Archive for February, 2013

Half asleep in frog pajamas

Yawn.  I’ve mostly stopped expecting that I’m going to get much work done at home in the evenings–aside from the occasional freakish burst of energy (which is sometimes just premenstrual-hormonal insomnia), I am generally pretty somnolent after we get home.  Much better to get up early–I am usually good for a couple of hours’ work before school, as long as I don’t try to do it too many times in a week.

This evening, though, I’ve left myself some planning work that really needs to get underway, at least, because my lovely free blocks in the morning have gotten cluttered up with covering a class for a colleague, a meeting with Gamma and the librarian about AP resources, and my annual review meeting with the GGE (which seems almost superfluous since we have had so many conversations lately and I know my annual review is excellent since I just signed it last week and we negotiated my salary for next year back in November–but I know we will have things to discuss anyway).

The guy we offered the job took the other one, citing geography.  Romola thought the other location was better for him as a single guy and “not so much of a city guy,” which I didn’t really pick up on myself.  Anyway, we have a second candidate coming in later this week, also a man–older than the previous candidate, but younger than Ph.D. Guy.  And again, it’s my busiest teaching day, so I’ve got to figure out times to watch the candidate teach and to talk with him.

Speaking of Ph.D. Guy, he just touched base with me about coming to visit some classes this spring, which we’d discussed a while back.  I need to write him back.  And to do that, I probably need to do some of that planning, right?–so that we can figure out when he should visit.

And I think I’ll start with a writing session, which always seems to energize me for other work.

Dress your family in corduroy and denim

I wear black pants to school approximately 80% of the time, with…something on top…usually a solid-colored shirt, maybe about half the time with a scarf.  Most of the rest of the time, it’s a black skirt ditto.  For really wild days, I have one brown skirt with a matching cardigan, and I also have a black tank dress that I wear with an overshirt, a jacket, or a cardigan.

And that’s about it.  Also, some of these clothes are a little too big on me now, which is a fine problem to have when one has been trying to lose weight, but there are some key items that really should fall out of the rotation.

If I could add one item to my wardrobe right now, it would be a pair of colored pants that I could wear with a black or neutral top.  But pants shopping…I’m going to spend some of my precious weekend time pants shopping?  

Well, maybe.  And what else will I be doing today?

  • Writing goals for the week and group update
  • Laundry
  • FA paperwork for the Snork Maiden’s summer program application
  • Some form of exercise
  • Grocery/Target (which is where the pants shopping might happen)
  • Prep for NLNRU class
  • Prep for two student meetings
  • Dinner and the Oscars (or some part thereof) at my mom’s

That last one means I have about eight hours for all the other stuff–which is a reasonable amount of time and can also include some breaks, including a nice nap, if I’m feeling so inclined.  I have SA prep and grading to do, but I think the list above is enough for now.  (NLNRU definitely looms over my weekends more now that I’m teaching on Monday nights, and SA is more likely to get back-burnered.)


About a boy

Today I spoke with the fellow who has the offer from us.  He had a few questions, but I had the distinct sense that they weren’t really dealbreakers one way or the other.  He told me that he has another offer, from a school that is somewhat more geographically desirable for him, but I got the impression that the school itself is less appealing than SA is.  He sounded pretty impressed by our school and department, which was nice to hear, of course.  I told him that it sounds like he has two good choices and it’s going to be a question of which one feels right (or right-er).

And for us, I think that this is a good situation to be in.  If he’d really rather be at the other place, he can pick it, and we won’t have a colleague who wishes he were somewhere else.  If he picks us, well, it’s human nature to get behind the decisions we make until we’re proven otherwise, right?  So we should benefit from the effect of his having chosen us over the other place.

This fellow, by the way, is just coming off the second of two one-year replacement positions, so I’m guessing he will try to stay in one place for a few years before trying to move again–at least, I think this would be a good idea.  One is in a stronger position if one has been successful somewhere for a stretch.  Elinor, last I heard, had a verbal offer from a school in her new location, and had two more campus visits lined up–can’t wait to catch up with her next week.

The GGE has a couple of other candidates lined up if this one decides on the other school, and he’ll move on those quickly if he doesn’t get a yes fairly soon.  I pretty much expect to hear something on Monday–either that we’re getting a new colleague or that we’re getting a new candidate.

The fermata

vizziniAs we wait to see whether the job-offer recipient will take our job or not, February continues apace.  The three of us who teach sections of the “regular” junior class–Dr. Tea, Gwendolen, and I–are starting blogs to use with our students as we read our Vonnegut novel together.

The school has a pretty conservative attitude toward blogs–at this juncture, anyway; they are in the password-protected area of the school website, and at this point the general policy is that class blogs are open to class members and to other teachers, but not to the school at large or to parents (although we have to assume that anything we write might be viewed by more or less anyone, anyway).  My guess is that, as with so many things SA, this tight control will relax gradually.  And, as a soon-to-be administrator, I actually appreciate this hard line, so that we can make most of our mistakes in relative privacy–although eventually I think I would like to open it all up more.

And what else?

Finally read It’s Kind of a Funny Story and liked it very much.

Have done some writing this week, getting back on track with my weekly goals after two nearly useless weeks.  Went to another meeting of the writers’ group–there were fewer people this time (hey, it’s February), but we did a very good critique of a very good but still improvable story, and made some tentative plans for a weekend retreat in April–which I’d love to do if I can.

The Snork Maiden and I had a good, if too short, visit with Stubb.

Another weekend approaches, with its usual cartload of tasks.  I hope I’ll be able (I’ll probably need) to do some blogging then.


The honourable schoolboy

The prospective candidate was quite good, both in his sample class and in his interactions with us.  He appeared to have the relevant skill set and seemed like someone we would be able to work with.  There was pretty broad agreement about this, and it seems possible that the GGE will make him an offer.  We could wait around and look at some other people, but it’s possible this fellow won’t be on the market for long.

That’s how rapidly hiring happens here.  I would say that our hiring success is no worse than any institution where I’ve worked, and maybe better.  This is the process that, in the time I’ve watched it, brought us Dorothea, Romola, and Dinah.  (Of course, it also brought us Alpha–though I wasn’t here when she was hired–and Maddie, who didn’t work out so great.)  Now we have Elinor leaving (and she was a great hire), and Ph.D. Guy and maybe this new person coming in as well.

I’m curious whether he has other offers on the table.  He mentioned interviewing at a religious school in the area, but I think we would be a better fit.  More will be revealed, I suppose.

Off to visit Stubb this three-day weekend.

The candidate

Today is a busy teaching day for me, but the thing that’s sitting on my mind this morning is the job candidate we’ll be seeing.  Gamma is going to cover the second half of my double period this morning so that I can watch him teach Romola’s freshmen.

I certainly feel a heightened interest compared to previous candidates–it’s always interesting to check out a potential colleague, but knowing that I will be this person’s supervisor if we hire him lends a new intensity to my scrutiny!  It’s such a short time to get to know someone–our candidates swoop in and out in one day.  He’s already been vetted in person by the GGE at a hiring conference, which helps.  Also, he has a very loosely scheduled last couple of hours on campus, so I may be able to spend a little time with him after the busy part of my teaching day is over (I’m occupied pretty much four hours straight in the morning, but free after lunch).


Tuesdays at the castle

The week is going well so far, but not my writing goals.  Just keeping up with my regular teaching and prep at both institutions, plus whatever jack-in-the-boxes spring up, is taking all my faculties right now.  Tonight, I still need to:

  • write
  • finish writing two assignments for tomorrow
  • read contest mss.
  •  work on those alumni interview writeups (B & C)

It might be that I should triage those things in this way:

  • TONIGHT: write and read contest mss. (which need to be finished tomorrow)
  • TOMORROW MORNING, EARLY: finish writing assignments (historically, this sort of thing goes better in the morning)

There’s something going on every day and/or night this week.  On Wednesday, I’m taking the Snork Maiden for a haircut.  On Thursday, there’s a long meeting after school, and we’re having dinner with my father, who’ll be in town.  We have a job candidate coming on Friday, which is my hard teaching day, but I’ve been able to get Gamma to cover a class for me so that I can watch the candidate teach–and the Snork Maiden has a soccer game after school.  And on Saturday, we’re going to visit Stubb.

I think we’d better do some packing on Wednesday.


Bid time return, part 2

Okay, much has been accomplished, including the Snork Maiden’s application to a summer program.  She seems to have reached an age at which she’s able to get excited about a program where she’d live away from home.  This one seems well suited to her and could possibly fit in with our as-yet-incomplete summer plans.  I will still have to complete the financial aid part of the application, but at least the paperwork is under way.

I think I’m done grading for tonight.  The last nine essays will go faster when I’m well rested, which I hope to be in the morning (please, no disturbing dreams!).  I think the remaining hour or so before Downton Abbey would be well spent doing house stuff, laundry, and general prep for the week ahead.

Oh, and I wanted to record here that my writing group goals involve writing on Sunday night, Monday morning, Tuesday morning, and Thursday afternoon.  I need to keep those goals in my sights because this week will continue some of last week’s challenges, plus a distinguished campus visitor and two job candidates!

I hope all my readers (they are not legion, but perhaps they are…maniple?) have a good week!

Bid time return

The fruits of the last 100 minutes:

  • Got the first (and then second) load of laundry started.
  • Walked to the store.
  • Posted my update to the writing group.
  • Graded 2 (not 3) essays.
  • Finished alumni report A.

And now, for my next trick–I mean, my next 100 minutes:

  • Have some dinner.
  • Write for 12 minutes.
  • Grade 3 essays.
  • Prep class.
  • Put in another load of laundry.
  • 30 minutes reading contest mss.

In dreams begin responsibilities

The Snork Maiden went to a movie yesterday and saw a preview for The Call, a movie about a serial killer, that totally spooked her.  Before bed, she fretted that she was going to have nightmares, and I told her that she probably wouldn’t because she was consciously processing the disturbing images.  Well, she didn’t, but I did–a very upsetting dream in which a number of our SA students were slated to be executed, and I was there with them on a sort of grassy slope, keeping them company before they got up, one by one, and went–through the doors of what looked like a fort–to their doom.  I had the sense they were going to be beheaded, although I didn’t see the place of execution–it was behind the fort doors.

I’m guessing that this is a dream about kids growing up and entering adult life–being cut off from their old lives as children–and my sense of accompanying them to the verge of this change but being unable to really follow or help them.  The events from the weekend’s waking life that seem relevant include spending Friday evening at a student-run performance at school that I found very moving; dropping off the Snork Maiden at a couple of fairly independent activities; and a conversation about a friend’s teenage daughter, who is going through some hard things right now.

Whew.  I also went digging through a closet looking for something today and ended up reading through a bunch of old letters.  I always think I will enjoy reading old letters, but it’s really quite a complicated experience, reviving old feelings and creating new ones having to do with what it feels like to be the person I am now thinking about the person I was then.  The worst part, I guess, was reading some of my own old emails, printed out in the days when my undergraduate email account got wiped over the summer.  (Dot-matrix printer, continuous-form paper with sprocket holes along the edges–I’m old.)

There wasn’t even anything explicitly upsetting in them, really, but now I’m feeling disoriented and upset–not at all the frame of mind I need to be in right now!  It’s Sunday, after all, and I am prone to the Sunday blues.  As usual, too, I have a fair bit of work to do before Monday.  Fortunately, Monday is my light teaching day at SA, which makes it easier to face the late afternoon and evening of NLNRU meetings and class.

So here we go:  I need to complete the following tasks:

  • Write.
  • Grade 14 essays.
  • Prep a class.
  • Do the laundry.
  • Update writing-group [lack of] progress.
  • Tidy up.
  • Walk to the store (getting a wee bit of exercise thereby).

And I need to make progress on the following projects:

  • Student X.
  • Reading for contest.
  • Alumni interview reports A, B, and C.

And if I am in reasonably good shape by 8, I can watch last week’s Downton Abbey (which I never did get around to) and maybe also the new one.

I decree that in the next 100 minutes, I shall:

  • Get the first load of laundry started.
  • Walk to the store.
  • Post my update to the writing group.
  • Grade 3 essays.
  • Start drafting alumni report A.