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Back in the Groove

10 January, 2006

Back in the Groove

Well, still exhausted, but classes went pretty well today. I have decided there are two things I really like about night classes: the students usually want to be there, and I have more time to teach. I don’t know what it is, but I have a very hard time teaching a daily schedule. 50 minutes isn’t enough for me to get into my groove and really set up the big picture, teach the primary sources, and pull back out to the big picture again. It’s not that the daily classes are bad classes, just that I never feel they are as coherent.

In some ways, I was very disappointed by the AHA this year. I went to a couple of good panels, and heard a couple of good papers. I missed the Patrick Geary panel, because I just blanked on when it was and ended up at something else. The panel on assessment was really disappointing, I thought. Too many people whinging and not enough practical stuff. Still, it reminded me I really want to read this book by Sam Wineburg.

In the non-panel parts of AHA, I think the interview went pretty well, although it turned out to be more a screening interview, as half the search committee were sick and not there. I heard some scuttlebutt about the department later on, but not enough to make me worry. So I hope I make the next round. It really sounds like the kind of place that I’d fit — same kinds of students I now teach, much like Dr. Crazy’s students, really, but with the ability to teach upper division. ANd they have a bear of a teaching load, so their expectations of scholarly activity seem reasonable. I did like the people who did the interviewing, too, so that’s good.

Most of all, I enjoyed the meet-ups. I saw people I’ve known for a very long time, and people I’d never met before. I can’t imagine having had a better time with P/H — it was like we’d known each other for years — sometimes rooming with even good friends can be weird, but there was something really comfortable and natural about it, I thought. Maybe because we both seem to be pretty low maintenance about some things? I spent the better part of Sunday with Sharon Howard, who is just a lovely woman. Physically nothing like I expected, but otherwise very much what I thought we should be like. I ended up taking her back to the Belgian Ale pub, called Eulogy, for lunch. There I had a Philly cheese steak sandwich, with which I was not all that impressed. Then a very long flight back home. I arrived at about 10 last night, and was on campus at 8:00 this morning. My classes still have students, so I’m pretty happy. They seem engaged, which makes me happier. And I have to prep for tomorrow — Ancient Near East stuff, so very disparate and a bit rushed (get me to the Greeks), and then Peasant Revolts in the 14th c. And then on to write a book review that’s just barely a week late. I realised this evening that the best part of going to conferences is that I feel energised when I come back. I’ve talked to colleagues who have validated me — other people seem to think I know my job, and it’s nice to be reminded. It’s a reality check — P/H said she could see me being a bit intimidating (which I so don’t get, but apparently some folks find me a person with a strong personality) — so must make sure students aren’t intimidated too much! OR search committees?

It’s good to be back. Please let me not have to be doing all this again next year. I know what I’m good at, and trying to make sure I get paid for doing it isn’t particularly helping me concentrate on those things!

A Small Announcement

Here’s where I pass on the info that Tiruncula has gone private. No scary reasons, just discretion being the better part of valour. If you are one of her regular readers, you can ask for her password. I can pass on her e-mail to ask her, if you need it.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. 10 January, 2006 8:40 am

    Welcome back.Like you, I enjoy night class, too, because the students DO seem to want to be there. Mine do tend to show up in their pajamas. It’s pretty funny.

  2. 10 January, 2006 5:17 pm

    I sometimes wish I could!

  3. 10 January, 2006 5:33 pm

    I find it hard to be a really really regular reader of many, but I was an occasional if that counts, I’d love to ask for the password.

  4. 10 January, 2006 9:09 pm

    I’ll let her know.

  5. 11 January, 2006 4:54 am

    I kept trying to post this earlier, but the comments were wonky. Anyway, Eulogy is a fabulous name for a pub.

  6. 12 January, 2006 9:32 am

    I wish I could, too, ADM.Although I have to admit that I’ve taught class barefoot, which is a close second in comfort to wearing jammies!

  7. 13 January, 2006 11:48 pm

    Hey, I’m blushing all over now. You were lovely too. :)And Eulogy was a pretty fab pub too.

  8. 14 January, 2006 1:06 am

    PS: I really liked Sam Wineburg’s book. Even though it’s focused on the American education system (and of course we talked for hours about the differences between the US and the UK!), it seemed to me to have much broader relevance.

  9. 15 January, 2006 7:27 pm

    Must buy it! Or maybe just check the library?? Ooh! or use the library funds I have??

  10. 19 January, 2006 3:04 am

    I lived in Philadelphia for five years and loved it, plus grew up eating cheesesteaks (not too far away from Philadelphia). You shoulda gone to Jim’s on South Street, or Pat’s or Geno’s (I’m not an aficianado of either of the last two), or one of the lunch trucks outside of Temple U. Just sayin.

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