Week Ten of Grad School and Teaching Comp
Damn. damn. damn. So as I was going to bed last night, waiting for the heat to kick in enough to lull me to bed I thought about all the things I didn’t end up doing during the day thanks to all the time the snow took up. Among those things were my plan to start responding and grading my LAST batch of WR121 papers, work on my final Teaching of Writing Essay, and meeting up with a friend for end-of-term festivities. It was right then that I recalled the most important thing I forgot to do- post my final blog about my first term of grad school and teaching comp.
However, I figured I’d get it done on the bus to Portland early this morning and have it posted while waiting for my transfer to Spokane, WA to meet my partner and semi-begin our break (there are after all, final papers to submit and those pesky papers to grade). FATE had other plans for me though, and my bus was cancelled. Rather than sulk for the majority of the day, I lugged my suitcase through the snow to the Beanery on 2nd where I arrived slightly before any of the employees. A quiche and half a cup of coffee later though, the Christmas music ain’t hurting either, I’m faring better and ready to get some shit done so that attempt no. 2 to get to Spokane gets here as fast as possible.
It seems strange to be on the other side of these ten weeks. I’m trying to keep myself from framing this quarter in a neat narrative, but it’s pretty tough to not be romantic about it. I definitely feel as if I’ve grown in some significant manner over this time and it makes sense given how growth normally occurs when responding to new stimulus, and I got stimulus coming outta mi eyeballs. For instance, I moved in with a person I had never met before and had a great experience living with that person so far, partially because I’m much less of a coward than I used to be and thankfully a little less self-centered. I also taught a class in an actual classroom, which made it so much different, dare I say better, than my previous experience of holding developmental writing classrooms in conference rooms and computer labs. I slowly abandoned hope of being identified by faculty and MFAs as a fellow creative writer (still giving a go at the actual writing though), and have embraced my present role as a rhetoric scholar and the potential friendships with the other MAs. Most importantly, I now accept that I really love being a writing instructor. For a while I was resistant to it despite how much I enjoyed it because of how familiar I am with all the sucky things that come along with that position: issuing grades to students, figuring out logistical situations, dealing with bureaucratic shit that gets in the way of the actual teaching, lacking finances to live as comfortably as I would like, and devoting time to my other interest (namely, the aforementioned creative writing). Yet, those barriers and excuses all eventually were eroded by my incredible, sometimes lazy, but always incredible students who pushed themselves to improve when I pushed them, who became more honest with me and themselves about their work ethic and opinion, and were often funnier and kinder than anyone I met outside of the WR121 classroom. Yes, I am exhausted and I am glad the break is here. But I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next and already have plans for overhauling certain parts of my classroom to figure out all the logistic crap in advance so I can focus more of my time in the term to working on my own lesson plans and slowly letting go of using the template ones where my ideas may work better to my own strengths.
And oh ya, I also did lots of grad student stuff, and I’m writing about things that actually matter to me (contemporary Latin American literature, researching digital technologies in the classroom, applying rhetorical ideas to everyday concepts). As far as starts go, I can’t imagine a much better one.
I’m gonna have trouble not being an optimistic fool come January, and I’m totally fine with that.