Archive for the teaching Category

reset.

Posted in bff, drama drama drama, fall is football, gators, grrrrr., teaching on September 17, 2009 by drbolte

“i hate this week, and i just want it to be over.”

that’s what i said this morning to the bff, who in his magnificent, non-fixer way just hugged me.  he didn’t tell me “hey. idiot. it’s thursday. it IS almost over.” he didn’t say “my good grief, woman, what is it about thursdays with you?”

he just hugged me.  then he made me laugh.  by that time, i had decided to make today a good day.

so as i am biting the head off of animals (in cracker form, of course…the last was a camel), i thought i’d blog about what’s been going on with me.

in really vague terms.

first, to update you on the student situation, things are better. i have begun to realize that a) not all of the populations that i teach are the same. i need to adapt, and realizing that has eliminated a lot of my frustration. i’ll still be expecting a lot…but i think if i begin to think of student population a as more like student population c than student population b (a, b, and c all being institutions where i currently teach), i am suddenly much more able to deal.

also, i laid the compassionate smackdown on the class that was bothering me most and called out the sleeping students in the other class.  of course, big giant turdhead sleeping student then gave me major attitude after class, wrapped in fake respect, so that frosted my cookies but i believe in karma and so i believe that his freshman butt will have some kind of major comeuppance soon.  and that warms the cold cockles of my shriveled, cynical heart.

anyway.

i have been feeling pretty lame, physically and in many ways.  the megalameness stemmed from something that i can’t/won’t talk about here.  nothing bad.  nothing that involved anyone else. i just felt like an idiot. i should have known better. i should have listened to my head instead of my girl emotions.  i should have been able to push past my preoccupation and gotten things done.

couldawouldashoulda never got anyone anywhere, but there you go.  i really felt stupid.

but at this point i sort of just shrug and call it experience. i don’t really know what else to do. i suppose i might be vindicated–maybe i’m not as stupid as i think–but maybe not. and if not? experience.

experienceexperienceexperience. all things are for our profit and learning.

but this feeling stupid and lame has really put a megaseriouscrimp in my multitasking, work-the-to-do-list mentality.  i am behind, and…well, i don’t like being behind.

(it contributes to the feeling megalame.)

in what is a serious pile of crap that might be tinged with a silver lining, the student ticket office essentially called me a liarface when i tried to go pick up the tickets that we purchased from another season ticket holder.  even though they have let me not only pick up tickets with those same IDs (obviously not mine, or else what would be the reason for purchasing them from someone else?) for TWO WEEKS STRAIGHT but i’ve also upgraded one of those tickets using the same id.

ohhailackofconsistentenforcement aka it’s the first SEC game and blah.

apparently i have to get someone who actually has season tickets in their name to pick up my tickets with theirs.  guess what? it’s the first sec game so everyone already did oh hello grrr.

so instead of spending 4 hours in the swamp on saturday afternoon, i will be spending 4 hours in front of my tv. i’ll be wearing blue, like urban asked, and i may even create  a gameday meal that is all blue and orange related foods.  this may be beneficial because i may be able to get some work done.  this may be beneficial because i will not have to deal with thundering hordes of drunk people.  this may be beneficial because i will not get sunburned/dehydrated/nauseous at said game.

this is not beneficial because the bff was really excited. he’s never been to an sec game and, let’s be real–this the best one on our home schedule. i’m hoping that being able to take him to the fsu game will make up for it. prince that he is, he says that it doesn’t matter.  i know that it does, but there’s really nothing that i can do about it.

except possibly make him hot wings.  he might love me lots for that and be grateful to be home rather than paying $4 for some small gatorades.

me and my lion snack can’t wait for this week to be over. not that i want a new one to come–oh no, i’d like to hit pause on sunday–but because the next one is going to be much better than this one.

i just don’t know how it couldn’t be.

Advertisements

Protected: an open letter to students of the world.

Posted in books are bliss, etcetera, teaching on July 24, 2009 by drbolte

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

38.

Posted in bff, books are bliss, bridal diaries, etcetera, going quietly mad, i love my life, me, teaching, the engaged life, wish i may wish i might on July 1, 2009 by drbolte

i have a friend who used to be a roommate (hi friend!) who just moved to begin a grand adventure in a faraway state.  she just packed up her car and went. i am incredibly proud of her chutzpah.  i am not going to write about chutzpah, but i bring up this friend because her most recent blog post had the most magnificent title: “the days are long but the months will be short.”

(her titles are always wonderful and deep. unlike mine.  but that’s okay.)

i love that title because that, in short, encapsulates my life.

i have suddenly woken up with the very real, very visceral realization that i am getting married in 38 days.. i have less than six weeks left.  you know, the six week mark where you’re supposed to start all of those bridal makeover plans, where you stop drinking caffeine (done…like 15 years ago), start eating vegetables and fruits in rich abundance (i’m now in love with spinach salad, fyi…why is it so good?), and start exercising your face off (me and the gym are now friends again. i missed it.  i really did.).

this is the time when all the stuff you’ve put off because it was just too far away to do actually needs to get done.

this is also the time when i have started teaching. i really like my class. a bunch of people dropped, so i only have 26 students, but they’re intelligent and insightful and have much to say about jane austen already. i usually find that austen either creates not much conversation or a strictly reactionary discussion about plot and character. that’s not the case with these students.  they are making really rich connections between cultural expectations and character development, discussing thematic elements, and demonstrating a great deal of independent thought.

i really like them. i think they’re a different kind of class.

(it strikes me that i may be a better teacher than i was, but that’s neither here nor there.)

but this class requires me to make use of every moment of my time effectively.  for the past few days, i have been coming home and taking a quick nap after class, aiming to keep my goal of getting eight hours of sleep each day. if i can’t get it at night, i try to catch up during the day.

i just can’t do it.  there isn’t enough time, it seems, to do all my preparations for class (which includes about 100 pages of reading a day), to go to the gym for about an hour (which i won’t give up. i refuse.), to come home and prepare dinner, to spend time with the bff, and to get the other things done that need to get done. it just…i need like six hours more a day.

i literally and sincerely have no idea how everything will get done. i really don’t.  the bff, bless him, has made it his goal this week to make my life easier. he has told me that i need to give him tasks to do and he will do them.  so, i did. and really, the way i feel is that all of the important stuff has been done. the rest is just a series (a long series, to be sure) of little things that need to be done in order to ensure that things turn out the way that we imagined. but if things are different than we expected? oh well.

(i say this now. but i still really want things to be done and get done and all to be as we imagined.  but i’m trying to be chill.)

my mind is just crammed, but not coherently crammed.  if it were an actual to-do list in any sort of cohesive order, i think it would be easier. instead, it’s really just a big puddle of things that need to get done, often with an accompanying sense of urgency which doesn’t make much sense.

for example, i feel REALLY impressed that i need to get rid of all of my extra books, like, yesterday. that makes no chronological sense.  but there you go. it’s fairly indicative of where my head is at.

so i go about my days, which seem long and packed with running here and there and trying to finish everything that needs to be done each day.

and i look up and clap my hand over my mouth and realize that in one month, i will be moving into our new apartment. and one week after that, we will be married.

it will fly by.  it really already has.

i only hope i can make the most of each of those packed days.  i’m sure trying.

the five things that i don’t like about teaching in summer. and their upsides.

Posted in books are bliss, drama drama drama, me, teaching, the joys of living in Florida, will work for food on June 29, 2009 by drbolte

1. the blinding, pit-soaking heat.

i’m really sorry if that’s too much information, but it’s the honest truth. i have to mop myself up before going to class. and that’s just with a 7 or so minute walk across campus. at 11 a.m.  i love florida summers, she says to herself.

upside: it’s training me (and my sweat glands) for august 8th, when i’ll be all decked out in satin and crinoline and hairspray, taking pictures.  at 11 a.m.

2. the blank stares of students on the first day of classes, when they stare at you as if you have the answers to all of life’s problems. or at least like they’re a tiny bit afraid of what you’ll do to them.

upside: when they laugh for the first time? it’s like a zing of success. i love watching them visibly relax when they realize that i am not in fact satan.

3. how hard it is to fill time in a 75 minute class. you can either plan for 50 minutes or you can plan for 90 minutes. i find it incredibly difficult, especially EVERY SINGLE DAY, to fill 75 minutes. i was rather surprised at how quickly i got through what i had planned for the first day. my syllabus schpeel? took like 4 minutes.  hello speed talker.

upside: i am not a clock watcher, so i go with the flow.  we’ll probably always get out a bit early. they’ll love me for that.

4. needy students with complicated questions. class hadn’t even started when i got an email from a student.  then i had two fairly complex issues to deal with straightaway after class ended.  yeesh.

upside: i am apparently approachable.  that’s not a bad thing.

5. the panic i genuinely feel when i start reading a novel and wonder how on earth i am going to find anything of substance to say. i have read jane austen’s persuasion probably at least six times, conservatively, at this point.  i know the novel backwards and forwards. i still find new and interesting things in it, but i am sometimes awash in panic that i am either going to come up with topics too mundane to suit the needs of a 3000 level literature class or too obscure to suit anyone but a phd teaching one of the novels in her dissertation.

i really do worry about this stuff.

upside: it makes me a better teacher, i suppose. and usually about the time that the panic starts to set in, the ideas start to trickle in. i’ve been scribbling them down on the title page in yellow highlighter the whole time i’ve been reading. i think it’s a hodge-podge of simplistic and profound.  i guess that’s pretty good.

at least i’m not depending on them to guide the class.  although they’re supposed to…

we’ll see how it goes.

i’m rather tired already.

well, hello, classroom. i’d forgotten all about you.

Posted in books are bliss, i love my life, teaching on June 26, 2009 by drbolte

with all the angst about job searches in the fall and all the different, but the same, angst about job searches in the spring and all of the part time teaching jobs that seem to keep falling out of the sky (or, i should say, the potential of multiple more part time teaching jobs that may in fact kill me but that i would still do anyways because hello MONEY and we could save some and that would be brilliant), you would think that preparing to teach on monday would not be nervewracking and slightly scary.

you would be, in fact, WRONG.

the classroom? haven’t set foot in one for an academic year.

there are lovely elements of being on fellowship. that’s one of them. and, in theory, it’s the perfect time to, you know, FINISH your dissertation but let’s not talk about that and instead talk about how i lost 40 pounds and found the love of my life instead.

still a pretty productive time, i’d say.

but i’m back to the thing i love to do most on monday. i’m teaching. and not just teaching, but teaching an upper-division novel course.  in six weeks.

let’s all say WHEW! in unison, shall we?

(i’ll wait. go ahead.)

i’m excited. oh, i’m EXCITED. but i’m also nervous. i find myself thinking about all kinds of things–what will i wear? should i worry about wearing professional or worry about not dying in my walk across campus in the death hot (and if today is any indication, it will feel like a tropical sauna)? how will i interact with my students? are my teaching skills rusty?

but strangely, at the same time as all of these thoughts about what to do comes a kind of oddly idiotic detachment. have i started reading the first novel? nope. did i intend to? heck yes. have i done my syllabus? yes. have i completely finished my first day’s lecture? nope. and, while i should be freaking out about it, i feel a strange sense of zen.

i’m not sure it’s zen, actually. i think it might be denial.

nevertheless, come what may…monday brings the teaching.  i’m kind of excited.

and i should kind of do some work.

third interview. good grief, can i get a JOB already?

Posted in etcetera, going quietly mad, Life, me, perfect brightness of hope, someday I'll be a real middle class girl, teaching on April 21, 2009 by drbolte

so i went on a third interview this morning at 8:30 a.m.

yes, i got up at 7 a.m. for the first time in i legitimately don’t know how long unless it was when i had to wake up at like 3 a.m. to go to arizona.  or when i had to wake up at 5:30 to go to orlando.

okay, so maybe it’s not that rare of an occurrence, but it felt like it so i was impressed with myself.

(but you don’t have to be.)

i got there on time and i guess i felt fairly confident.  i had done very well in the previous two interviews, really quickly striking up a camaraderie with the two other interviewers which put me at ease and made it feel really like it was just a good solid conversation. this one wasn’t quite as easy, but by the end i felt solidly like he liked me.

i think it’s a good sign when they start talking about the position as if it was already yours (i.e. you’d be an advisor, etc.). i had grand and probably misplaced hopes that somehow, miraculously, it would turn into a full-time teaching position, but those were fairly substantially rubbed out today. i’m not upset. i think part time will be good so that i can still work elsewhere/get my dang dissertation done.

as i was thinking back over the interview as i was driving home, i realized that i think the turning point for me was when i spoke fairly passionately about how when you’re teaching middle school, you’re teaching not just subject matter but how to be a citizen, an adult, a person in the world.  that you have to model the behaviors that you hope that your students will adopt. that it’s okay to apologize to a parent when you’ve done something stupid or shortsighted–that, in fact, that can be the best thing to do.  that these middle school years are some of the best and most important years of a child’s life.

and i wasn’t being at all insincere. i genuinely believe all of that, and i really very much want to put into practice the things that i talked about.

now if only they would just give me the chance.  i understand why this process has been long and protracted–i have learned very much about myself and about leaning on the Lord and about developing my faith–but i am growing tired. not fearful. i know everything will work out. i’m just tired. i would like to have some things resolved sooner rather than later.

there are many details to be taken care of…i hope this one resolves itself very soon.

and in my favor.

keep your fingers crossed. keep the prayers coming.

thanks.

if you’re reading the signs, the arrows point to AWESOME.

Posted in bff, books are bliss, disney princesses got nothin' on me, etcetera, faith is action, forward my mail, i am not a gym rat, i love my life, me, superheckyes, teaching on March 6, 2009 by drbolte

so, not like i’m around here that much anyways (sorry! sort of! i really do want to write more! i promise!), but i’ll be off during spring break.  going to orlando tonight, then to miami for a wedding with the bff’s family, then to north carolina for some snow excursions (possibly tubing, possibly just enjoying the mountains…we’ll see…we’ll only be there for a day, so there’s not much time for me to try to learn to snowboard and not suck at it) and meeting my family and doing some other fun things, then back to florida for a bff family gettogether at their hunting/fishing property up north. i may or may not get the chance to drive/ride on a four-wheeler this weekend.  that’s exciting.

ANYWAYS.

i have been praying steadily for lots of confidence, peace, and assurance lately.  i need to not be nervous this weekend–i need to just be myself.  that’s hard when you feel like a fat blob, which is how i’ve been feeling lately, and like a giant failure.  so this week, i’ve been working at being confident.  let me tell you what’s happened thus far.

  • on wednesday, i went looking for shoes for the wedding outfit (i think i originally thought about getting some dressy flipflops because of my toe but BEHOLD i can wear certain shoes! hooray!) and i found these. you can’t tell me those aren’t awesome.  and the best part? they actually DON’T HURT.  and they’re sassy, tall, but don’t make me taller than the bff.  YES.
  • i went to old navy on that same day to take advantage of the $19 jean sale.  i went in there thinking that i would be buying one size, but then they were way too big.  i tried on the next size down and originally thought that they were too small.  but then i sat down…and they didn’t ride down (which on me is the surest sign that something is WAY too small…doesn’t contain my butt) and then i looked at my butt in the mirror. and sweet heck if it didn’t look GOOD.  heaven bless some snug-fitting jeans.  i think maybe it’s been so long since pants have actually fit well on me that i’m not sure what it looks like anymore.  oh, and i found a cami for $5 that i’d been looking for/needing and a pink shirt that’s ADORABLE and looks amazing with the jeans.  on the clearance rack.
  • i finished the draft of the dorothy wordsworth chapter. it’s short, but it’s done and i’m glad.  when i sent it to the director? sweet woman that she is congratulated me on finishing before spring break and didn’t once mention that i had set an original deadline of A MONTH AND A HALF AGO.  i love that woman.
  • remember the job in Jax? the commute four days a week for a decent amount of money?  guess who just got offered a job to teach a British novel course during summer b HERE in g’ville?  yep. that’s right.  i get to teach it.  and i don’t have to commute.  and i will probably get paid more.  and, given the crazy that will be going on this summer, it is the hugest blessing ever.
  • i kicked the gym’s trash this morning. got up at 7:30.  got there.  crossramped. ran for about 8 minutes on my foot.  could probably have gone longer but i had tons to do this morning to get ready to go.  burned 600 calories.  got outside and got a parking ticket but didn’t even care very much because today? i needed to feel like i could conquer the world.

i think it’s going to be an amazing week.