Thursday, June 04, 2009

Worn out

Chocolate Chocolate Birthday Cake with 18 candles and odd reflections

This week I attended a summer teaching institute for faculty and teaching academic staff (the category I am in) of the University of WI. It was held at the UW Arboretum, a beautiful spot, thought by many to be the birthplace of ecological restoration -- "the process of returning an ecosystem or piece of landscape to a previous, usually more natural, condition".

It was really a great experience - I went for two reasons: 1) I have an online class I have been teaching for almost 10 years, and even though I have been renovating it every time I teach it, I wanted some time to think about a real overhaul; and 2) my School is expanding our distance program, and I wanted to hear the latest thoughts on best practices in online teaching, and what new cool toys the University has for us to play with (I guess that's 2 1/2).

I got some really good ideas - we did a group project exercise this morning that I think'll work great in a face-to-face class I am teaching this summer. And it was also really reassuring to have what I do taken so seriously, and find out how much support I have on campus. A lot of the time I feel kind of like a second class citizen in my department - I am not tenure-track faculty, do not have the PhD.; I am teaching academic staff. But a lot of the teaching at UW is done by people in my category, and a lot of the people at this institute were in my category, and no one regarded our work as second rate.

Tonight, I am beat. I biked a lot today - over to the Arb, and then, at lunch, down to campus to fax in a form of one of my students, and then I decided, rather than biking back to the Arb, to swap my bike for the car. And the Institute has been pretty much 8:30 to 4:30 everyday - and it was my foster kid's last week of school, so some late nights, like Tuesday when she went out with a friend, and last night when we ate birthday cake & ice cream at 10:30.

A couple of days ago, my brother was writing about doing too much, self-deprecatingly, like he should have stuck with each activity for longer, but it made me tired to read about all the stuff he stuffed into one day.

And of course we've been staying up late to watch Conan - Pearl Jam Monday, Tom Hanks & Green Day Tuesday (Conan's like a foot taller than Billy Joe). Last night I watched Letterman instead, because he had Steve Earle, singing a Townes Van Zandt song, and then Jmmy Fallon had Dave Matthews - the Dave Matthews GPS slot was actually really funny.

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