Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bullets of weary-but-well

  • The honors admin conference was great. I took feverish notes in every panel and had to put huge stars next to every idea that I got for our program in order to keep track of them. Met with Awesome New Dean on Monday and got the go-ahead for several of the short-term changes I'd like to make; he's also enthusiastic about the long-term changes. In the end, I'm probably going to wind up doing a good bit of work over the next year or so to get these things off the ground, but I think that it could really beef up our Honors program--which would add to the intellectual climate on campus in a very positive way.
  • If I'm going to stay at Field, I want to have a hand in making it the kind of college where I want to be. So yeah, there's work. But if it can have a real impact, then it's worth doing.
  • While I was at the conference, I had dinner with one of my very oldest friends--a dinner that turned into last call in Adams Morgan and then singing along to Erasure and James in his car and finally my staggering back up to my room at 3:30. I had a great time--but reliving them, even for a night, made me wonder how I survived my party years. And kind of glad that they now only live in the occasional nostalgic recreation.
  • Brit Lit finally seems to be taking off this semester, after a half-term of perfectly fine but lackluster sessions. On Monday, I think that I actually managed to teach some poetry well--a rare victory for me. About 14 out of 17 students talked, they were all taking notes, I was bouncing off the walls--and we only discussed two sonnets. It kind of rocked. I was so wound up that I fear I assaulted a senior colleague with my enthusiasm when I passed him in the hall after class.
  • Seminar was a tiny bit poky today, because I was exhausted, but it still ran pretty well--and given that I usually leave that class in a haze of I! Love! Teaching!, I can't complain.
  • Comp is fine. No open rebellions and very few sleepers; everyone is polite and plays along. Can't complain there either.
  • Tonight was the first-ever Honors Banquet, organized and put on by me. It was exactly what I didn't quite dare to hope that it would be: fun, informal, and a very good mix of faculty and students, with an entertaining talk by the former director and some terrific mini-presentations by current thesis-writers. Awesome New Dean told me that it was excellent; a student said that she thought it would be boring but that it was lots of fun; the former director wondered why he'd never done something similar.
  • I also got to catch up with a bunch of Honors students whom I hadn't seen in a while, and who are just super cool and smart.
  • I am now drinking rum.
  • So all the whining in the last post or two aside, things are actually excellent this semester, and you know, I do think that I've started kicking ass in this job. When I look back on my first year, it's almost unrecognizable; I remember thinking that, if I knew I was going to be at Field, teaching these classes, for the rest of my career, I would seriously consider leaving it. And now--I enjoy teaching, I have a great rapport with most of my students, and I'm getting things done on campus. There is definitely too much--and some of that's my fault--but hell, I'm thriving, professionally.
  • I only hope that burn-out doesn't hover on my horizon.


Good Enough Woman said...

Yay for all of the good news. And cheers to you and your rum! I'm drinking port. Clinky-clink!

Sisyphus said...

Yay! Hooray for taking over!

I think that people who go to (and make it out of) grad school are the types who love constant challenges and to be slightly overloaded with stuff, so it makes sense that you'd be constantly seeking out new stuff to learn and implement.

My sister did the same thing as the head safety manager for a biotech company --- she liked moving on to different companies and solving their crises and setting up new safety systems. Challenges are good, routine is deadly.