So yes, I am a Thesis Advisor! (By the way, am I alone in preferring "advisor" to "adviser"? Is "adviser" really the only correct spelling?)
I'm really excited to be working with this student: she's doing a thesis on a topic WAY the hell out of my field, but she seems very bright and enthusiastic and it looks like an interesting project. And if you're wondering why I'm advising a thesis that has nothing to do with my own work, it's because the English department at Field is tiny and there's nobody else to do it. Normally, VAPs and first-year faculty aren't really supposed to act in an advisory capacity, but the chair encouraged me to take this opportunity.
I feel so...so...professorial!
In fact, I'm having a really good week. Nothing especially good has happened; I'm totally stressed and somewhat behind, of course, but that seems to be pretty much normal and I'm learning to live with it. Maybe that's the thing: I'm learning to live with the job. This whole gig does represent a pretty radical change of lifestyle, after all, so it's natural that I'd be a little overwhelmed, or even freaked out, for the first few weeks.
Class today was great, also. I made the conscious decision--and told my students that I was doing this--to relax my hold on the discussion. This is my upper-level course, and I really want it to be discussion-based, but I'd noticed that lately my grip upon the class had been tightening, ever so slowly....to the point where I was literally back behind the podium. So today I made a tremendous effort, the students had clearly done their work, and I actually didn't even use my notes. Trust me: this is a major breakthrough.
(We'll see how long it lasts.)
Now for the less cheery news: The Student. I'm meeting with him tomorrow; I returned his paper yesterday. I'm not looking forward to this meeting, but I am (obviously) much calmer now, and I think that it'll be fine. I'm going to meet with him one-on-one and start off by telling him that this is simply inappropriate, that racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. speech is not acceptable in an academic setting. Period. And then maybe I'll talk about the issues with audience and voice and whatnot--we'll see. He handed in another paper yesterday that is riddled with sexist stereotyping and generalizations, unfortunately. Fortunately, however, the latter paper in no way addresses the assignment! So, while I've written comments all over the draft (it was just an ungraded first draft) that say things like, "Evidence?" and "This is in direct contradiction to your earlier argument" and "What basis do you have for arguing that all women are like this?" and the like, ultimately the problem, for our purposes, is that he has not done the assignment. Hooray!
One rather amusing upshot of this whole situation (and by the way, this is a comp class; I think I forgot to mention the context) is that some of the other students have started overcompensating for his sexism. As you might recall, he made some unpleasant remarks in class about women (basically that we're all backstabbing gold-diggers, although he didn't use those words), so the rest of the class is aware of his views. For this last assignment--which was to critically examine a social construction (or stereotype) about a particular group of people--I received a spate of "Women are equal!" papers. No, this doesn't really address the question either, and one of the things we're going to talk about when we discuss revision is the importance of adhering to the prompt. Oh well. Anyway. My very favorite one--it made me laugh aloud--came from one of The Student's friends. He wrote about how it's a shame that women are made to feel like they have to be thin to be beautiful, or are treated as though they can't do all the jobs that men can do. Women can do anything at all, he says. And all women are equally beautiful in his eyes.
Ummm....yeah, whatever, dude. I do appreciate the effort, though, even if he is just giving me what he thinks I want to hear; at least he's thinking about his audience!