Maybe. But do I want to devote the time to it? Who knows?
1. Okay, so I know I mentioned that I hit a parked car this summer, but did I tell you that I ALSO hit a pillar in the parking garage of my complex? Well, I did. Which means that I have dents on both sides of my car now. Because of that, I came to the conclusion that I must not like my car very much (I mean, I am not this careless in general) so got it into my head that I would sell my car and buy a new one.
I did my speedy quick update two weeks ago and feel like I have been rushing ever since. Blergh. But even though this weekend was book club and I had a work/writing date with a colleague, I finally feel a little more settled and calm.
So, obviously, the big news is that the fall semester started. Things have been going well so far minus the extra exhaustion I felt the past two weeks because, whew, that was a lot. I mean, when I got home this past Thursday at 5 p.m., I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until around 7 a.m. Did I mention I was exhausted? Just exhausted.
Two big adventures happened. The first is that I forgot my flash drive in my office for the first day of my short story class, so only had the poorly formatted Google Drive backup of my first day slides. None of my memes showed up properly and everything was just a mess. But I got through it.
The other is that I forgot to publish my students’ readings and assignments that were due last Tuesday, so they were in a panic and I had to completely readjust what we did in class that day. I also made this meme to apologize for my screw up:
This is going to be a rushed post because school starts Monday (aka TOMORROW since I’m writing this after midnight), and I am already behind on everything. Also, my D key keeps sticking, so it’s making writing a hassle. Sigh.
Here’s what I still need to do to be ready for Monday:
Figure out if I’m going to have my 1C students blog or not
Finish my syllabus for 1C
Add the first week documents and assignments to Canvas for my MW 1A and 1C class
Revise my first day slides (at least one is out of order)
Update the index card questions for my 1C class
Prep the index cards with stickers (to put students into groups)