Friday, November 28, 2008

School, Teaching, Holidays

I have nothing substantial to write at this moment, because really nothing too interesting has going on lately.

I do not want to talk about my thesis, which strangely and inexplicably has not begun to write itself on its own volition. I wish people would stop asking me what it’s about because it’s complicated insofar that I don’t know all the ins-and-outs yet, and to say “technology in the writing classroom and my experiences with technology in my classroom” sounds lame and generic and there’s more to it than that, but I don’t have more specifics to give because I haven’t written anything yet. That's a long sentence, but it sums up my hesitancy in talking about my thesis.

Classes are going well. I'm done with my Virginia Woolf paper. The paper itself is either brilliant or claptrap, but either way it's done. ("War in Virginia Woolf" has been done to pieces, I know, but I am not a brilliant person and do not strive to say new, interesting things in the field of literature.) I have another paper to write, for my other class, and even though I haven't put much work into it at this point I'm not too worried about it. This is the paper that I'm interested in writing but have to jump into, and since I know myself, and I know that I work (and write) better under pressure, I know this will work itself out.

The class I'm teaching is going well, I believe. I have reached the point in the semester where I see problems with my students, and I see what I could have done better this semester, but I'm really, truly enjoying teaching the class to such an extent that I would be honestly delighted to teach freshman composition for the rest of my life. The students give me trouble, and they question me sometimes, and they're young and uncertain and I want to help them and guide them and tell them that their lives will not fall apart and it's okay to be unsure and uncertain and no, really, they should come talk to me because they're interesting and I was there, too - not that long ago. I love students this age because I see everything I needed help with at that age and was dying to talk to someone about and just didn't know how to, and I wasn't even sure what I wanted to talk to them about but I wanted to anyway. One of my students told me that she thinks I'm a good teacher and was surprised that I hadn't been teaching much longer and I will be carrying that with me for a long time, because I want people to think I'm a good teacher. I don't want this to be Fatal Career Mistake #47.

Last Thursday I collected my students' research papers and have dutifully brought them with me upstate; Chris and I are visiting his family for Thanksgiving. I'm reading the papers in batches of three because they're longer papers, and denser, and more than three at a time and I begin to become more interested in anything else. So far the papers are interesting, though, and I'm enjoying reading them, and even look forward to the remainder of them, which probably means there's something wrong with me.

Thanksgiving itself was pleasant; 15 people at Chris' parents. The usual fare, and it was all delicious, and there were leftovers, which makes me happy. The holiday I think stresses Chris' mother out a lot; I think there's a lot of residual anger and unhappiness that I hear about, which is difficult to hear about not only because it seems to have been going on so long - at least I've been hearing this for years - but I'm not used to it from my own family and I don't really know how to solve her unhappiness. I can't say anything because there's nothing helpful I could say, and besides which, it makes me sad that she's so unhappy and stressed out about the holidays, but in turn it stresses me out, which I also dislike. I've reached an impasse. Perhaps it's insoluble. 

We're here until Sunday; the weekend is flying by, as usual, quickly. Two more weeks of classes!

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