is it bedtime yet?

18 08 2004

only read this if you really care to see more griping about school:

i’ve been back at school for two days now (we’re attending whole-school orientation-sessions for new TAs, which we aren’t, but we are here, and nobody else’s training–even if it’s an intensive two weeks of teacher-training like virginia tech’s, as contrasted by these hour-long lectures in which we’re given insightful advice like “if you want to avoid the potential for being charged with sexual harassment, don’t date your undergraduate students” and “it’s a good idea to learn your students’ names”–is apparently up to the task of preparing us to teach at this charming institution), which should be a far cry less demanding than actually being in school, which won’t happen for another week-and-a-half, and i’m already exhausted–i’m watching the clock to see when bedtime happens. it’s 8:42. i should be taking roving walks to appreciate summer nights while i have them, slaving over the incomplete i still haven’t finished, reading poetry. i’m counting minutes & fantasizing about disappearing into sleep. it’s dark: that’s late enough!

i’m also already discouraged: i got in trouble today (i have this knack) for believing the new schedule i got two days ago instead of the “tentative” schedule (yes, it was called that) i was mailed in july, and so not showing up at a departmental meeting the new schedule indicated would be held tomorrow. and i was assigned my copy of the text i’m supposed to teach from–that i’m supposed to teach students how important it is to edit with, when it’s poorly edited & i found typos just flipping through the pages, & that i’m supposed to teach students the value of contextualizing information and ideas from, when it doesn’t even have an introduction of any kind to explain why the readings in it were collected or what its editors intended, let alone any kind of context or introductory material for the readings themselves. & yes, i know, i can make that into assignments & get around it. but i feel at a distinct disadvantage walking into the classroom to teach from a syllabus i didn’t write with a department-sponsored book i would never have chosen and find highly problematic. otherwise, pretend you believe i’m an optimist, & only read the rest:

on the positive side:

it’s been terrifically nice to finally meet a few people in syracuse who aren’t in my department, even if it’s only happened because of mostly-stupid manditory meetings

there’s an oneida/first nations cultural festival this weekend that i really hope the weather lets us go to, since we missed the onondaga one on account of being in florida

tonight i became a real southerner (don’t ask me why i had to leave the south to make this leap–probably because i never had a borrowed garden in my backyard before!) by making my first very tasty batch of fried green tomatoes!  (the vines seth & ty planted in our yard are so wild & huge & mad they’re toppling their cages, & knocking some of the fruit off early into the dirt–i didn’t want to waste it!  chances are that winter will descend before half of the darling things have ripened up properly–so there might be a lot of green-tomato-frying in our future.  want some?)

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8 responses

18 08 2004
l_stboy

Cool, you’re teaching soon! πŸ™‚

18 08 2004
tyra

yeah, whatever, but
i fried GREEN TOMATOES!
c’mon, cultural experimentation–in the kitchen, of all places–has to win me some kind of encouragement & recognition!!! i’m pissy about teaching at the moment. i’m sure i’ll get over it when i have real students, but right now the theoretical stuff has me down. but i’m really proud of my tomatoes!

18 08 2004
teky4lf

My mom had that problem with green tomatoes one year. I know she’s got cans of them hanging around. I don’t know if they’re pickles or what… Should I ask?
Love you! SMILE! πŸ™‚

20 08 2004
tyra

always ASK. either you’ll find out something good, or you’ll find out something scary/nasty, & then you can make fun of her about it!

19 08 2004
message_2love

Life gives you green tomatoes, so fry ’em up!
Oh, man. That does suck. However, I think it’s a sign of being a conscientious teacher that you are so concerned about the book from which you’re teaching. And, yes, you can make criticizing the book into assignments, but it makes your job so hard when you need to also be concentrating on your own school work. I can’t fathom how a department, full of supposedly intelligent and insightful pedagogues, could distribute a text book that is so flawed. But you know what? Isn’t that an example of a big reason why WE want to step up and become part of that institution? To do things “right”? So hey, take that kind of stuff as an example of what NOT to do and roll with it with that in mind. And you ARE an optimist most of the time, so know that you’ll snap out of it when you’re a little less beaten down by the looming stress of school starting, and then you can look at it as a tool and not a hindrance. Hang in there, babe! I have faith that you’ll make some yummy fried tomatoes out of the green ones! πŸ˜‰

19 08 2004
jeymin

First, I thought tomatoes were one of those things you could harvest early and let them sit and they will ripen in your kitchen window so you can actually eat them in the color they are supposed to be eaten in…
Second, as for teaching from a crappy book, just keep repeating “I am in grad school and I have to do what they say but one day I will be out of here and don’t have to listen to them anymore.” A professor at my grad school wrote a chemistry textbook for freshman chemistry and so of course the school used said book because a professor who had been at the school a long time wrote it. Well, the book sucked. It had typos and errors and not enough examples and everyone hated it. But we had to use it. While I was lucky enough to not actually have to teach anything out of it since I taught labs, I still had to help the poor students struggle through it. My best advice to them, and probably to you as well, “Find another book you like better and use it to help you understand what you have to from this book.” Grad school sucks, it is one of those initiation rituals that they make us go through if we want a higher degree. I decided I didn’t want to deal with all the crap and bailed with a Masters and have never looked back. I am exactly where I wanted to be at this point in my career and I can’t complain! I am glad I went to grad school, but I would never go back!!! I feel your pain, but rest assured there is a light at the end of the tunnel (and it is not an on-coming dragon!) and it will all be worth it when it is over!

20 08 2004
tyra

just because they WILL ripen doesn’t mean they HAVE to. they’re tart & a little spicy when they’re fried up green. it’s a different kind of tasty–not at all like settling for a half-done something else. πŸ™‚
& i hope you’re right about this grad school business (i can’t switch out the book, even unofficially, b/c it’s full of assigned necessary readings for the paper-writing assignments, typos & all…) although i suspect you might have been right about the “bail w/a master’s” part too! πŸ™‚

26 08 2004
Anonymous

fried green tomatoes, yum!
oi vey! hang in there, it will be bedtime soon. btw, do your fried green tomatoes travel? send a batch down to roanoke. i’ll trade ya some thai green chicken curry/larry’s famous choc chip cookies. bear, tiger, spike, and grey send hugs and kitty kisses.
cheers,tigerbear007

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