The dust settles.

December 29, 2008

Professor Rottweiler is painfully aware that much time has passed between her last posting and this one.  We all know this trap… the more time passes, the higher the stakes are.  That first deadline goes by and you haven’t even started, let alone come close to finishing say, the article you’ve promised the editor of a newsletter.  You ask for and are granted an extension, without mentioning, of course, you haven’t started.  The more time passes, the more time, in theory, you’ve had to work on the thing, so the better it’s supposed to be, right?  At the last moment, when extensions are no longer there for the granting, you spew out some sub-par thing in a desperate act to cross it off your check list.  (And I’ve been know to retroactively add things to a checklist that I’ve already done to make myself feel accomplished).  You tell yourself it will be improved in the editing process, and that the damage will somehow be undone.  The truth is, there is no editing.  You actually just move on to the next deadline.

This is all to say that though I’ve been a long time in blogging, readers should have low expectations.  I have not been refining my thoughts and contemplating my entry.  No, I’ve been recovering.  My first semester on the tenure track has ended.  Some quick stats to recap:

Number of students taught: 111.

Number of papers graded: 642 (some were short ones)

Number of hours just lecturing: 24

Number of hours prepping classes: a lot more than 24

Number of hours spent on research:  if I think about it, I might cry.

Number of peer-reviewed articles published: 1 (must not give up hope!)

The semester is over.  There were things that I could have done better, but there are also things that could have gone a lot worse.  The student evaluations are in, and they weren’t too painful.  They were actually even just fine.  Of course, I am obsessing only about the one or two biting comments in the lot.  I suspect they may be part of the famed ‘revenge evaluation’ genre of which I have been told.  And I’m going to gripe about at least one of them.  Remember how I decided to kick my class out when I caught them not reading?  Well, while most of the students in that class wrote very complementary things, one of the little ingrates decided to mouth off.

According to said whiny student, it was shear immaturity that drove me to kick students out of the class.  Such a stunt is only appropriate in grade school.  Said student also reports that they have lost all interest in anthropology and have downgraded it from their major to their minor because they are unimpressed with all of the anthropology professors at Midwestern University.  Plus, I gave WAY too much work, asking them to read a whopping 50 pages of ethnography per class, and when they asked for some respite, I made only superficial cuts to the reading (mind you, I literally cut the reading in HALF the last four weeks of the class).

I, on the other hand, am elated that someone who doesn’t want to put effort into a class that is a fundamental requirement for their major has jumped ship.  I asked my students to leave class when they came unprepared, and I am GLAD I DID IT.  My only regret is that I didn’t do it earlier in the semester!

And lest I spend another second worrying about the semester behind me, I have to remind myself that the semester ahead of me should get me motivated, because I am not teaching this Spring.  Rather, I will be in high-output writing mode.  I am wondering if this Spring will be much different from last Spring as last Spring I was focused on finishing my dissertation, and this Spring I will be working on my book manuscript and two articles I would like to get done.  After spending the semester mainly caught up in teaching and getting adjusted to new faces in a new city and a new institution, I am looking forward to working on my own research.  Next semester’s stats will be calculated in words written and articles submitted.  I can also start keeping track of air miles as I will be commuting between Midwestern U. and Virginia where Mr. Rottweiler is in graduate school.  That’s right, I will be splitting my time half and half between Midwestern U. and Mr. Rottweiler. After much careful analysis, I have simply concluded that it is easier to be married when one resides in the same town as one’s partner.  I will miss Professor Schnauzer when I am away (and Mr. Schnauzer, too)… I would not have survived the semester without them!  We shall have to cram four weeks worth of dishing, drinking, griping and cheerleading into two weeks.  What’s a rottweiler to do?

At the end of the spring semester, the Rottweilers will return to the town in which Midwestern U. housed and settle in for the long haul.  Mr. Rottweiler will commence disserting, and Professor Rottweiler will egg him on as she geers up for Fall 2010 (three classes and year two on the tenure track!) But all of this is far in the future.  Spring 2009 will be about writing, commuting, and writing about writing– all of which you can likely read about on this here blog if you aren’t sick of me yet.  Happy New Year, to all my puppies, hounds, and bitches!  Here’s to surviving Fall 2008 and digging in to Spring 2009.


3 Responses to “The dust settles.”

  1. Caroline said

    Congratulations for making it through! I think, for the first semester, making it through is the most anyone can ask for. Good luck with writing next semester!

  2. […] December of 2008, after my first semester on the job, I did a little bit of a check in to see how things looked in the shake out.  I counted up all kinds of things.  Now seems like a […]

  3. […] 23, 2010 In December of 2008, after my first semester on the job, I did a little bit of a check in to see how things looked in the shake out.  I counted up all kinds of things.  Now seems like a […]

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