Thursday, October 30, 2003


Life is about as hectic as it could be these days; while I have a short moment in the media center and the students are all in class, here's a quick catch-up just for you!

Item: Due to some shifts in who can teach what at the administrative level, I've been asked to teach a full-credit course in Modern American Culture this Winter term in our trimester block calendar (course description here; scroll down to HIS 321 for details). It's late in the game to begin planning for a course I've never taught before; bookorders were due weeks ago, and the guy who designed and used to teach this course left the school last year and hasn't returned my emails, so I'm coming into this a little nervous and unprepared.

Although I'm excited about the opportunity, and honored that the History department chair thought that I was the only one here out of a teaching pool of 175 who could teach the course well other than himself (despite the fact that I teach media, not American Studies, my undergrad degree is in American Studies and Sociology, and that plus the communications and pop culture work I do now is a good platform for a primary-source course in the evolution of American values since 1945). But because I was only really given enough time in my schedule to teach the class, not to prepare and grade, it was very tempting to say no. It was, apparently, more tempting to say yes. Expect plenty of blogging of curriculum ideas and course dynamics over the next months as I settle in.

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Item: The miracle has occured: in the past weeks, Willow, now fifteen months, has begun to show me the kind of affection she once reserved for her mother and the dog. I've gotten kisses (on the lips!) while waking up for the past few mornings; yesterday she insisted on eating lunch in my lap instead of her highchair at the dining hall table, all the while pressing her face into mine, looking around at my teaching peers across the table, pointing to my nose and saying "Daddy! Daddy!" as if proud to tell the world she loves me. I love her so much, and it hurt so much to be ignored for so long, but trust me, new and future parents, it's well worth the wait.

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Item: Evenings here have been a bear this week. Monday night radio show after a four-to-five 9th grade history class presentation of how stereotypes (Muslim/Arab, Terrosist, the "other") are reframed in the popular American mind and media in moments of cultural crisis (9/11); Tuesday night Professional development Committee meeting where, as Chair, I'm leading this year's sabbatical proposal review process; last night duty in the dorm. Tonight's the last minute for college rec letters for those increasingly numerous kids applying early action to the bigger schools and Ivies. Tomorrow I have to meet an alum in the auditorium after work to show him how not to use CD-played music in the ancient and acoustically poor space, followed by trick-or-treating with a kid too small to really appreciate it. In each case, this is after an 8-4 day of instructional work with teachers and students in and out of their classrooms, not to mention my Media Literacy class, which has been meeting online in AIM this week to explore the phenomenon of the Second Self a bit. Will the pace ever slow down? See item 1 above for a pretty solid No, and Item 2 for a pretty good reason why that sucks.

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Still to come in the days ahead: Halloween (I'm thinking Jesus again, since I already look like the Western conception; the question now is: stigmata or no stigmata?). Thanksgiving break, and some as-yet-undefined meal with an ever-more-extending family group. A slight blog redesign. The bat in the attic. And, finally, pictures of this summer's expeditions to Bangladesh and Alaska. I promise. I just need a minute here, okay?

posted by boyhowdy | 9:03 AM |

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