deepjuju: (Default)
So I'm trying to do this academic thing. I'm not too sure about it. At this point, though, I've invested so much that I don't really want to turn back.

I like the work.
I think I like the work?
There's really a lot of it.
And I think I like some of it.
But I'm also really confused.

I dragged my whole family to the gods-forsaken Midwest where there's snow and dark and difficulty making friends and finding jobs. This year seems to be going better, but I think we all feel pretty raw from last year. Problems from last year are not yet resolved. Mainly, we haven't had a full month of paychecks (it's no one's job here to make sure that full-time teachers with contracts get paid on time, so apparently, sometimes, you just get an email two weeks before payday saying that you're not getting paid).

FirstBorn is liking high school so far, but has gone full-tilt misanthrope and is uninterested in participating in anything not required.

Pippin seems to like 8th grade until the subject of homework comes up, and then he has nothing good to say about any of it anymore.

BetterHalf is in a holding pattern.

I'm taking three classes, observing one, working with undergrads in their teaching placements while they work to get certified, and doing administrative work for a digital press. I'm applying to conferences and trying to figure out how to ask a researchable question. I'm a little stuck there.

If I go with the experience that I bring to the program, I should be doing something with secondary schools and teacher education. I still care about those things, and I certainly care about student experiences in school, but I am so burned out. And I'm starting to question whether I was really doing any good for my students. I hold a lot of beliefs about schooling that are not tenable in the current system.

If I go with my fledgling interests, I'll have to learn a whole lot of new things. I don't even know what they all are yet. I've been blogging -off and on- for ten years and lurking in fandom just as long. I'm interested in why people spend their time creating for fan communities, for each other. I'm interested in how and why people educate themselves to participate. I'm interested in the way the durable stories are the ones that allow themselves to be transformed.

I think maybe it's not so easy to allow yourself to be transformed.

So how the hell do I make a dissertation and then a career out of this?
deepjuju: (Default)
Lots going on over here. I can't believe that May (which is Spring term here) is just as busy as Jan-Apr (which is Winter term). I am on the bounce ALL THE TIME.

Except for yesterday when I spent all day reading novel-length K/S. That was a delightful aberration.

We went to see the new movie the other night, and I have mixed feelings. I'm a long-time fan and have no aversion to references to TOS, but I would have liked to see them do something new with the plot instead of poorly recycling what's already been done. They had such a great cast. Why not do something thought-provoking and amazing? I wasn't fond of the dedication at the end either. Ah well. I plan to see it again and think more on it. In the meantime, my FirstBorn has been walking around the house all week saying, "I'm better... at everything." Hahaha. NOT the intended message of the film, I think, but there's a limit on mind-controlling fangirls.

I'm trying to get my paper together for the grad research network at Computers and Writing, and it is slow-going. I'm also working off volunteer hours for a summer internship by cleaning up the WordPress site for the Linguistics Summer Institute. Or, I will be once I figure out the file hierarchies. I'm all over WordPress, but they have a customized template, and I'm afraid of breaking/misplacing links. It's a little more complicated than what I've done with WP before.

I also just got hired as a - I don't know what you'd call it - a production manager, I guess, for a new digital press that's trying to get off the ground. I'm going to coordinate submissions and review processes and supervise a cohort of grad students posting content to the blog portion of the site. It's a new position, so we don't know really what all I'll be doing. It's exciting and a bit stressful.

I'm meeting a friend tomorrow to show her what I know about DreamWeaver (which is precious little).  How did I get on all these tracks with such steep learning curves? I need an 80's movie montage to take care of all this.

I am not finding all the time and motivation I need to get all the things done.

My son got suspended from school for the rest of the year for picking up an exact knife from our driveway and taking it to school. He showed it to a friend, and it got reported as a fight. It's kind of a ridiculous situation all around, and it means that I have to figure out what to do with him all day while I'm trying to get things done. Frustrating. Of course, left to his own devices, he will watch Eddie Izzard and Red Dwarf all day. Educational?

In positive news, my daughter's MRI showed that there has already been some slight shrinkage of her AVM. The doctors were not expecting to see any difference this soon (we're one year from the first gamma knife procedure), so they were quite astonished and hopeful.




deepjuju: (Default)
 So, maybe I mentioned it here, or maybe not, but last semester was a disaster. I was a mediocre teacher, my students were mediocre students, and the whole thing is an exercise I don't wish to repeat.

Mercifully, I'm not teaching this semester - though I feel a bit sad about it because I've always liked teaching. Turns out I don't like teaching entitled 18-year-olds who feel like they already know everything. I need to cultivate some kind of elitist attitude to live up to their expectations. Which I think is kind of odd considering that I assigned Jorge Luis Borges, Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Chris Ware, Virginia Woolf, and James Baldwin (among others). These readings were not "challenging enough"  according to most of my freshman students. They expected more from a college course.

Whatever.

I want to think that they will one day realize that I treated them like thinking human beings and expected them to step up (which they sometimes did!). But I expect that they will continue on to whatever lives they plan to pursue with the notion that their first year writing class was a waste of time that taught them nothing, even if they continually admitted to the need for rereading and drawing on each other's understandings to make sense of what they were writing about.

In any event, I think I've discovered that I do not find teaching first year writing rewarding. My attempts to model were interpreted as narcissistic (talking about myself) and my attempts to accommodate their schedules were seen as evidence or weakness and/or favoritism. My sincere hope that they one day realize the value of what the read and wrote about i snot utterly unfounded. I have the occasional high school student or relative say (several years later, of course)  "oh my god, that's what you were telling me." The question is - should I stop trying to expect them to be smarter than they are and treat them as if they are as slow-witted as everyone else would have me believe?

I guess the answer is 'yes' if I want good evaluations.

diving in

Oct. 24th, 2012 12:59 pm
deepjuju: (Default)
I had the Week from Hell a couple of weeks ago, and it looks like last week's lull was just that - a dip before a steep, steep climb.

My mom fell and broke her leg, slicing it open to the bone. She was in surgery and then in the nursing home and now back at home with home health providing a wound vac because the site has become infected. She can't move around much, and my step-dad is physically disabled as well, so I don't know how all that's going to work.

That same week, FirstBorn had a seizure at school and then a pretty intense week-long bout of headaches and nausea. Side effects from gamma treatment, maybe? Whatever it was, it was highly upsetting and happened on the same day that I had the very worst teaching observation in my 11 years of teaching. Basically, the observer didn't like it that the students were using laptops and seemed distracted during discussion.

I didn't like the distraction, but I didn't oppose the laptops, and though she believes them to be related, and I can admit that she is partly right, I think it will have to be worked around. She was aggressive and hostile in her feedback and used the word "apocalyptic."

I gave a presentation on literacy and Harry Potter that went well, but I didn't get any feedback because class had to be cut short. So. Frustrating.

Both kids are still unhappy at school. Pippin cries on the walk there, most days. FirstBorn is frustrated because she was put in art, and she has no idea what to do or how to do it, nor does she want to try, and in an excrutiating twist, she adores her art teacher and has no wish to look incompetent in front of him - which is what she feels she's being asked to do every day. Last night, we were up until 11 trying to get her project done, and as she was crying, I offered to spill wine on her project and let her take it to her teacher saying I'd ruined it.

I need to propose to present at a conference this year (I don't have to actually present - I don't have any primary research yet to present, so I just have to practice with the form.), and I'm thinking about writing my faux conference paper on the culture of feedback in digital writing spaces. Any ideas?
deepjuju: (Default)
 I survived my first week of teaching undergraduates. Mostly. I'm pretty tired, and I haven't done all the work for my classes, and it looks like the work might be a little bit epic. Worried.

Children started school this week as well, and BetterHalf is still job hunting. He seems to have locked down a long-term sub job, but he has another interview for a longer-term sub job on Monday, so *fingers crossed*. My in-laws infused about $1200 into our month, and I quick-smart paid all the bills before I could fritter it away. I haven't bought my school books yet, and they are all checked out of the library, so I'm problem-solving that. We applied for food stamps and got approved, so that should be along. I think once BetterHalf gets any kind of a job, we won't qualify anymore, but for the six weeks we are eligible, it will be helpful. If it ever gets here.

I'm foolishly checking the mail for an apartment deposit refund and a utility refund. Not sure how likely the first is and how timely the latter will be.

The house is mostly put together, but it feels a little strange with just us. 

Stage 2

Aug. 23rd, 2012 10:16 pm
deepjuju: (Default)
 Gamma stage 2 complete. This round was much easier since there was no angiogram involved. FirstBorn still feels weird from the anesthesia but is experiencing no serious side effects, so we are headed home tomorrow and we will all be together again for the first time in 10 weeks!
deepjuju: (Default)
 Which must be why I love it.

I read Avengers fic today, y'all. I just... tripped and fell into it! It was an accident! I was looking for Natasha/Clint (I never read het. It's just a thing I don't do, and I went looking for it!!!! I blame Jeremy Renner and his Bourne Legacy hotness.) and then I found myself reading Captain/Bucky? How does that even happen? I don't even want to read Captain in slash, but I have to say, I love the way people write him even if I'm not interested in the relationship. What am I saying!?!

*so confused*
deepjuju: (Default)
 I am committed to writing 50 words a night on a particular project, and I get home tonight from a fabulous dinner (and too much to drink) with [personal profile] melusina and [personal profile] girlpearl  to find that my FirstBorn needs to make a quiche for extra credit in French tomorrow! She's slaving away on the translation for the recipe that I can't even begin to follow because I don't have the ingredients! I tell her to take out the bacon and put in spinach and no one will know about the rest, and now I have a quiche in the oven and nothing written. FirstBorn is going to bed now, BetterHalf and Pippin are asleep, and I guess I will try to scribble a bit even though now I feel all out-of-whack.

Stupid school and stupid extra credit! I can't wait until the school year is well and truly over!

In other news, I had high panic today over insurance coverage changes dealing with graduate school and shifting scheduling for the second go-around. UCSF wanted to do FirstBorn's second procedure on August 7th, which really didn't work for me, and I was pretty down trying to reconcile myself to not being there for the second procedure and EVERYBODY missing Pippin's birthday as a result of being scattered between Austin , Ann Arbor, and San Francisco on August 8th. After a few hours, they emailed back to say that the 21st would work, which is much, much better all around. Insurance coverage changes are still a bit worrisome, but I have a temporary plan that would get us through the August procedure at least.

24 minutes 'til the quiche is ready.
deepjuju: (Default)
I've had a lovely weekend. Finished my last HS classes on Thursday and slept most of the day Friday. I find if i sleep when I'm tired I eat and drink less. There's a key to happiness hidden there somewhere, I'm sure.

Friday night I went to see The Avengers which I quite enjoyed - stay till the very last of the credits, people! Pippin couldn't go because he had to attend the 6th grade dance. We'll have to catch him up later.

Saturday I went out to the Pecan Street Festival and bought a cool cutting board with a picture of a local coffee shop on it. I cooked steak and salmon out on the grill and went swimming.

I brainstormed a solution to my FirstBorn's nerdfighter project, and we engaged in crime together. Fun Times.

Today I made Basil Alfredo pasta with a chevre cream sauce and chicken. We got the disk with all of FirstBorn's cool photo-shoot pictures on it. We leave for San Francisco on Wednesday morning for her surgery, and I don't mind saying that I'm feeling pretty angsty about it. I'll be glad when it's done, and we can see what's what.

All I have to do now is get ALL the grading done.

deepjuju: (Default)
So, yes. Here I am.

Managing identity (in-person and online) drives me pretty much up the wall, and I guess I am just passing the joy of that insanity along. I'm collapsing my multiple blogs and journals and trying to sort carefully and will probably lose a bunch of stuff that I forgot I even had, but maybe in the end it will all make sense?

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