05 November 2009

0-2 So Far, But Spring is Looking Good

Well October was the month of proposals for me, and so far I am 0-2 with one still hanging out there in limbo. My proposal to teach the History of American Women was not accepted, and I am waiting to hear back from my chair to get some feedback. I told her I am in no rush, proposals for Fall 10 courses aren't due until February/March. The second proposal that I am still a little unhappy with was to spend a month teaching in Florence with a colleague of mine in the art history department. We worked our tails off to create a class down to the minute detail, but another thorough proposal was accepted. I was happy to see that it went to another pair that had a very clear aspect of what 4 weeks in Florence would entail. I think I wouldn't be as upset if I knew I would have a shot at wherever the location for summer 2011, but considering the hubby and I have put off having kids long enough, this was probably my last shot for the next 25 years to do something like this. I don't think he'll agree to me moving overseas for a month with a new born, maybe a small child, but we'll see. The last proposal that is hanging out there is to present a paper I co-authored at a conference in San Diego in March/April of 10. I would love to add that to my CV, but right now it seems like an after thought.

One good thing is that my spring semester is really falling into place. I have 2, count them, 1, 2 courses left to take in my program, and they are not being offered on the same day! I can actually finish my program without having to deal with trying to rearrange things like I was worried about for my current semester. As for teaching, I was only offered one course instead of two. I was a little upset with this at first until I remembered last spring I had the same offer. Our students don't take as many humanities/writing courses in the spring based on their schedules. I was able to pick up a second section days before the semester started. On the other hand spring means developing courses for our online summer group. I had two that were basically guaranteed for me. I went to the supervisor and selflessly offered myself up for a third course and she was thrilled! They have been trying to figure out how they were going to balance the courses with the handful of ID people that they use. Yeah me! This means, when I get the contracts, I will be a little bit a head monetarily this spring then I had anticipated. Spring should be interesting, and hopefully distract me for a while from trying to figure out what to do in the fall while writing my DQEs.

07 October 2009

The Less I Have to Do, The Less I Get Done

This semester is rolling along pretty quickly. The school I teach at hits midterm break this weekend, and the school I attend has midterms next week. Things are moving along fairly well. I am a little behind in my grading, which I hate, but I am getting back to being only a week behind rather than almost three! I don't like holding on to students' work very long. I think that those who actually read the feedback appreciate it. I was even told this by former students of mine via comments on Facebook.

I put in a proposal to teach a course on Women in American History and I am hoping that it gets excited. I mean I won't mind teaching my traditional spring courses, but it would be nice to develop my own course. It would also be nice to put that on my CV.

I know you are all worried about my stats class this semester. The class is very dry. The instructor is nice, but I am very easily distracted in that course. I think most of the distraction comes from my unwillingness to believe that this is relevant to my research. That and the textbook is very well written. I took the first test, 100% online, 25 multiple choice questions. I did alright, but I was annoyed with the typos on the exam. It just distracted me. I am waiting until our next class to talk with the professor to see what can be done to prevent this from happening. Again, she is very easy-going, and I don't think she was aware of the typos. I thought about sending her an email, but could not figure out a way to phrase the thing without sounding like a whiner.

One thing that I am having the most trouble with this semester is that I lack pressure to force me to get things done efficiently. I get my work done, but knowing that I have more time available scares me. Will this be how I work when I am cut free to write my DQEs or dissertation? Next semester I have a killer one that I am looking forward to and dreading all in one. I have my last two classes, both very writing intensive, on top of my typical teaching and work load. I hopefully will also have two more classes to develop online for the summer. I can do it, but after a semester that has been pretty lazy in comparison, I am in deperate need of a kick in the arse.

08 September 2009


Well I have been back at the old grind for a little while now. I have been back at "work" for three weeks, teaching for two, and a student for one. And so far, I am just not sure how to call this semester. Work has been very busy, but that is to be expected at the beginning and end of each semester. Of the three courses I was hired to design, one was up and running at the start of the semester. The other two have been postponed due to faculty issues. One is back on track, and isn't going to be offered until next summer, the other is really up in the air, but is supposed to be up this spring. We'll see, I just hope it doesn't prevent me from taking on more development courses this fall, and definitely in the Spring.

The courses I am teaching are running alright, it is still a little bumpy. I dislike not having the entire semester ready to roll before I started the semester, but I am getting there. My students seem really interesting, and I hope the courses really develop great conversations.

My dreaded stats class has started, and I don't quite know what to make of it just yet. The textbook is really quite funny, the author has a similar sense of humor to myself, so at least that is a plus. I am a little annoyed that the professor kept us 20 minutes longer than the class time. We shall see how this plays out.

One interesting discussion that has come up in my class that I am teaching is why women change their last name when they get married. I found a number of interesting responses on Facebook, primarily related to tradition, wanted to start a new chapter in life, or for people like me, not wanting to change for professional and personal reasons. What do you think? Why did you or did you not change your name?

19 August 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time....

Well you get the picture. It is back to school time. I don't know if it just that I am too comfortable being a student or just good at it, but I miss the routine of being in school. I do feel sad that I do not get to purchase any school supplies. I really don't need them, but that is my idea of heaven.

In the last month a number of things have happened, but most of what didn't was getting any further on my DQE readings. I am just not interested in these books. My course this fall starts on the 31st, and I am going to try to read books off of my DQE list this fall since I only have that one course. The two writing courses I am teaching start on the 24th, and though I spent the month of July trying to revamp my syllabus, last week I got the revamped curriculum from my chair. 65% of the readings I normally used were dropped and two of the three units were dropped in favor of new ones. I have hurried this week to try and develop a new course, and so far so good, but I will have to develop the assignments as we go, and I hate that feeling. Maybe I can get a chunk done this weekend.

I am also trying to finish up the courses I am developing online for faculty members. One class goes live on the 31st, and hopefully, after our meeting tomorrow, will be near completion. The other two courses I was assigned are not going live until January, but need to be finished soon so I can be assigned some new ones that come down the pipe line. One is about 1/4 the way done on my part. The other class has yet to begin, and I have not heard from that faculty member. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can get two more assigned this fall. I really enjoy doing the development and I can't lie, the money is outstanding. I am a little concerned that this may dry up, due to a few moves going on at the university. Hopefully this just means that there will be more than enough courses to go around and they are getting serious about hiring a full-time instructional designer.

On that note, I had my first back to school meeting for the doc students in my program. I will finish my course work this year, and I have gotten very comfortable with my lifestyle as a student. I am a little nervous with how the next few years will pan out. I mean, I think I can maintain my status quo, but seeing the jobs opening up with the ID position, and a few others that I think I could do, I am afraid of being distracted from goals by these positions. I don't know why I am worried about the next school year, other than I am a planner and I worry about where the money is coming from and how to plan financially. If I took a full-time position, money and benefits like maternity leave would give me piece of mind, but leave less time for research and completing my dissertation on target. Staying put would give me the flexibility to continue to research and to not have to keep a child in day care 8 hours a day 5 days a week, but leave me no monetary security or benefits like maternity leave. It is one of the reasons why I have put off having children until I am done with my course work. I have very little time left on the agreement I have made with my husband.

31 July 2009

Great Tweets of Science

I found this amusing and thought I would share:

28 July 2009

Summer Vacation - Grad Student Style

So this is my second summer in my program and it is almost over. I have worked, not just on my own work, at least 10 hours a week, if not more. My crackberry and/or laptop is glued to me at all times, and I am always putting out little fires here and there. I do like that part of my job. I like being the one that people email/call when they need help. Unfortunately, there really isn't too much of a break from this, no matter where I go. I spent a week on a Caribbean cruise and the weekend in Miami. I worked about 12 hours on that vacation. I spent a week in the Wisconsin Dells area with my family, and put in another 10 hours or so. I will be going back to the Wisconsin Dells are with the girls this weekend and hopefully will not have to work more than 2 hours this weekend. What is nice is that I have been invited to present what I do to two different groups, one an entire college's faculty development day, and the other group are the new TA's in the department I got my MA in. While I am flattered by this attention, this I've got to prep for these sessions as well as get ready for my classes this fall. The PhD Comic below sums up how I feel:

21 July 2009

Amen, Sister

This is from BitchPhD's Twitter page: "Dear Pixar, From All the Girls with Band-Aids on Their Knees."

I don't remember growing up wanting to be a princess and I am deeply disturbed as I see it being the only heroine marketed to young girls nowadays. Why do girls not get an animated woman with a profession or an education who is not waiting for a man to help define her? Maybe this is because I am reading Gilligan's In A Different Voice, but I just keep thinking about how different parents treat their children, not based on personality, but based on the child's sex. These differences in treatment will drastically shape children's personalities, and yet the parents wonder why these girls are so desperate for a relationship/sex and the boys are always pushing boundaries to prove their masculinity. It comes back to childhood role models and treatment!

I am on vacation with my family all week and it is fascinating to see how different my niece is treated when compared with my nephews. Even just the word choices are different. It is not bad, but it makes you wonder. People seem more obsessed with pronouncing the differences in the sexes, rather than showing the similarities. Parents are given little options to be sex-neutral in toys, clothing, or programming. Everything is his and hers rather than one size fits all. Stores are split down the middle separating the pink from the blue. What if pink is not your daughter's color, or you son prefers green? Do they go naked rather than defy the rules of the Baby Gap?

12 June 2009

Summer Lovin'

I've been off for a month now, and though I have not completed any projects yet, I have started numerous ones. I have my kitchen under construction, and with the help of a friend it is now painted. I have the cabinet bases to still paint, and the doors, but one step is complete, so I am very happy to have that behind me. The hinges have been spray painted (they were brass and my hardware is nickel), and I have drilled holes for the hardware I got for free from my SIL who didn't care for it. I have material to make a Roman shade for the window, but that is the last step. I am hoping that by Monday night the cabinet bases and all wood will be painted. I can take care of sanding and painting all 17 cabinet doors and 6 drawers individually, but to have all of the contents of my counters in my dining room is driving my OCD into overdrive. I can deal with it for only so long. After all our handy work is done we are going to replace the appliances and range hood with money saved from our tax return. With the little financial windfall I have coming in from work, I think we will finish up the whole kitchen by putting in new flooring, sink, facet, and counter top. Those were going to be the 2009 tax return, but if we can finish it this summer and enjoy a completed kitchen, all the better. Then the tax return can be all about the only room in our condo that hasn't been updated from all its 1980's glory, the bathroom. That one has to be a professional job. We only have one bathroom, and cannot have it torn up for more than a few days before my husband and I need counselors.

I partially read one book for my DQE group. I couldn't finish it in time. I got pulled into some meetings just before our group met. I am now developing 3 courses over the summer. I am loving the money that I will get. It is nice because this fall I will not be a graduate assistant, and with these 3 classes I have made up the money the part-time assistantship paid me all year. On top of this there is a lot of rumbling around the office of more courses to develop this coming school year! So much so that I am helping train another course developer.

I also got my doctoral program planning form approved by the graduate school on campus. This means that I have 9 credits, or 3 classes left to take in my program. I have the dreaded stats this fall, all by its little lonesome, and in the spring I have our capstone course where we work on our dissertation proposals and I will also take a history research seminar to replace an ed research course. This is all really falling into place. I feel like things are going a little too well. I appreciate the good, but I am too much of a pessimist to not stop and look for falling shoes. I am not looking for the bad, but want to catch it before it becomes a big issue.

26 May 2009

I'm Back

I know it has been a while since my last post. I will try and keep this short. I finished my semester, all of my work turned in, with little time to spare, and yet this procrastination was rewarded with A's from both of my professors. This is slightly disturbing to me, I feel like I should be punished for my slacking, but I guess that school is just coming way too easily for me. On top of this, grades don't count at this level any more. No employer is going to ask my GPA, just verify if I indeed received my PhD.
I am still figuring out my fall semester, but hopefully now I will be able to get this taken care of. I was on vacation last week, one wonderful week in the Caribbean, and a very interesting weekend on Miami Beach, was needed to help recharge my batteries and get me focused on a summer of reading DQE books.
There are other things running through my mind about what to write, but I will save that for another day. I did join Twitter while procrastinating the last weeks of school. I find it to be similar to a stream of Facebook status updates, and just as addictive. Check out my page if you are interested.

01 May 2009

Finals Week

I know you worry when I don't post updates on my to-do list. So here it is:
  • 12-15 page historiography - due Monday
  • 3 page book review (still need to read that book) - due Monday
  • Add a paragraph or two to the Title IX paper - due Monday
  • Finish grading the last 6 portfolios and about 6 projects - Grades due Monday
  • 1 Final exam (which is now a take home!) - due Friday
  • Grade 19 lesson plans

Once that is done, it is sweet freedom until classes resume August 31st. When all this is complete I will have 30 doctoral credits! I still haven't gotten this fall figured out, but my advisor doesn't seem to be worried about it. He told me that we can figure it out during finals week, which is next week. I am a little paranoid, but that is my nature. I like to have things like this planned out. The last conversation I had with Pablo made me happy. He told me we would look for a master's course that would cover, leaving me with 9 credits left to take! I don't want to get my hopes up, but that would be fricking awesome.

Summer for me this year is beginning to look more interesting. I am going to watch my youngest nephew this summer, about 4 days a week. He will be two this June and is just a riot at this age. Since my other jobs are 10 month contracts, I am free this summer. I will be trying to get my DQE books hammered out this summer. On top of that, there might be two more courses that I can develop online. If the money is anything like this past semester, that would be fantastic. Speaking of development. I still have one more course to finish up, which I can do next week. The course doesn't begin until after Memorial Day, so I have a little more time to finish the second half. I just need to light a fire under my own behind, then get on the professor's case.

Lastly, I had a doctor appointment yesterday. No I don't have the swine flu, I just went for a check up. I am officially down 24 pounds since surgery. I am happy with that, but I am trying to figure out how my height shrank one entire inch.

28 April 2009

How I Spent This Past Weekend

Anyone who teaches understands this one. I am just frustrated as i get through the last few chunks of grading. My final grades are due on May 4th, along with my papers. Here is what is left on my list:
  • 12-15 page historiography
  • 8-10 page paper on Title IX
  • 3 page book review (still need to read that book)
  • 1 final exam
  • Grade 19 final lesson plans
  • Grade the inch of late work turned in
  • Grade 30 portfolios
  • Grade 19 final projects

I know I added more to the pile because I had previously lumped the grading together. Now that my course work is thinning out it is time for me to concentrate on what needs to be graded. Once all of this is done I have to finish one of the courses I am developing. One has been completed for over a month; the second one is about half-way done. The professor teaching the course is also very slow in getting me the material. Either way, I know I can hammer it out during finals week.

23 April 2009

Last Weeks of the Semester

To best explain graduate school to you, I have found this cartoon:
Yep, that's about it for now. The brain is a fine grated parmesan, but one more thing can be crossed off my list, but I keep forgetting to add the grading of student work to the pile.
  • 12-15 page historiography of girls' secondary education (Got the due date moved to Monday of finals week, giving me an extra weekend to work on it! Now due Monday 4 May)
  • 1000 word paper on HPV and a group presentation on it (Due Tuesday 28 April)
  • 8-10 page paper on Title IX (Due Monday 4 May)
  • 3 page book review of Oakes' Keeping Track (Due Wednesday 29 April)
  • 1 final exam (Friday 8 May)
  • Grade all of my students' work and portfolios, grades due Monday 4 May

16 April 2009


I know that you are all concerned about how I am doing with my work load with a little over two weeks left in the semester.  I have finished two of my assignments, the 250 word paper on childhood in the 1950s and a 500 word essay on the history of Play-Doh for my show and tell.  My show and tell got moved to next week, but those two papers are done.  The group presentation on HPV is done, now to hammer out the 1000 word essay on it.  Below is my list of my own work to take care of by the end of the semester.  It helps me to make lists of what needs to be done.
  • 12-15 page historiography of Girls' Secondary Education
  • 1000 word paper on HPV and a group presentation on it as well.
  • 8-10 page paper on Title IX
  • Six 1-page legal briefs
  • Three page book review of OakesKeeping Track
  • One final exam
I also have a pile of grading to take care of for the courses that I am teaching.  I was able to catch up on some of the work, but I just feel a little overwhelmed.  I know things will get done, but I felt the need to complain here. 

On the other hand, it has been 5 weeks since my surgery.  I have lost 17 pounds.  I feel back to normal, I just need to find the time to get back into a workout routine.  

For an update on the stats situation, I have enrolled in the stats class that will work for my program.  The faculty member believes that this class should work for me, as long as I am willing to read earlier portions of the book when I get lost.  I had to drop the other course that conflicts with the stats class.  I am waiting for Pablo to write me back and let me know what I can do.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that they move the course to another night so I can have it all fall into place.  I am not too worried, I was the only student registered for the course.  I just like having this planned out a head of time.  It is one less thing for me to worry about.

09 April 2009

I Hate Statistics, and You Should Too

If you have not noticed by now, I am not a scientist or a mathematician. I am a trained historian and an educator. The program that I am in requires all of its students to take a graduate level statistics class, and is very specific about which courses qualify. There are two courses in the entire university that qualify, as far as I know and have been told. I understand why they want their students to have a background in statistics, it doesn't mean that I have to like it. What happened is that I met with my advisor, Pablo, and it went very well. If the graduate school accepts one of my master's degree courses for credit, I have 12 credits left. Four classes, two each semester, and I am done with all the course work for my doctorate. It is a scary thought. One of these classes is the stats class that I have been putting off since I began this program in the Fall of 07. I have very little wiggle room for the four courses left. I have registered for one course this fall and I am trying to get into the one stats class that will let someone like me, who has not had stats since 1997, take the course. I have to get permission from the instructor who has never taught this particular class and is not completely sure if she will cover any introductory material. She is being really good about trying to help me determine if I want to attempt this course without a refresher. Here is the problem I am faced with now. The stats class is offered on the same day and roughly the same time as the only other class that I will be taking this fall. The two that I will take in Spring of 10 are not offered until Spring so there are not really any other options that I am aware of at the moment. Pablo told me to worry about the stats first and the other class will figure itself out. I have a great advisor!

On another front, I am working on hammering out my pile of grading. I think that I have let the students suffer enough agony waiting for their graded work to be returned. Today is a day of marathon grading. Then I will turn to getting my papers done. Here is the last few things I have to complete this semester:
  • 12-15 page historiography of Girls' Secondary Education
  • 1000 word paper on HPV and a group presentation on it as well.
  • 250 word paper on childhood leisure activities in the 1950s
  • 500 word paper on a toy and a show and tell presentation (I still need a toy)
  • 8-10 page paper on Title IX
  • Six 1-page legal briefs
  • Three page book review of Oakes' Keeping Track
  • One Final Exam

There is three weeks of classes left, so I have my work cut out for me. I will be very happy when I can start crossing these off my list.

31 March 2009

5 Weeks and Counting...

Today it has been 3 weeks since my surgery and I am really feeling like myself again. Food is still entertaining, and I still have protein shakes to scarf down, but it is a little easier each passing day. Things are looking up.

As for the academic side of my life, I have been trying to plan what should be the last year of coursework! I have 12-18 credits left to take. Three of which are proscribed by my program and I am not quite sure about the other 3-9 credits. I meet with my advisor, Pablo, Thursday to hammer out the finale to my academic career. It is very exciting to see the halfway point in the marathon that is my doctoral program. It is also an odd feeling to think that after the coursework is done, I will be on my own, with no net. There isn't someone setting deadlines as to when my drafts are due or I will fail a course.

On the subject of deadlines, I have been way too good at procrastinating this semester. That 1000 word paper, got an A. I know that this
school should come easy to me after 10 plus years, but it is a little scary that I can do this without putting in the effort. It worries me. I have a few papers and projects that I am putting off, alongside all of grading that I have piled up. I need to find a way to stop doing this to myself. Any suggestions? With 5 weeks and counting left to this semester I need to find something to kick me in the butt.

16 March 2009

Back in the Saddle

So my surgery is over. I stayed one night in the hospital, just to help control the pain and make sure I was strong enough to get home. I have asthma, so I worry about making sure my breathing is consistent and not too painful. I have been mending slowly but each day is a better improvement. The toughest part now is to stick to the very strict diet attached to the recovery. I am only allowed to eat pureed food for the next two weeks and also have to consume 3 protein shakes a day. I feel like I am always preparing, measuring, or eating/drinking. I have to try and keep to a more consistent schedule, and this requires me downing the protein shakes while teaching. Let me tell you that they do not mix. I am not one to drink lots of shakes, so doing this three times a day is becoming problematic. I just have to get over this dislike of eating/ingesting these in front of my students. I have disclosed to them the nature of the surgery and why I have this going on, and they are fascinated by the whole process.

On other news, I am procrastinating from writing a 1000 word paper that is due on Thursday morning. I am just wiped out from my first day back after spring break surgery. I just cant seem to find my motivation to just get it done. I have 6 hours in my office tomorrow to work on it, plus all night tomorrow. I do have some other homework due on Wednesday that has to get done as well. Instead of working on these things, I am writing about it. I feel like this is becoming a broken record with me. I want to know where my motivation went. How can I get my energy and focus back? Anyone have any ideas?

Tomorrow is one of my favorite holidays, St Patrick's Day. I don't say this because it is an excuse to drink, but I am of Irish descent, and it is a day to help people understand Irish culture. I will not be able to partake in my traditional events, I am not allowed to drink alcohol for a year, and I cannot have my Reuben lunch that I traditionally share with a friend. Well I could, but it would have to be pureed and that is just the desecration of the blender. So the only way to help me get into the spirit of the holiday was to look yet again at my photos from my trip to Ireland. The last two I posted were well accepted.
Here is a photo of an area called the Burren, County Clare:

Here are the Dublin steps. This is the old entrance to the city and reportedly the most haunted site in Dublin. Do you see any thing?

An lastly for you all is the Irish version of the dollar store:

08 March 2009


I am on break this week and anticipating a life-changing surgery on Tuesday. Now that I have been able to clean up a few loose ends I have been reflecting on the last few years of my life and all of the changes that have occurred that led me to where I am today. Almost a year ago, my husband and I went on our honeymoon to Ireland, and there I feel I found some of the most peaceful places to reflect on life. I wish I could go back there now. The country had such a calming effect on me. Here are two of my favorite places that help me focus more on life than on the projects I have to complete. The first is of Ladies' View in the Kilarney National Park, looking down on the Lakes of Kilarney.

The second photo was taken in Glendalough, on the grounds of St. Kevin's monastery. The place was so peaceful and serene that words could not even begin to describe it.

So now as I a mentally preparing myself for surgery, and for the end to this semester, I have tried to find the mental peace that was so readily available to me on my journey through Ireland. Viewing the photos of these places have brought me some peace, hopefully sharing them with you can do the same.

03 March 2009

Pet Peeves

So this will be a shorter post, but I am just really being annoyed lately by pretentious people. I mean, I think that I am smart. I have a few pieces of paper that say that I am, but I really cannot stand it when people try to sound smart for no reason.

Could it be that this person has learned a few new words and wants to share them with me in a sentence? Could it be that they are intimidated by my team's recent trivia win? Could it be that being on a college campus they just feel the need to sound more academic?

I am not sure, but it annoys the crap out of me when people try and make themselves sound so self-important. I am not asking that smart people dumb themselves down when talking, but using technical jargon in a relatively casual conversation doesn't impress me.

25 February 2009

Resume vs. CV

I have always hated trying to explain what a CV is to people outside of academia. It is not just another way to write a resume. It is a little more than that. The comic below hit it right on the head. For thouse of you yet to have put yours together, you have my sympathies.

24 February 2009

Bad, Bad Blogger

I realize that it has been almost 2 months since my last post. This just shows how busy I have been this semester. Partly because I prefer to clear off my DVR some days than sitting and grading papers, and partly because I am just that busy. I have found it very difficult to say no when I am offered jobs on campus.
It is now week 7 of the semester, spring break is right around the corner. On a happy note, both institutions that I work with are off at the same time. I have scheduled to have a medical procedure done over break, so that I can start the second half of the semester without having to take any time off. Everyone seems to be very supportive of this surgery, which is such a relief, and work will not be an issue. I will be having the surgery on Tuesday 10 March, and should be able to work from home Wednesday and Thursday. I am hoping that I feel well enough to come to work on Friday for a little while. I have had a surgery previous to this one and felt pretty much normal within a few days.
Along with this I have to start planing for the next school year. I am debating on renewing my assistantship. The pay is consistent, but more importantly, it covers 4.5 credits a semester. The reason I am thinking about not applying is the headache I had at the start of the previous semester. I really don't want to have to deal with another faculty member who doesn't understand my needs or my schedule. If I get signed on to teach at the other college again, and continue my IT job, that is more than enough money. We survived on less my first year. This does mean that I take out more in loans for my last year. My husband doesn't mind if I do. He says it's up to me. I don't think he even has a full comprehension of my student loan debt, and I don't think that is how he views me being a student. I have 12-18 credits left to take, and should pound out at least 12 next year, leaving one or two classes to complete. I will have 30 in the bag at the end of this year, and I think that I am just getting too old to run around like this. I think that if I had a contract for teaching this fall and an assurance that I could work on more course development next spring, I would drop the assistantship in a heart beat. The monthly check would be missed, but it would be one less thing that I have to take care of. I think that the major crux of this is that I would need to know that I would either be teaching 6 credits again this fall or that I would be assigned as an assistant to the awesome faculty member that I have been working with for 2 years. I know that the latter won't likely happen, but the former is very possible.
On a happy note, I had the Dean of Faculty sit in on one of my classes. Of course he chose the morning section where the students are very quiet and non-participatory. We have been discussing Persepolis. Based on their homework, the students have been enjoying the work. In class they are almost silent. I fretted about what to do in class. I received some great advice about how to get them talking. The class went well, they were talking. The dean thought I rocked it! He told me how much fun he had had in the class, and even told this to other faculty that I work with. I was on such a high all week. Hopefully this translates into a fall contract.

16 January 2009

Semester Three

I don't even know where to begin other than to say that I have one week of this semester in the bag. I think that I may have bitten off more than I can chew. For me even to admit that, is a big step. At this time last month my teaching load had dropped from 2 courses to 1 so I was kind of scrambling to find a little work to act as a filler. I have one position on campus that I work 20 hours at, and 10 hour graduate assistantship. I only registered for 6 credits, so I was waffling between added another 3 credits or just taking it a little easy with the one course.

I mentioned the cancellation of this course to one of my supervisors, who then and there offered me a great opportunity to become an online course developer. I would work with a faculty member on campus, take their existing face-to-face course and make it 100% online with the help of all of the university's resources at my disposal. Great! I'll do it. I watched them do this last year with 6 courses and it looked like a great opportunity. On top of all of this, I could work on a course that I have a good comprehension of, Western Civ. Things are really looking up. On top of this, the course developer position pay is more than the pay for the course that got dropped from my teaching load. Great, I will be ahead of the monetary game this semester.

So then last Friday rolls around, and my supervisor for the course development comes to me and offers me a second course to develop. Sweet! And it is another history course, though this time not in an area I am familiar with, Africa, but one that looks to be very interesting. At this point all I can see is dollar signs flashing and a few bills that I have showing a $0 balance. Things really seem to be looking up for me.

So I go into the weekend happy, but a little busy, trying to finish prepping as much as I can for the class that I am teaching. I also wanted to give the house a thorough cleaning and take down the Christmas decorations. The domestic goddess in me goes on hiatus when the semester starts and won't return for a few months. On Saturday morning, as I am taking lights off the tree, I get a phone call from the college that I teach at. It is the Dean of Faculty. He tells me that the section I had dropped was reopened the night before due to enrollment being too large in another section. How would you like to have this course back on you teaching assignment? Silly me, thinking only about the money that I would be making, said yes. Now, I would be teaching a course that I just finished teaching two sections of last semester. I can very easily prep for the course. But it does require me to do all of the grading.

So now I am taking 6 credits, teaching 6 credits, developing 6 credits, working 10 hours a week as a graduate assistant, and 20 hours a week in IT. This really isn't too different from last semester, but it just feels overwhelming. This on top of the idea that in both of my classes I am the only doc student, so the professor for each has assigned me an extra paper. I expected that, but it still doesn't help matters. On the bright side, this semester I only have one faculty member that I am working for as a graduate assistant.

06 January 2009

Say It Isn't So...

So, back to reality. After two weeks of doing nothing related to my own academic career other than dealing with all of those loose pieces of paper floating in folders and my saddle bag (my backpack), it is time to get back into school mode. Unfortunately this is not something that I can be eased back into. I have back to back meetings basically for the rest of this week while I also need to prepare the course that I am teaching this spring. I have never taught the course before and over the break two of the four books were changed out. Unfortunately they dropped Maus, which I love teaching. It was replaced by another graphic novel that I enjoy, Persepolis, but I have not taught that one before. So here I am, less than a week away from the start of the semester and I am trying to throw together a course calendar. The other works that we will be tackling are Night, An Ordinary Man, and a few Greek tragedies that I haven't read since high school. If you have any insights, they are welcome. Needless to say, teaching this course will make this an interesting semester. My own classes also start next week as well. I am looking forward to having two faculty members that I have not had in years. I have one education course and one history course, hopefully allowing me to have more of a balance in my mental paradigms.

Again my love of PhD Comics cannot be captured in mere words, but below I have a comic that sums up yesterday: