(For those of you who’ve not been reading blogs since 1912, “RBOC” stands for “Random Bullets of Crap.”)
- I am so excited about the research paper topics that my tiny honors freshmen are developing. They are picking stuff that is interesting to them, and they are also totally on top of the fact that they need to have some sort of “primary source” to ground the paper, as well as secondary sources to support their claims. This is the difference between teaching “regular” comp vs. honors: I really get to focus on the ideas and not on the mechanics of the research process. It’s really, truly, a gift to have finally gotten myself into the rotation for honors comp (after 9 years). And I really, really like my students in this class. They are truly interesting, smart, and thoughtful – all of them. This is not to say that I don’t get interesting, smart, and thoughtful students in regular comp – I surely do, but it’s usually just a handful (if that) out of 22. In this class, I only have 14 students, and ALL of them fit this description. They are a joy to teach. Also: who knew that it was a “thing” amongst the late-teens to collect vinyl records? It’s doubly retro, because I feel like that crap was retro 20 years ago when I was in high school/college.
- Speaking of teenagers, I think I’m going to get to hang out with my little bro C. (half-brother from my dad’s second marriage, for those of you who are just tuning in) when I’m in Hometown over Christmas! Also: he had an awesome football game last weekend and got interviewed for the local news! And he was so eloquent and poised – not nervous at all in the video! He is seriously the most awesome. It’s crazy to me that every single girl in his high school isn’t clamoring to go out with him. (He’s cute and tall, he plays football, he’s super-smart, and he’s NICE. Sure, he seems to share my propensity for breaking up with people with whom he’s not in a relationship, which might explain some things, but DUDE! High school girls are clearly super-dumb.)
- In my Joyce and Woolf seminar, my students a) all showed up for library instruction, b) all did the online pre-test and paid attention and actually took notes during said library instruction, and c) so far (I still have to meet with 5 of them) have handled their (compared with what they are used to) low grades on their first papers with aplomb. Now, partly their ability to handle the grades is probably because I’ve forced them to come to my office to talk to me to get the papers back, which I do think makes the comments sting less.
- That said, it’s funny: I posted about the papers on Facebook yesterday while I was grading, and who came out of the woodwork to address what I posted but three of my prized students who took the same class with me 4 years ago. The first, who’s begun his PhD at our state flagship university, just “liked” the post (he’s the only person of all my friends on FB who did); the second, in his third year of law school in a top program. wrote, “This all sounds so familiar”; and the third, who got accepted into Teach for America, completed the program, and is STILL TEACHING in an inner-city middle-school – which just goes to show that not all TFA alums abandon the schools when their time is done, wrote, “Flashback.” First, I love that they weighed in. Second, it’s times like these when I want to organize some sort of “Survivors of Dr. Crazy” group for my former students. As I imagine this club, its members would all be super-successful and happy, and they would consume a lot of cocktails at their meetings 🙂 (I’m not saying that all of my former students end up super-successful and happy: I just assume that the ones who don’t end up that way probably wouldn’t enjoy getting hammered and reminiscing with the ones who feel like they learned a lot in my classes.)
- My students in my Gen Ed lit class ADORE Jean Rhys’s Voyage in the Dark. 1) Who knew? 2) How fucking awesome! (By the way, if you don’t know this book, you should totally read it. For it is awesome, if perhaps a bit depressing.)
- I had a (first-semester freshman) student from my Gen Ed lit class, who happens also to be an English major, stop me as I was leaving the building in which our class meets to ask me about whether I thought it would be reasonable for him to try to “write something up” about Jim Morrison’s poetry through the lens of Nietzsche, you know, “just for fun,” and if I’d give him feedback about it. This is also the student who wrote his first paper in my Gen Ed class (a really basic 2-page analysis paper assignment) about George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” parodying the style of that essay, which he did quite well, actually, and which obviously was going above and beyond what the assignment required. It’s wrong, but I want him to take every single class ever with me. Why? Because if this is his starting point, I can’t even imagine where I can take him over the course of the next four years.
- For the first time ever, my College within the university is going to award professional development money on a competitive basis to assist people who are working toward full promotion. It’s not a lot of money as such things go, and there are only 10 awards available in this first year, and let’s note that there are like 200 associate professors, which makes this in theory exceptionally more competitive than a freaking NEH grant if everyone were to apply (which everyone won’t, but still). Whatever the case, I wrote up my application for it today, because you can’t get the “not a lot of money as such things go” if you don’t apply, and, since even “not a lot of money as such things go” is more than nothing, it’s worth doing. And you know what? It’s about time the College did something to support my work and to assist me in getting fully promoted. So anyway, I wrote it and submitted it, ahead of the deadline, and we’ll see what happens.
AND NOW THE GOOD NEWS!!!!! (As if all of the above isn’t awesome enough.)
Unless something goes stupidly wrong, I will have an updated kitchen one week from today!!!!! A kitchen with new cabinets and counters and an over-the-stove microwave and a dishwasher and a garbage disposal and a brand new sink that can accommodate my stock pot when I need to wash it and a new faucet!!!! Now. I’m doing it on the cheap, the Lebanese way, and so it’s my cousin Nino’s “guys” who rehab houses for him (for he’s been doing the whole “flipping foreclosed houses” thing of late), and so G. is accompanying them down from Hometown, and the dishwasher/faucet/sink/over-the stove microwave/disposal are driving down with them and I need to make sure that the cabinets and countertops are available upon their arrival (I’m doing totally standard stuff for that, all available at Home De$pot/Lowe$, so this is not an issue of ordering of fancy business), and I’m still going to be responsible for painting the kitchen and for doing backsplash business as a whole DIY project sort of deal, but after 2 1/2 years living in this house I will have a DISHWASHER!!!!! And a GARBAGE DISPOSAL!!!!! In time for Thanksgiving!!!! I’m so excited!!!!! (You can tell how excited I am by the exclamation points.)
Life is good.