One article I’m glad I read, one nice conversation, and one slap-myself-upside-the-head thing:

1. “Setting Creative Goals for the New Year?  Let Fear Be Your Guide” from Gwarlingo:  you never know if someone’s inspirational Facebook link will be just what you needed to hear or a load of happy horseshit, as Stubb would say.  In this case it was the former.  The reminder that we don’t, in fact, have unlimited time is the kind of thing that sounds authentic to a worrywart like me.  And I liked the affirmation that daily practice (i.e. the Morning Pages) makes a place for good things to happen.

2. The Mandarin teacher at school–let’s call her Teacher Z, since that’s what the kids call her (well, Z Lao Shi, that is)–is about ten years older than I am.  She was a teenager at the end of the Cultural Revolution and took the university entrance exams along with the rest of the ten-year backlog of students who didn’t get to apply to university.  (She got in, one of less than 5% of all applicants.  So did her older sister.)  She eventually emigrated to the U.S., married an American, and had two daughters.  The older one taught for a year at SA before entering dental school nearby, and the younger one is about to graduate from our flagship state university and go to an engineering job in another state with a major multinational company.  I know the older one slightly as a colleague and I taught the younger one in my first AP Lang class at SA–a delightful, hardworking, lucid writer.  Teacher Z has told me that the employer was very impressed by Younger Daughter’s excellent writing when she worked for them in a summer internship–she politely gives me credit for this, although I doubt I deserve much, if any.

Teacher Z and I have gotten friendly since the move to the new building–her room is right across from the one I shared with Romola–and this year she is teaching the Snork Maiden (there’s a different teacher for middle school).  One recurring topic is the impending departure of her younger daughter–Teacher Z is grappling with the idea that Younger Daughter won’t be moving home after college and might, in fact, not return to our region at all, or not for a while.  We’ve noted that a typical American response is “Great!  She’ll have a terrific job and get to see other parts of the country!” while a typical Chinese response is “The job is great, but she should get a job near her parents!”  Today she was asking me about our winter break travels, and I was saying how much easier and fun it is traveling with a young teen (as opposed to a baby–Lucinda, who has been back for about two and a half months from maternity leave, had just left the room).  Teacher Z remarked that this age is about when she stopped leading her daughters through the airport and found herself scrambling after them instead.

And then she said, wistfully, “You are at the best time, right now.”  And I totally got it.

3. I got an email from a student whose thesis I supervised a couple of years ago.  He is in Austin, working on yet another master’s degree.  He thinks he might like to teach.  Could I write him a recommendation?  ACK.  It never ends.  (I meant to upload those other college recs today, but didn’t get around to it.  Had quite a productive day, though–graded a batch of AP papers, commented on a manuscript, and prepped a lecture-style class.  Productive enough, in fact, that I don’t think I need to force myself to stay at this desk and knock any more things off my list.  I’ll probably wake up too early anyway.  Yawn.)




One response to this post.

  1. […] that different kids “click” with different teachers.  This is her second year with Teacher Z and also with Natasha, who switched from biology to chemistry–but the person whose desk she […]


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