Survived 1st Semester!

Two committees of work: done.  Seven classes: taught, graded, and official grade and attendance rolls submitted.  Student club: in progress and waiting on club officers’ next move for January 2007.

I have officially survived my first semester at my first, truly permanent full-time teaching position.  Whew.

I’ll still be heading over to my dean’s house for a Christmas division party this afternoon, but that’s a social thing — one last bit of collegiality before we part ways and burrow deep into our Christmas Break for the next three weeks.  We’ll return and reunite come January 8 — the first official day of Reporting Week (i.e. when we faculty members report to our campus).  But that’s three weeks away.

As I write this, the Hubby is still working, grading three more classes’ worth of research papers and Final Exams.  Deadline to turn in his grade rolls is tomorrow at 10am, so he’s a busy Hubby today.  His Christmas Break will be even shorter than mine, even though we work in the same college district.  Unlike me — who has been more of a teaching and grading machine this semester — the Hubby has been balancing five classes and five (six?) committees.  And unlike me, whose committees have been one-shot deals, the Hubby’s committees are recurring things, like perpertual motion machines, in which he’s an intricate player in the whole shebang.

What this means is this: He’s been doing division chair/coordinator-like duties and responsibilities for the past four months.  And, as anyone who is familiar with academic administration, those kinds of duties don’t go away when the academic calendar has breaks.  Case in point, while I’ll still be officially on my Christmas Break during the first week of January, the Hubby will be helping to coordinate and run a faculty retreat with other district-level new faculty development committee members.  And he’ll *still* have to report to his campus on January 8, like me.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s fulfilling work.  But doing heavy instutional service like that *and* teaching a full-time courseload don’t leave much slacker/veg/ personal time. However, this seems to be true for many folks whose bread-and-butter is academia.  The secret is having that work also fit into one’s own personal interests, personal passions.

The Hubby is all about figuring out how people tick and helping them become more aware of themselves and the world they live in.  An undergrad professor once said that he had a philosophic mind, but he also has a scientific mind as well.  Curriculum development and professional development, therefore, is right up his alley.  Defining the terms, setting the parameters, seeing what the “test subjects” — students and faculty — do under the defined conditions, recording the results, analyzing the results, and figuring out what those results mean in a larger context.

He loves that kind of stuff and, like him developing the LEO test and going to APSA conferences, would gladly do it for FREE.

Similarly, I enjoy sharing information that I’ve figured out and accumulated over the years.  I like giving my own quirky take on things, things that have helped me along the way and, I believe, might help others as well.  I like doing all of those not only verbally — like in the classroom — but in written form as well.  ESPECIALLY in written form.  I figured out that I’m not really a scholar — ironic, since I wrote a dissertation and got my Ph.D.  I’m a writer, an identity that has been the one constant in my life since the age of eight, when I wrote in my first personal journal.

So I’ve been waiting for the semester to be over so I can get back to my writing, for I have many writing projects.  Discovering Lulu and Xlibris has given me a practical, real-world reason for doing my writing.  Sure, I’m a writer, but it’s nice to have a big audience who can read what I’ve written.  I’m a writer, not an “ar-TEEST.”  What are my writing projects?

1) A thematic ENGL 1301 Composition handbook, in which, in writing memoir-esque pieces, a person learns how to write ENGL 1301-level essays.  Audience: not only my students, but anybody out there who is afraid they can’t write.  I believe that he/she can.

2) Revising the MA thesis.  In a district-level committee last semester, I ran into a fellow faculty member — but from a different campus — who actually *read* my MA thesis in the SMU library.  She was taking some graduate classes there, ran into my thesis, and was talking about it to me, not realizing that *I* was the one who wrote it.  After a while, she realized who I was and asked me why I never got it published.  “No editor wants it,” I replied back then.  I realize why: it’s not done yet.  But having a complete stranger – not just my friends or family — be interested in my short story collection is encouraging.

3) Putting all of my short stories and poetry that I’ve uploaded on Rowena’s World in published collections.  Studies show that if folks have a choice between an e-book or a paper book, they’ll take the paper book every time.

4) Saving my undergrad and graduate notes from acid-notebook paper death by typing them up and publishing them for posterity.  I take good notes, so good that I’ve actually used some of them to lesson plan and teach my students.  Why not make them available for other folks who are auto-didacts, that is, do-it-yourself learners?

I figure, I’ll be writing anyways, whether I have an audience or not, whether I’ll be paid or not.  Why not give my writing a chance to get a wide audience and give me some monetary reward (even if it only pays for my Starbucks habit)?

And I can always stick it on my CV and my campus’ professional evaluation plan.  Fortunately, as a community college instructor, I don’t have to abide by the strict “publish or perish” academic rules of getting published, like my colleagues in the four-year university tenure-track.  Good thing, too, since I’m not a scholar.  🙂

So those are my writing projects.  I got a lot of work to do.  But I love it.

But first — Christmas shopping!  Which I have done none so far!  Since I’ve been busy as hell!  SQUEEEEE!!!!

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This entry was posted in AVOCATIONS, EDUCATION, Teaching, The Writing Life. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Survived 1st Semester!

  1. convivialdingo says:

    Yeah!!! *thunk*

  2. lizardqueen says:

    Maddie: Rowena’s World is my personal website: rowenasworld.org

    Also, I bit the bullet: I put together a poetry/short story collection and published it on lulu.com. I’ve ordered a printed copy for myself, and if I like it, I might just shell out the extra $99 to buy an ISBN so that lulu.com can list it on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. As it stands now, it’s free for the author, but folks can only buy it at the lulu.com website.

    It only took me Saturday and today to put the manuscript together, make to galley proof, and get the whole thing e-published. The 21st century — I love it! 🙂

  3. Steph says:

    Wow! You rock! Now get some much needed rest, you two!

  4. Maddie says:

    Congratulations! Many yays for the semester ending!
    And a question: What is Rowena’s World?

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