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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

kinda sorta

I got myself seated and working a little earlier than I have been of late, but I'm working at home and after sitting for, oh, a long time, realized that I hadn't been setting the timer to get me up and moving every now and then. "That's OK," I thought, "I'll just take a longer walk than usual to make up for it and then get back to work."

Well, I did the walk part.

It's another utterly, spectacularly gorgeous day, so the walk went on even longer than I intended, but once I sat down, all my energy deflated with a sad, whimpering squeak, so no more work is going to take place today.

In checking through my campus e-mail today, I got the information about when adjuncts need to submit their preference forms for fall--and it's in early June. So when I see Bruce next week, I'll ask him if he wants me to do a first pass through at least most of it before I head off to Idaho and other points west. Some time back I also got a link to evaluate adjunct applications. I looked at one, but then I realized that looking at them all would be quite a time-consuming enterprise, and I didn't want to take the time out of the sabbatical project for that, or not just yet anyway. So, that's another question for when I see Bruce.

I'm starting to think that perhaps I need to make a list of the questions I want to ask him: they seem to be piling up. Then again, I'll be working with him for most of the week, I imagine, so if I forget a question on any one occasion, there will certainly be other chances for me to ask.

I have to say, almost every time I check my campus e-mail--which I have to do more often than I'd like, just to keep things manageable--I encounter something that either makes me angry or fills me with discouragement. Education is under attack all over the country--often even by the best intentioned "champions" of education--and NCC is no exception. But one of my former student stars, who went from NCC to Columbia and now is off to Oxford, just posted a photo of Columbia at night, a photo in which it looks every bit a temple of higher education, and I thought, "Thank God there are still a few places like that around." Of course, I have no idea what kinds of battles are being fought behind the scenes at Columbia, how the standards of education are being eroded (or what struggle is going on so they're not to eroded), but there certainly is a benefit to being an enormous, private institution in the Ivy League instead of being a community college in a state system.

Still, as I think with despair about what we're facing, how hard we're having to fight just to keep what little we've got, I know that I've made a difference in a few lives. My Oxford-bound former student is only one shining example. And I tell myself that they're why I keep fighting--and why having this sabbatical as a time to rest and recover is part of the sabbatical project. I may or may not finish all the pieces, even in rough-draft form, before I have to fling myself back into the teaching trenches, but the time I spend resting is going to benefit my students in the long run. Certainly it will benefit me.

And on that note, I'm going to hang up my spurs for the day and loaf around until it's time to meet Paul for dinner. He's in deep water right now, because he agreed to be on the Executive Council of the Academic Senate, so he's not in the trenches: he's out there running across mine fields and barbed wire, surrounded by cannon fire. I am glad to be able to support and encourage him--and the entire academic community is lucky as hell to have him on the front lines for us--but the contrast between what he's going through and my reasons for wining and complaining make it very clear how completely spoiled I am.

So I'm going to spoil myself some more. Because, for a while longer, I can.

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