Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Last Semester Begins

Today I'm hanging out for a few extra hours at ARC. We had a smallish inauguration party; we set up a small projector hooked up to the Internet to watch the proceedings , but there were so many people trying to watch streaming video (I suspect), that the video kept freezing, so we finally gave up and our little community traipsed on over to the on-campus Quiznos, which has six TVs set up, and watched Obama's swearing in and speech. Nikki and Seymour produced a cake, and I brought brownies and fruitcake, and we had ourselves a nifty little celebration. It was good to spend time with folks before we became scattered again; today is the first day of the semester so we all had business to attend to.

Today is the first day of my (hopefully) last semester at LIU. I've not been blogging during the past couple of weeks because I've been working on a draft of my thesis. I'm pleased that I wrote a complete, 50-page draft in under two weeks, and submitted it to the director of the Writing Program, whom I'd asked to be my primary reader. The thesis isn't a requirement - or it wasn't initially until I switched my concentration. (When I enrolled at LIU, I registered as an English major with a concentration of "the teaching of writing," which was changed over the summer to "writing and rhetoric." The new requirements entail a thesis, which was only an option for the former concentration. I changed officially changed my concentration, which means the thesis was no longer an option but a requirement.) In any case, I wrote the draft; it may be terrible, I don't know, but it's submitted, and I hope the revisions won't be so substantial that I can't graduate in May. My coursework will be done in May no matter what; the worst that will happen is that I need and take the extra time to revise my thesis until it meets the appropriate standards, and that's not really that upsetting at the moment. As the graduate advisor said, the worst that will happen is that I will still be permitted to "walk" in May, and the thesis will be wrapped up over the summer.

The class I was supposed to teach, another section of English 16, the same class I'd taught last semester, I am in fact not teaching again this semester. When asked when I was available, I provided a very limited schedule - essentially Monday and Wednesday evenings between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. There were a few sections that were being offered, which ran from 6:10 p.m. - 7:25 p.m., which would have been acceptable, but ultimately the section I was offered was cancelled due to low enrollment (the students who had enrolled my section were simply shuttled to the other section that was offered at the same time); and there was just not another section that could be offered me. I was not surprised: I wasn't willing to teach during the day because I wanted to keep my schedule free for subbing; I knew there were enrollment problems; long-time adjuncts were told that the same number of sections being offered - or they had sections that were also cancelled.

All is not lost, though; I was offered a teaching assistantship, which puts me back in the Writing Center for 5 hours a week. I still get tuition remission for my class, and I get a much reduced stipend (based on my being a part time student). LIU has paid for 9 of the 12 classes I've had to take for my degree because of teaching assistantships, research fellowships, and teaching fellowships, so I really can't complain about this last bit of bad news. I'm sad not to be teaching, but I had to prioritize, and it simply makes more sense for me to be subbing right now.

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