Sunday, December 11, 2011

Post-conference exhaustion

I'm feeling a little knocked out right now, after going through finals week as a professor for the first time ever.  Please accept my apologies for saying so little online lately: I couldn't think much about the blog this week.  A week ago, I was just getting back to Ghosttown from the Major Area Studies Conference, where I got to see Shedding Khawatir again, and had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with Ajnabieh.  (See my sidebar for their respective blogs.)  I had a fine time there, and enjoyed feeling a little bit more like a scholar on the loose than a kid at the grown-ups' table.  Much like I did at the Big Giant Pseudology Conference, I savored the chance to see my old friends again; the smaller number of such friends at MASC is tempered by the sweetness of seeing a number of people who live quite far overseas, including some countries that are prohibitively expensive to visit without a grant or an expense account. 

Right on the heels of the end of MASC, naturally, I came down with a cold, which I've been enduring all week while administering final exams to my classes and, when time permits, grading them with my TA.  It's lucky for me that I have so little pride — otherwise, I suppose, it would have been embarrassing to arrive at a grading session with a huge box of tissues in hand.  (My nose has been running all day.)  But tonight, I uploaded all my final grades to the university system, and they have been finalized.  I AM FREE!!!...for a few days, anyway. 

I guess that, after a day or two of seeing colleagues getting 'faced on cream-based cocktails at the local pre-Christmas parties, and grappling with the maddening conflict between Nyquil, Dayquil, and bourbon, and other post-Finals Week issues, I need to focus a little attention on my sorely neglected writing.  And then, of course, I need to plan out my syllabi for next semester for reals.  Lord help me, I'll be teaching my first-ever upper-division course, and I will use this blog as a way to vent the sad fact that

I have no fucking idea how to do this.

Please don't tell anyone.

I haven't been in an upper-division course targeted toward pseudology majors in, gulp, twelve years.  And that was back at Alma Mater College, which was quite a different place from Ghosttown U.  I've already planned out a pretty feasible reading list, I think/hope, with the assumption that I shouldn't slam my students the way we were slammed at AMC.  But I need to do the fiddly work of scheduling weekly assignments and so forth, and I guess I'll just have to learn through trial and error how to lead a discussion-based seminar course.  (Moan.) 

On a side note, I assume that a lot, if not most universities are going through the same finals-and-grading stampede right now, so I'm willing myself to be calm and detached about all those prelim interviews I had a few weeks back.  Nearly all of them told me they'd let me know the status of my application some time this month.  I'll probably start climbing walls and forging prescriptions for sedatives in another week if I don't get some good news about those jobs, but I'm okay.  For now.

Meanwhile, I'm going to swaddle myself in woolen clothing, because it's fucking cold here in Ghosttown, and try to get myself to the supermarket so I can buy some more generic cold medicine so I can try to fall asleep without feeling like my nose is revolting against my body's structural order.


  1. I won't tell anyone. :)

    Have you done what I always do, which is to google around furiously for some sample syllabi to use as models/anti-models? They often have weird keep-up-with-the-reading assignments or larger projects that I think over and then adapt for my own uses. All of my samples are on fruit, so I don't know how helpful they would be to you.

    Ooh, and if your students are about on the level of mine and Dr Crazy's students, I would advise that they have to come in every week with discussion questions or prompts every session instead of "leading discussion" in the class, because I've found mine can't really do this. Maybe upper-division students here could, but I doubt it.

    And get well!!!

  2. It was good seeing you too, even if I was kind of out of it at the time! Good luck with the grading/waiting/cold (I'm with you on two out of those three, and hoping to avoid the third.

  3. I have found that even for majors, you have to give then some kind of writing to do in order to guarantee they will do the reading. So I have my students write a one-page (minimum) response to everything we read. It can't be summary, but I usually ask them to look for a theme or something. And they get points for all that work. I collect it in mini-portfolios every two weeks so I'm not grading constantly. I find that they are better able to discuss the reading this way and usually come up with some good questions for me.

  4. Right there with you. An impromptu trip to NYC was just enough to push me over the exhaustion edge, and I've been nursing an icky cold since Saturday. The waiting, too, does not help. I will send good news vibes in your direction.

    I suggest that you "go native" and use what we Southerners have used for centuries to cure what ails you: Bourbon, sugar, and lemon, mixed with warm water. Will cure anything. Well, that or you won't care that you're sick.

  5. I like "haphazardmusings" recommendation about going native. Get better Dr. Koshary!!!

    You going home for the break,then? Anyway, do email post-cold and obliged-seasonal hangover is over and pre-trip/pre-writing!

    Miss you!


  6. My strategy has always been to teach a course I'd like to take. Because between reading all the material and having the discussion, I AM going to be taking it. And if I'm bored, they're going to be too.

    Ginger and mint and lemons in hot water?