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27 November 2007 @ 08:15 pm
Just two weeks (and some) left  
     In August, I started working as a full time instructor for the University of Minnesota's English Language Program. I was so delighted to find this job. It was -- and still is -- my dream job. But all dreams have their rough edges, I guess. Adjusting to the daily schedule, which amounts to 12 hours a day from the time I leave the house in the morning to the time I walk in the door at night, has been challenging to say the least.  I am only in the classroom 15 hours per week. It may seem pretty crazy that so few (student-teacher) contact hours result in so many actual hours of work (and transit), but that's how it works. The three classes I'm teaching this semester all have fairly heavy writing components, so that adds considerably to the daily work load.

     All of my students are non-native English speakers. They're great people with whom I feel most privileged and happy to work, but the writing they produce takes anywhere from lots to lots and lots and lots of time to decode and interpret, depending on the writing skills of the student. I must not only read but annotate this writing clearly and usefully enough for them to redraft their work into more grammatical, reader-friendly discourse, which I must, of course, read again. Actually, if I were only working at the 'U', my schedule would be very comfortably manageable,  but I'm  teaching a fourth writing class at Hamline University, and that is the straw, I think, that breaks the instructor's back. The Hamline students are also lovely kids, bright, energetic, inquisitive, funny, and full of great ideas that most of them are dying to share in their developing English. It's a pleasure to witness. It's also my job. But if I can get through seven writing assignments in a day, I'm doing really well. (And those are the days I've set aside only for reading.)

     Now that we're in the home stretch, it feels like I'm starting to get used to it a little. I don't feel quite as tired and have finally figured out how to incorporate mental/emotional hygiene activities into these very full days. It means going to bed early and waking up early enough each day to meditate and exercise before breakfast because I'm finally convinced that if I don't do those two things at the very front end of the day, they don't happen, and if they don't happen, I'm no fun to play with.
Current Mood: determineddetermined
paisleychick on November 28th, 2007 07:51 pm (UTC)
sounds like you have a lot going on, but have been able to get a grip on it. HUGS!
pbramante on November 29th, 2007 02:44 am (UTC)
Hi Beatrice,

Thanks for responding. I've been so busy and out of touch, so it's great to discover that you're still there when I finally DO surface.

I've been reading your journals and enjoying your pictures. You and Kragen are inspirational. I love you both.