Saturday, August 29, 2009

First Week Report

So, it's finally Saturday. I've got water running on the lawn (I've neglected my watering duties for school and now the grass is looking decidedly brown and crinkly), Slogger and Roxy are still sleeping, and this is a good time for me to write.

I can't remember if I wrote about this last fall, but I was decidedly unhappy with one of my classes in particular last year. There was grumpiness, there was lack of enthusiasm, there was downright anger -- and that was coming from both a group of my students and from me. I've worked hard leading up to the beginning of fall semester to have a positive attitude toward my teaching, my students, myself, and my class and I believe that is paying off. I'm encouraged about the positive vibes and interest I'm sensing, particularly from my group of seniors and postbac students. It helps, of course, that I had several in a course last spring that went particularly well. So, unlike last fall when I was already counting down the semester ("ok, just 14 weeks to go. Sigh."), I'm looking forward to next week and to seeing my students again. Of course, I completely changed my textbook, so that means I have shitloads of work to do to get ready for class, but... that's par for the course, isn't it?

My new grad assistant (I'm still working on a name for her) is working out well too. She's co-teaching my junior level class with me, and will be taking over that junior-level class next year so I can teach a doctoral course in our new doc program (yeah! new doc program!). Of course, it's going to take a bit of time for students to get comfortable with her -- about half of the students in this class have either had a class with me before or are my advisees, so they know me better than they know her. We're going to work harder this week, now that she's a bit more comfortable, on giving her meatier portions of the course to run herself.

I got my official letter this week saying we are now journal editors (Woot!). And on Friday I was able to make some solid progress on lining up interviews for my new (lightly funded) research project. All of that makes me happy.

Now, Slogger threw his back out, and he's gotten started on CPAP for his sleep apnea, and all of that is taking a bit of adjustment on his part. So things are not happy in Slogger-world at the moment, but we both believe that will just be a matter of time.

Today I have a ton of reading to do, Roxy has her first day of obedience classes (we're hoping she will be the star of the show!) and I want to make and freeze some pesto, using the lovely pesto I bought at the farmer's market yesterday. I'm looking forward to a pleasant weekend, and hoping to go camping next weekend....

Overall, calm is a good place to be.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

One Week Off, One Week to Go

Last week my mom and step-dad were here to visit (hi mom!) and we had a lovely, relaxing time. Went camping with our little trailer and our super-big screen tent. (Quick note: We set that screen tent up in the yard and then stood back in awe. It's like a circus tent! Truly! We were expecting elephants!)

Anyway, we headed up into the mountains and camped for a couple of days. Did a little hiking, lots of hanging out, some fishing, etc. Relaxing and great, except for one pair of lost glasses. Roxy, of course, is a fabu camper.

then when we came home, we spent a couple of days just hanging out here. We visited the university's art museum, did some shopping and cooking, read a lot, and generally relaxed. Of course, during that time frame Slogger threw out his back and I had an odd growth cut off the bottom of my foot, so there was some pain and weeping. I'm still walking with a bit of a limp as I wait for the damn thing to heal.

Of course, I did almost no work last week -- except that I went to a two-hour training session so that I can use a procurement card. That's right folks, High Plains University is trusting Doctor Bad Ass with a credit card. Scary, no? But seriously, a two-hour training? When you could have just given me the rules and regs? I spent a good bit of the training making a to-do list, as follows:
  • analyze qualitative pieces of state-wide survey
  • make comments on my co-editor's writing on the journal call for proposals
  • do a write up on potential cover art for the journal
  • read four books I just bought on teaching writing
  • check on data for the program report
  • schedule submission of the program report
  • get Roxy's paperwork finished and mailed (for obedience classes! She doesn't really need them, but we're doing it anyway!)
  • get together readings for a graduate seminar
  • set up voicethreads for my fall courses
  • finish setting up course platforms for my fall courses
  • create a bibliography for a reading/writing resource fair
  • prep for 1st week of class
  • set up a date and place for mentor teacher workshop
  • register for a conference
  • renew organization membership
  • make dinner reservations for this Friday
  • sit down with department office associate to find out about procurement card reconciliation process

Most of that I've got to get done between now and Wednesday, since the beginning of school meetings and such will start on Thursday.

OK, I'm off to start on some of that list...