Tuesday, October 18, 2016

That Went Fast

The past week just blew by.

I got and graded a big stack of papers, and some small stacks (journals, rewrites).

I've been to endless meetings (well, it feels like they're endless, even if they're good meetings).  And student conferences; I've met with every student in my writing class at least once since 8am on Thursday.

I spent most of the weekend in grading jail.  Except I went to a concert that my violin teacher was playing in.  Way good!

Today, I don't teach, so I slept in, and am about to practice, and then start to grade a big stack of papers.  Then, around noon, I'll go to campus for a meeting and then conferences with students.

The stack of papers I turned back in my Shakespeare class have led to some worried students wanting conferences.  And my writing students are working on a paper which they'll do peer revision work on tomorrow in class.  This is a hard assignment, and I think most of them are on track (since I've talked to them all in conference, I have a pretty good idea where they were).  But several want more feedback before peer revision.

Violin is especially fun right now.  I'm about to work on "The Two Grenadiers," a song by Schumann in D-minor and D-major.  So I'm working on the D-minor scale, and since you can shift a string and do basically the same thing in a different key, the G-minor scale.  I find scales weirdly satisfying, I think because I can practice them and achieve a basic level of doing them fairly quickly.  (That doesn't happen with most pieces I'm learning.)

I seem to have an especially heavy committee load right now, and can I say, when you work with someone on a committee, you get a different sense of them.  I'm on one committee with an administrator, and while I respected her before, my respect has redoubled.  She's fantastic at facilitating discussion and progress. 

And I'm on a committee with a young faculty colleague, and I'm astounded by how set in stone she thinks things must be.  For example, we came up with issue X, and she said that she's heard that at some schools, issues X is always handled in Y way.  And more experienced committee members said, yes, that's true at some schools, but we don't, because handling issue X in Y way may mislead people and thus be hurtful.  And she insisted that at some schools, issue X is handled in Y way, and she wanted to make sure we knew that.  And once again, other folks said, yes, we know, but we don't because doing that is problematic.  She came back to the Y practice two or three more times, as if she couldn't quite believe that we'd rejected Y practice for reasons we believe are good.

And it was like that for several issues.  Color me unimpressed.

Yesterday, I went to a recital by a university string student my teacher teaches.   (If you want to learn an instrument, one helpful thing is to pay attention to other people who play.  At the least, you get a bit more familiar with some repertoire.)  The student did a really good job.  Really good. 

And once again, I was so impressed by how poised our music students are, at least the ones who give recitals.  (I'm sure there are some music students who aren't so good, etc.)  But the ones at this recital, the pianist, a chamber group, they're so good at looking confident and comfortable on stage.  It's not that they don't make mistakes, but they're poised. 

And watching the chamber group, it's so cool to see how closely they attend to each other, looking, listening.  Way cool!

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