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Wednesday, September 3, 2014


...Fiction Writing was fine. One student was AWOL; otherwise everyone was there and seemed to be cheerful enough. I suspect it will take a while for everyone to loosen up and get comfy with each other and with me. I don't want to do my usual "ice breaker" exercise; it does help me remember names, but I never like doing it with a very small class--and I'm getting a little bored with it anyway. I'll try to simply use their names as often as I can, and I've asked them to remind me of their names when I call on them, unless I use the name without prompting. We did a little free-writing, and some of the students were brave enough to share their stuff; only one felt the need to apologize.

That student has me curious. He has an interesting accent: it mostly sounds British, but there are some sounds that are more American to my ear. Maybe at some point I'll find something out about his background, but I also have an eye on him because something is up: he may feel he's "too cool for school," or he may be easily distracted, or he may have an unusual mental process learning difficulty, but he seemed to labor over the simple information on the attendance cards I keep, and he didn't seem to want to make eye contact with anyone. There are a million possibilities for what could have been going on, but I'm curious to see how he settles in.

And my two former students were lovely. The quiet young woman who was in both my 102 last fall and in Nature in Lit in the spring is with me, as is the highly intelligent young man with self-discipline problems who was in Mystery & Detective last fall, and, again, Nature in Lit in the spring. She is very much the scientist, so she's being very brave to take creative writing. I grant you, she probably needs a "fine and performing arts" credit, and our creative writing classes count for that requirement, but there are a lot of other choices she could have made--and I think she was the first student to sign up for the class. I'm proud of her for stretching herself, and I truly, sincerely, hope she has some fun with it.

That's my main concern right now. I want them to have fun. Everyone is very serious at the moment, and if we don't loosen up, it'll be deadly. The one thing I can say for last year's obnoxious cheerleader type was at least she was bouncy and loud and unintimidated--and very ready to party--so she helped set a relaxed, playful tone for the room, which I liked. Which I want again. I'll be mulling that over between now and Monday.

As for tomorrow, I just checked, and the enrollment on my 101s has not budged. Ah well. We'll see how things go when I meet those students again (and, I hope, meet a few who were AWOL).

Shifting gears, but very much on my mind: in the break between Advisement and class, I spent some time on my application for promotion. Eventually I will need to start matching up "claims" with "documents" to be sure I have everything I need--and I have the sneaking suspicion I don't: I may not have gotten the requisite forms for some of my college-wide committee service. If I don't have the form, I can't make the claim--and although I can do a little of what I've already been doing, asking people to send me stuff I forgot to ask for or (I blush) have simply lost, there are some things for which I've simply missed the boat. And I feel I need every teeny tiny thing I can find: I did a lot more scholarship that counted toward my promotion to associate than I've done since. I just have to pray like mad that what I have looks more impressive to other people than it does to me.

Tomorrow I start with a meeting of the ad hoc committee that has formed to work out the logistics of what we're calling "seminar hours." I know I mentioned in a summer post that I'd done some work on that; what I'd forgotten is that each of us had volunteered to take on one particular area stipulated in the contract language: I did something for everything (and nothing much for the one I was assigned). Oh well, idiot me. At least I did something.

And committee work is going to gear up right quick here. Let the bitching begin. What I'm taking on will help my application for promotion a little, but idling along and then suddenly doing a spate of work doesn't help: I hope that won't be the impression I convey. More to the point, however, I'm doing the committee stuff I'm doing because I care about the committees in question. I say it repeatedly: this job would be infinitely easier if I didn't give a shit.

Now, however, the only thing I do give a shit about is getting myself out of here while it's still early. Off I go, into the tame, overcast yonder.

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