After the boys of summer have gone/looking to the school year ahead

Benninghoff and I played what is likely our last round of weekday golf yesterday out at Pierce Lake. A couple of the EMU folks who I play with once in a while were already too busy, and Bill HD and his colleagues at Michigan State started last week, so Friday’s long round– which included the classic golf lunch of a hot dog with chips and beers at the ‘hoff’s house afterwords– seemed more than a moment of closure; it kind of seemed like we had pushed it one step too far.

Ah yes, and as a child of the 70’s/80’s, I of course have this running through my head:

Anyway, on to work for the school year– or rather, back to work since I did teach in the summer term too, sort of.

There are some interesting changes coming up for me. For starters, this will be the first year in four or five years in which I will actually not have some sort of quasi-administrative duty. Between my quasi-sabbatical and my year of interim WPA-ing before that, I have taught a total of four classes in the last two years (not counting spring and summer); this year, I’ll teach 3 and 3. I’m looking forward to it because I’m retooling English 328 a bit, I’m taking my first whack at the graduate Rhetoric of Science and Technology course, and I’m not really doing much of anything in terms of administrative/service work. Well, comparatively speaking. I’m still on the department’s personnel committee, I am going to help maintain the writing program web site, etc., etc. But the theory that I am going to be testing in my own mind this school year is trying to figure out what is “more work,” just teaching or teaching a bit less and doing quasi-administrative things too? My theory right now is that “just teaching” will be less work; we’ll see.

Other items/resolutions for the new school year:

  • Take my own damn advice and at least “touch” the book project every work day. I read Deb Hawhee’s post reflecting on her first sabbatical with some interest the other day because I have come to the conclusion that a) I sabbaticalled quite poorly, and b) a sabbatical just might not be for me. I don’t know, but I am afraid that I might be the kind of person where I just get a lot more done the more demands from other things I have on my time, so the time/freedom of a sabbatical is too much rope for me to hang myself with. Get back to me in about seven years on this though; by then, I might actually be able to afford to take a full year. In any event, I have actually been able to take my own advice on the BAWS project as of late; hopefully I can keep it up.
  • Do not twist and turn my schedule too much just to attend a meeting, and do not go to my office on Tuesdays and Thursdays for any reason whatsoever. This is part of letting go of that “I must be involved in everything” feeling, but it is also because of my station/lot in life right now. Without going into a lot of detail about it right now, I guess I’ve decided that at this point in my career at EMU, I don’t think I need to bend-over backwards in terms of the rest of my life’s schedule to attend some meeting.
  • Get to the gym, get in better shape, lose some weight. The “get to the gym” part has gotten considerably easier to do since Annette and I joined the Health and Fitness Center at WCC. It costs too much money, but the nice thing about the expense is that the facilities are fantastic, which makes going there a lot more pleasant, and it’s too expensive to not use, which raises my motivation to go there so as to not waste too much money. I have a particular weight loss goal for the term in my mind, but I am not going to reveal any of the details of it here, of course. If I accomplish it, I’ll post about that.
  • Take these things called “weekends.” When Annette and I were in our PhD programs, we pretty much worked every day. That was a good thing to get us through in a rapid fashion, but I still haven’t really gotten out of the work every day habit. Sometimes, it’s awfully hard to determine and define what is “work” and what is something “not work” that I would just do– reading Jill Walker Retteberg’s new book Blogging is a good example. But generally speaking, I am going to strive to save Saturdays and Sundays for doing stuff around the house, hanging with the fam’, maybe golfing a few times more while the weather holds, reading, and not doing clearly work things like grading, responding to student emails, prepping for class, etc. We’ll see how it goes.

Speaking of which: now I am off to the gym and then I’m going to work on getting my grad class together since yesterday’s golf counted as a weekend day for me….

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