Friday, May 15, 2009

Teaching Progress

My grades are in! Yay! After we turn in grades, we get to read our course evaluations, so I did that, too. They were very strong in both classes; in fact, my 101 evals were the best I've ever gotten for a freshman comp course.

Although I'm happy about this, it's also puzzling, given what a basket case I was this semester because of Dad. (One of my colleagues said that she was amazed I was able to teach at all, at least while he was still alive and I was running around taking care of him.) I'm not sure how to apply this to future teaching, since I neither expect nor want to undergo a major loss every semester. On the other hand, evaluations often have more to do with the personalities of the students than with the performance of the professor, and this was a pleasant, laid-back group. And they knew what was going on in my life -- one student included a very sweet note with her final portfolio, telling me that I was a role model for her in dealing with grief -- so maybe that had something to do with the evals, too.

Meanwhile, yesterday I wrote the syllabus for my summer Tolkien course, and today I hope to get started on my narrative-medicine freshman comp class for the fall. My goal's to have both fall classes prepped before I leave to go back East on June 10. That's a little ambitious, but any progress I make will be A Good Thing.

I don't usually remember my dreams, but the last two nights, I've had very vivid dreams about narrative medicine. In the first, two English Department colleagues were ragging on me about how it's not a real intellectual discipline: classic academic anxiety dream! In the second dream, I was at the hospital, having a long conversation about Langston Hughes with one of the ER docs. I'm not sure what to make of these, except that my unconscious seems to be working on integrating these two aspects of my life.

Today's the med school graduation, and I'll be going to wish my student well as she heads off to residency. On Monday, my three first-year NM students are leaving for Ecuador, where they'll be helping out in a hospital for a few weeks. I can't wait to read their writing about it!

1 comment:

  1. Although I'm happy about this, it's also puzzling, given what a basket case I was this semester because of Dad.This may be one of those zen/baseball "don't think, do" things in that since your conscious mind was so pre-occupied with your father that you didn't have time to think about (and hence worrying about) how you were teaching and that in the classroom at least you were able to mentally let go and just do the job and do it well.

    Of course what do I know, I'm a stats geek.


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