Monday, January 9, 2012

(Nearly) Back to Work & School

I know I already wrote a post today, but...

I'm sitting here, listening to the rain, wondering where the winter break has gone. Next week, I'm back to school and back to work. That means both teaching two sections of English 112 and working on my much neglected thesis. I'm excited and terrified in equal parts at the prospect of teaching a course I've never taught before, but I like the idea that I can make my own syllabus, decide on what my students will be doing from day to day, and create assignments for the papers based upon my teaching preferences. It's going to be a good semester, I think, but it's also going to be busy and I can already see that balancing work, school, and my personal life is going to be a nightmare. Let's just hope I have the perseverance to push forward and not procrastinate, like I've been doing, on my thesis.

So, I spent the whole day on Saturday working on my class syllabus and on assignment sheets for assignments 1-3. There are only five assignments for the whole semester, so I think I made pretty good headway. I talked to Marsha, my fellow GTA, quite a lot this weekend via email and we discussed some of what's to come this semester. Then, I sent my syllabus to Dr. F, my supervising professor, but now I'm thinking I might make some changes. It will depend largely on what he says and on how I'm feeling about things over the next day or two. I was thinking I'd remove the oral presentation component for my students and do conferences instead, but now I'm thinking I'll do both. I don't know. Still thinking it through. Either way, that won't come until paper four, so it's not that big a deal except that the semester schedule has to be on my syllabus.

Then there's the fact that I'm also a student, which is remarkably easy to forget as I'm going along, teaching my classes, getting carried away with work. I have to finish my thesis to graduate, but I'm feeling really overwhelmed and really disappointed in myself for not getting as much done over the winter break as I had planned. The plan was to finish two chapters, the reality was that I've not even finished one. I'm working on it, but it's nowhere near done. I know Dr. Y, my thesis advisor, is going to be really disappointed with my lack of progress, but I can't change the past. I can only work hard on it in the future. The problem is, I'm stuck. I've got horrible writers block/anxiety about chapter three, which is causing nothing to get done. It's silly, but this chapter is a real sticking point for me. Once it's done, chapter four will follow the same scheme, so that won't be a problem.  Looks, at this point, like I won't be graduating until August, rather than in May... what a bummer.

Otherwise, in preparation for the coming semester, I have meetings on Friday but am off the whole week otherwise. My thoughts are that if my syllabus gets approved by then, and it should considering how quickly the semester is approaching, that I'll make photocopies of the syllabus for my class, of the student info sheet, and of the first assignment sheet. That way, I'm prepared. It's a lot of copies, but it has to get done at some point and Friday seems like a good time.  Until then, however, I have to spend the week doing laundry. Matt and I have a ton of clothes, they're largely dirty, and it's going to take me ten loads (at least) to get them all done. But, since I'm going back to work, I'm going to need clean clothes, so it's not a task I can shrug off.