Monday, March 12, 2007

this little migrained mind

The weather has turned suddenly and become really beautiful, sunny and warm and hot even. All my neighbors are loving it. They are outside sun bathing, watering plants, listening to Brazilian music, drinking ice tea. Yesterday, I was laying in the shade of our tree grading papers.
And while most of the time this change in weather is welcome after the coldness of winter... quick weather changes are not good for those of us who suffer from migraines.
The first one hit on Sat and then another one came on Monday, and yet again today. It is extremely hard to work in these conditions: with a headache and with half of your vision all f$%#ed up because of little flashes of light or the official medical term "aura." Anyhow, as you can imagine it is miserable, and it was tough getting working this week.

Today, class went just stunningly. I presented a mini-lecture on Modernism and some of LeCorbusier's potential inspirations. And then instead of going over L's design of a City for Three Million Inhabitants - I threw it over to the students. We wrote on the board characteristics of the design that they remembered from their reading, and then had them work in pairs to fill in the gaps from our list, by accessing the text itself.

I had then written up a set of discussion questions to promote analysis - ranging from the significance of certain specific parts of L's design, to its probability, and finally ended up asking as a last question for them to come up with questions that they would ask LeCorbusier if he were in the room. The last question, of course, requires a bit of an imagination and it was difficult for most of them... but I got a couple of good ones. All in all, I'm finally reaching the level of participation in class that I would desire. I think they are getting more comfortable with me as an instructor...
while prepping for class I spent some time on this site, it helped me get some ideas about how to lead a successful discussion. You know, even though I feel like I knew almost everything that these tips told me, it was really important to be reminded. Sometimes I think as an instructor we start to get lazy and fall into certain patterns. Reading these articles about pedagogy just reinvigorated my feelings about teaching - and gave me some good ideas to work from.

Today, JD cancelled her class again (of which I am TA). Yesterday we met at a coffee place to work together and she confided in me about a lot of crap that she is going through at home and the stress she is feeling as a first year prof. I completely sympathize for her. This s$%t is hard. And you really have to be on top of things all the time. There is no time for migraines, or feeling depressed, having family issues...
However, I think I probably respond differently then JD. I mean, I can't honestly say for sure because I have not had a professorship yet. But somehow - you have to balance your life. Even if that means not having the most perfect lecture prepared... or having to wing it a little bit in class. When husband comes home from work, most of the time I stop whatever it is I am doing and try and enjoy the other part of my life.
I am guessing that because of my dedication to my home life - my future career position will reflect that I haven't made all necessary sacrifices. I might not get top placement. But ultimately, I can't say that I mind too much. I need balance in my life and I would never want to focus everything on my career.

So this has been kind of a rant I guess. It's been a while since I posted so - there you have it - the things that are taking place in this little migrained mind.
On the agenda for tonight is: more grading, writing up grant inquiry letter, and preparing package for dissertation fellowship...

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