Monday, November 26, 2007

So Long, Farewell....

This blog is being retired. I've moved to a new home. Leave me a note if you want the url.
doctor T 2:35 PM | 10 comments |

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

How can I be so good at teaching one thing....

....and struggle so much teaching another?

I'm finding my teaching this semester weird. When it's discussion and an author I enjoy, I really like it. When it comes to teaching the technical shit, and straight-up lecturing, which you'd think would be easier because it's scripted, I flounder. I don't like it. It's so draining, and I just want to do more. But I have to cover the basics. That's why courses like this suck -- because what is basic groundwork for one student might be old news to another. Because we're supposed to be moving towards "standard" assignments and evaluation, but it makes me feel like an automaton.

Hopefully Friday will be better -- I'm doing a Treava-style tour of the library and then giving them a library scavenger hunt assignment. Maybe a day out of the class will give me the punch in the gut I need.
doctor T 12:01 PM | 2 comments |

Friday, September 28, 2007

Month 1 Down, 3 Await....

The first month of the first semester of my fourth-year as a PhD student is nearly complete. In fact, I've just taught my last course for September and am now decompressing after a particularly busy past four weeks.

Oh yes, I'm teaching again. Academic reading and writing. It's not what I would have chosen, but it's required time for sessional PhD instructors. My class is keen -- almost all first years, quite young (17 and 18 year olds make me feel aged), pretty ambitious and smart. I don't put much credence in the idea that people are entering uni out of high school barely able to write. If my experience teaching three courses is an yardstick, high school grads are pretty damn capable. Their behavior is sometimes distracting, but overall the class is going well. This week I've been a pretty crap teacher because my sinuses ache interminably and it makes me want to steam my head open, so hopefully they will forgive me and next week -- research methods! -- will be better.

Fall on campus is busy, full of germs (illness run amok), stressful and marked by dodgey, weird weather. I prefer misty coolness, and most days begin that way but the sun burns the fog off by noonish and it gets dry and hot and ick. The uni is still highly allergenic despite the many renovations going on around campus -- my building is, of course, neglected and sad, as humanities doesn't bring in the cash. And chalk is gross, but better than wasting paper, I guess.

I've managed to carve out some dissertation only time on Mondays and Thursdays, and afternoons when I don't have marking to do. The chapter is well on its way, and once it is complete, I get to move on to chapter two, the one I REALLY want to write, on short stories. I'm also thinking about submitting a couple conference proposals based on my dissertation chapters so I have no excuses not to finish writing.

Socially, the department is lively enough, although the cohort feel for PhDs is still in early stages. Aw, the perils of island life -- sometimes, we're just to lazy to really pull together.
doctor T 11:43 AM | 2 comments |

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tag Time

Tara tagged me to share some fascinating facts about myself.

The deal: (1) Link to your tagger and post these rules. (2) Share 7 facts about YOU: some random, some weird...all devastatingly interesting. (3) Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them). (4) Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.
  1. I have a crazy fear of moths. The new "Social Moth" application on facebook creeps me right the fuck out.
  2. I have a spreadsheet of assistant salary floors at every university in Canada saved on my computer. It took a couple days to put together the first time, and now I update it annually.
  3. Nothing makes me laugh like a fart joke.
  4. I really prefer a night at home to a night out.
  5. I'm afraid I'm becoming an introvert.
  6. When I was 8, I had an allergic reaction to something (still not sure what) and the bottoms of my feet turned purple and swelled up. I walked on the side of my feet for a couple weeks, and I'm convinced that it screwed up my ankles for life.
  7. When I'm stressed out, I get hives.
I'll tag the following folks:
  1. Foxy over at One Vain Cookie
  2. Keri of Diary of a Dandelion Diva
  3. The Procrastinating Pegger, a fellow 20-something lushley
  4. Changa the Running guru
  5. The kasanika family blog
  6. the beans
doctor T 6:44 PM | 0 comments |

Monday, August 27, 2007

What Is Progress?

This isn't an esoteric rant on the nature of progress as an ideological concept. I'm really wondering what I can consider progress in terms of work on the dissertation.

Is 1000 words a day progress? Lately I've been finding the actual writing -- not the brainstorming or text-pulling -- exhausting. One page makes me feel like I've scaled a mountain. But that's really not enough. I really wanted to have a draft of this chapter done by the end of August. I'm really working towards it, but it's not going to happen. I may have a draft by the end of next week, so that's my new goal. But I need to write more that won't end up on the cutting room floor. I need to get to the typing and editing stage. I need to feel like I'm making headway and not feel like I need a nap after every bloody page.

Luckily I've stopped taking out new books. I have now limited myself to what is currently on my office shelves, and only articles and book reviews are allowable extras, and then ONLY to flesh out an already-begun argument. It's so easy to fall into the "oooh, I need that specific book before I can do anything else" -- and that's crap. I know what I want to say, so I should just say it! The last time I just plain wrote, the final product was a very fun and very well-received conference paper, so this trick apparently does work.

And on that note, I'm going to stop writing in my silly blog and get back to the diss. But please, leave a comment on what you consider actual progress -- word counts are welcome.
doctor T 4:01 PM | 3 comments |

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

WordPress vs. Blogger....

Anyone out there want to comment on WordPress and how it may be better or worse than Blogger? I'm contemplating a switch.
doctor T 11:05 AM | 4 comments |

Monday, August 13, 2007

Manic Monday

If you know me in real life, you will know that I am not a morning person. I'm a bear in the morning, in part because I don't sleep well and because I'm just a bit of a cow whenever I wake up. So how do I feel waking up on Monday morning, on my first real day back at work (writing), to the sound of heavy construction at 7:30 am? Not so good. And I've yet to figure our how I'll make a good writing day in spite of the noise. Earplugs? Music? Speed?

This may call for a move to the library.
doctor T 8:21 AM | 1 comments |