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Off to a start — cautiously optimistic

30 August, 2007

Off to a start — cautiously optimistic

Two teaching days down, one to go. Now to get into a routine where the gym makes an appearance. Classes so far are pretty good. If SLAC were a Hogwarts house, it would be Hufflepuff. There’s the occasional Ravenclaw, and only a couple of Slytherins, with maybe a smattering of Gryffindors. But mostly, it’s Hufflepuff central. Because I teach in such a small program, I have several students taking more than one class from me. It’s kind of confusing to see the same faces more than once a day. I’ve got one student in three classes. Freaks me out.

I’ve already had absenteeism (wtf?? who misses classes the first week?), but I’ve also got students who are warming pretty quickly. This is especially true of the freshmen — I’m going to have to do some jumping on the upperclassmen, I think. I’m definitely getting a feeling that some of them aren’t getting that they need to do the work to survive. I’m very glad I made the decision this time to not give out the exam questions a week in advance. There will be a sorting of sheep from goats.

Mostly, though, I’m going crazy — I still haven’t got anything new for Kazoo, and need to get hold of a panel coordinator or two and see if there’s anything open — wither that, or I’m going to have to submit to the general sessions. At the very least, I hope I can chair a panel, so I can justify travel money.

It’s starting to feel a little normal to me now. I think it’s time to think about that post on settling in. Last year, I was protected a bit in terms of service, etc. This year, my dean is making jokes about me carrying the department in terms of FTEs. Basically, I’ve been around just long enough to see the things that could become problematic and the things that can be fixed, if people want them. I’m settled enough to know I could be happy at SLAC for a while, but not so happy that I’m not going to apply for the Dream Job. That one, I’ll definitely pursue, but I think I won’t be looking beyond that this year. Now is a time to really start putting all the little things I’ve been learning in practice, so I can move forward, here or elsewhere. To do that, I will need to blog more regularly, and more thoughtfully, but possibly a little less often. Or at least that’s one of my New Year’s Resolutions!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 30 August, 2007 3:39 pm

    Glad to hear you are getting settled into the new academic year. You always want to keep applying for your dream job – that is what keeps of fresh. The most unhappy people in academe are those that feel stuck – even if they have put themselves in that position of their own volition (ie not maintaining contacts outside their current abode, etc.)As for students and absenteeism, some don’t really acknowledge that school starts until after Labor Day.

  2. 30 August, 2007 11:38 pm

    Yeah, I haven’t gotten my act together for Kazoo either. For the first time in a couple of years, I actually have new material, but this whole home-ownership thing has had a negative effect on my ertia.

  3. 1 September, 2007 1:17 am

    I’ll be at the ‘zoo this year. But, like you, I had to submit to a sponsored session and keep my fingers crossed.If nothing else, we homeless ducklings can always meet up.

  4. 5 September, 2007 8:36 pm

    Kalamazoo is one thing – I’m missing exactly one speaker for a three-session strand at Leeds that needs sorting out soon… “I’m just sayin'” 🙂

  5. 6 September, 2007 12:45 am

    I’ll look into it …

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