If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

RBOC: 2nd Half of Spring Semester Edition

  • I think the 2nd half of spring semester (after Spring Break and before Summer Break) is my least favorite time in the academic calendar.
  • Everyone spends these weeks trying to cram in whatever they haven't accomplished all year.
  • Normally I'm looking forward to Graduation because I know that once its over there's nothing happening but my research all summer long. This year, however, I've committed to a two-week long assessment workshop. This will mean 10 full days in a room with a small number of faculty working on assessment and grading issues. Luckily I am being well paid for the task and one of my favorite colleagues will be right there beside me.
  • While there is always student drama going on, there seems to be an abundance in my department at the moment.
  • Last week a professor in another department suffered a fatal heart attack while having lunch with a colleague at an establishment on campus. I learned about this from a friend in that department while I was observing her class. As you can imagine she and her colleagues are extremely shaken by this event.
  • This is the time in the semester where there are a number of interesting invited speaker presentations and panels to attend. I sat through one this morning and will attend another on Thursday. I love academia for opportunities like this but hate that no matter when they come, they come at a bad time.
  • There is no good time in academia.
  • The students seem chipper these days. I attribute that to the spring weather.
  • There seems to be a campus-wide game being played that involves orange bandanas and large Nerf guns. I asked my students about it tonight and was told the orange-clad are Humans and the green-clad (I hadn't recognized them, but maybe I was attributing it to leftover St Paddy's Day) are Zombies. It seems the point of the game is to completely zombify the campus in a week.
  • The only class I'm teaching this semester is my favorite class to teach. It is a class where I cover a lot of really sensitive subjects and I work hard on developing trust and setting the right tone for discussions. Tonight's subject is one of the most polarizing topics in our country. I've taught this subject several times without a problem but tonight one of my students was visibly upset. I know it ended fine but this is going to bother me for a while.


Seeking Solace said...

Something about Spring seems to bring out interesting behavior. :)

The zombie game reminds me of playying asassin back in the 80's. !!!

Drax said...

Polarizing topic: your fans are left to wonder. But they can probably guess.

Hang in there.

Maggie May said...

i took the kids to Rubios for dinner tonight and was greeted in line by a strange and tall zombie. apparently it's the thing to do.

Julie said...

Zombies is awesome. Err...I shouldn't say things like that as an adult. But it sounds like you're having an interesting semester, to put it mildly.

I'm so sorry about the professor who had the fatal heart attack. That is awful, and it also makes me stop and think about how fleeting it all is.

Your class sounds like a good one. I always loved classes that made me think, even if some of the discussion upset me. It's a learning experience, and your students are very lucky to have you.