The first week of classes is officially over. As first weeks go, it was pretty sweet. The biggest downside is that, what with our new workout schedule, I have been completely exhausted by the end of each day. The weather has finally turned nice here in SouthLite and I really really wanted to take a bike ride last night. However it was all I could do to find myself something to eat and crawl into bed with my latest passion (soon to be a blog post on its own).
The other issue with this semester is that it is going to be crazy busy for me and a lot of that is going to be service (not my favorite). As I may have mentioned, I am the new Doctoral Program Coordinator in my department (yay tenure). Of all our programs, I am most committed to the doctoral program and its students so I feel this is really worthwhile service. I think I have already made a difference in the lives of several students and I'm hoping to have a larger impact on the program. It is a very new, fledgling program, and needs some TLC.
Morale was fairly low among the doctoral students last year, so I suggested a once a month shindig at one of my favorite local watering holes. The students were interested (b thinks it is somehow wrong that I'm drinking with students, but they are all well over 21) and we had our first meeting tonight. The weather (we sat outdoors) and venue were perfect and everyone had a great time. Of course this isn't the most significant change I need to make, but sometimes the little things can go a long way.
I'm teaching two courses this semester. This is the third time I'm teaching both of them so the preps aren't too difficult. One is an undergraduate course in Women's Health. I enjoy teaching this class, as it is crosslisted with the Women & Gender Studies Program and has a strong feminist bent. I usually have the joy of seeing students get the "aha" moment about women's roles and feminism in this country. This semester I have changed things up a little bit and added a service learning component. I LOVE service learning. I really like to get students out into the real world and see what it is all about. I've done it before with small groups of students but never an entire class. Most of the students seem really psyched about it. I have three community partners and they will all be coming in next week to describe their agencies. The students will then pick first and second choices for the project they want to work on. Each agency serves either women or girls in the community and the students will get a chance to directly apply what they are learning in class.
My other course is a doctoral class in qualitative methods. I am one of those nerds that really enjoys teaching methods. I read about methods and think about methods quite a bit, so I enjoy the opportunity to talk about it and get really deep into it with my students. Doctoral classes are great because they are generally small and three hours long. We can really take our time and get into some meaty stuff. I also like teaching methods because, in between the heady philosophy stuff, I can make it very interactive and hands on. This year I know everyone in the course very well so it should be loads of fun.
There is a lot of political drama going on in my department and in the university this year. I haven't been able to stay completely out of it (and it probably isn't wise to do so) but the location of my new office has afforded me some protection, for which I am really grateful. My new office is absolutely fabulous. It is comfortable and organized and big enough that I can have students around without feeling cramped. Also, since it is on the other side of campus it forces me to walk a lot more during the day.
My office is also a great spot to write and I've gotten a lot of writing done this week. This has felt wonderful because I went about two weeks without writing a word. When I can't write on a regular basis I get kind of itchy. It is a feeling that is hard to describe but I know it whenever it comes. So this week has been all about scratching that itch. I even managed to resubmit a paper today.
It was also Angel's first week of school. Due to some financial glitches last semester he ended up waitlisted on three courses that he needed. He only got into one of them and needed to find a back-up course. He called to tell me he had decided on an Introduction to Feminism course. And if that is not cool enough, he also needs to find a person he can talk to about feminism for the class. He has picked yours truly. His first assignment is to ask me my definition of feminism and to get me to draw a picture of what a feminist looks like. I believe he is also supposed to draw a picture and then we compare them. How much fun is that?