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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Early (and brief) post

What started this morning as a small itch in the back of my throat is blossoming into what feels like an oncoming cold. I'm throwing the full barrage of herbal/vitamin cold-busters at it, but I'm feeling puny enough that I want to pretty much head straight home after class. I'll stop in the office long enough to drop off my work back and pick up my home bags, but I won't stay to write a post: I need to get home and cozy.

The irony is that, last week, I had said to myself (and to my office mates) that I was planning to cancel classes on the 31st. However, my intention was to do so and have a day that I could enjoy--or at least use productively on my own stuff (revising the sabbatical application--or even just cleaning the apartment, which is on the verge of requiring a haz-mat team). Then, as this week progressed, I was thinking, "No, I don't want to cancel: I want to have the day to work with the students on what they've read." We'll see how I feel in the morning, but my body may have taken the decision out of my hands.

Which is one hell of a strange image, my body taking something out of my hands....

But as for today: first, there was a surprising deluge of students in the Advisement center--or it was surprising until we realized that the college just sent out an e-mail to the students telling them when they can start registering for spring. The faculty advisers rolled through the students as rapidly as we could, so I ended up with some time to start working on the papers for 102--at which point, I realized that my work on revising the check sheet for final versions hadn't done what I needed, the way I needed. I came back to the office and did it one more time--and it still isn't quite what I'd like, but it's a lot closer. Paul and I were talking about it as we walked back to the office from Advisement, and here is the difference in our pedagogical approaches. My check-list is five pages long. Paul would keep his to one page. I want detail--and to do as much as I can to prevent any kind of misunderstanding. Paul wants succinct, as succinct is clear.

Well, flip a coin. My way works for me. (I hope it works for my students, too.) Paul's way would be equally valid and useful.

I'm about to head off to the Fiction Writing class; perhaps I'll find a time later to give the overview of how that goes. I'm planning another free-write--and the homework is as follows: raiding from the Gotham Writers' Workshop book Fiction Writing, I have put together a list of questions to answer about our characters. It's quite a list--and some of the questions are wonderfully odd (such as, describe what the character has on his/her feet--or if the feet are bare, describe the feet themselves). I'm beginning to get a sense of how I want the at-home exercises to build into their third stories (and I need to remind myself when those are due, so I know how much preparatory work I can have them do before they have to write the actual stories). The free-write assignments are less obviously connected to their story production, though I am telling them that they can use their assigned character as the central person for those in-class exercises. However, the free-writing is important just to loosen them up--the way my undergrad drawing instructor generally had us start each class simply drawing huge loops and circles, filling the page with big, loose but firm lines.

Shifting gears a bit: in thinking about working with the Fiction students today, I thought, "Oh, yeah: I want to have my own character notes with me, so I can indulge in the free-writing along with them." In the process of trying to find that piece of paper, I realized I cannot locate the notepad on which I took all the notes of the two observations from last week. I'm hoping like hell I took it home, as I truly do not see it in the office anywhere--and I barely remember anything from either class: I need those notes in order to do my reports. I can't imagine I actually thought I might work on those observations over the weekend, but if I didn't take that pad home, I'm going to have a hell of a challenge, trying to reconstruct what I saw from very shaky memory.

Now, however, it's about time to toddle off to class--and I do want to get myself a cup of tea on the way, so off I go. Here's hoping I feel well enough to hold classes tomorrow--and to get some other work done as well. Lots piling up from P&B, and next week is meeting-heavy. Well, one way or another, it will all get done. It always does.

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