I love what I'm doing right now, but it's no piece of cake. Here’s an example of why you haven’t heard from me all week. This was my Thursday (Feb. 9) schedule:
6:00: Wake up, shower, make bed, make lunch, feed birds, feed dog, give dog pills, decide what to wear, load schoolbag, get dressed, do hair, make-up, choose earrings (they should match), check work email, finalize story for Vanguard and email it to news editor.
7:45: Leave for work. Enjoy rush hour traffic. Visualize road rage. Breathe fumes deeply.
8:30-ish: Arrive at PSU. Enjoy snail’s pace parking lot traffic. Find a spot in Parking I level 4 or 5. Lock car. Walk to Neuberger (1 block). Climb one flight of stairs and walk another block to GA office. Hang up coat. Go through bag—leave stuff that won’t be needed until afternoon. Leave lunch. Plug in laptop. Say good morning to fellow GAs.
8:45: Climb one more flight of stairs and walk to other end of Neuberger. Enter English department office. Say hi to anyone standing around. Check mailbox. Enter boiler room (English-ese for workroom) and enjoy waiting in line for the copier. Make 22 copies of material for upcoming Writing 121 class, and hold breath that copier doesn’t break down in the middle (it doesn’t, at least not this time). Check out TV/DVD player from English dept. closet.
9:00: GA “Teaching College Writing” class, a.k.a. ENG 518. Participate actively in discussion.
9:55: Take elevator down 2 flights while carrying backpack and WR 121 case and pushing TV/DVD player and cart. Walk half the length of Neuberger to WR classroom. Enter the room and greet students. Plug in and set up DVD; this includes ignoring the threatening DO NOT UNPLUG THESE CABLES sign. Unplug said cables and hook DVD up to in-wall smart ports so that film can be shown on the movie theater-sized wall screen. Get out materials for class.
10:00: Greet students. Give quick quiz on reading. Collect reader response journals. Answer questions about next assignment. Turn out lights and show second half of Whale Rider.
10:40: Film ends. Turn lights on. Leave film score playing while students do a 10-minute free write.
10:50: Students take break. Unhook cables and restore DVD player to original configuration. Prepare lesson materials for next half of class.
10:55: Director of Writing arrives to observe second half of class. Try to look calm.
11:00: Students return. Lead guided discussion that merges Whale Rider, Louise Erdrich’s work, Joseph Campbell, The Matrix, Jungian archetypes, heroic quests, and magickal realism. Feel very happy when students respond with brilliant insights. Discuss homework assignment.
11:50: Dismiss class. Thank Director of Writing for coming. Walk back to elevator and return TV/DVD player to the English Department. Climb two flights of stairs and walk the length of the building to the GA office.
12:00: Give midterm conferences to six WR 121 students (15 minutes each).
1:30: Wolf lunch. Load everything back into schoolbag. Check homework for upcoming class and make a couple of handwritten additions.
1:45: Walk four blocks to Science Building II. Negotiate swarms of people and trucks who are on campus filming a movie.
2:00: Grad seminar class, a.k.a. ENG 507, “The American Enlightenment.” Listen to spirited discussion of Rigel's take on Ben Franklin and John Fitch (quick summary: While Franklin’s Autobiography was imperfect, it maintained a sense of hopefulness based on self-improvement and American ingenuity. Fitch hoped for somethign similar, but was his desire for power and accomplishment in the public sphere seem too obvious, and he became unable to distinguish public and private interest.) Try to stay awake in the very small, very warm room.
3:50: Class ends. Exit to SBII lobby and find an empty table.
4:00: A student from WR 121 arrives for yet another midterm conference.
4:15: Finish conference. Head for the nearby Starbucks across the street. Buy a triple shot of whatever they’ve got. Intend to read the assignment for your next class, but instead, end up talking to a fellow GA about teaching approaches.
4:30: Walk back over to SB II.
4:40: Non-fiction seminar, a.k.a., “Writing About People,” WR 552. The teacher—besides being a great professor and not hard to look at—has multiple connections to the writing world. Hence, it’s important to not only stay awake but to feign wittiness and insight.
6:30: Class ends. Walk back (5 blocks) to parking lot. Drive home.
7:00: Stop to get a Papa Murphy’s pizza. No time to cook tonight.
7:20: Arrive home. Let dog out, give dog his pill, look at mail (then add to the “later” pile), turn heater on, put pizza in oven, change clothes, play with dog, water plants, shake head at bedraggled condition of house.
7:45: Eat (pizza). Run dishwasher. Check email, respond to Grey School business.
8:30: Settle in for evening’s work. Read and correct WR 121 student midterm papers in preparation for more conferences on Friday. Do critical peer review of two midterm papers for Friday’s ENG 514 (“Contemporary Composition Theory”) class. Try to stay awake. Do cognitivist readings for ENG 514. Work on news story. Continue trying to stay awake. Spend an hour transcribing interviews for WR 552 profile/paper. Check email again. Pay a couple of bills.
11:20: Shut down computer. Organize the things that need to go to school in the morning. Plan what to wear to school tomorrow. Think about tomorrow’s lunch. Put out garbage and recycling. Check dog’s food and water. Give dog evening pill. Turn furnace off. Check doors (locked).
11:40: Get ready for bed. Wash face, brush teeth, take off makeup, take out contacts, etc.
11:50: Get into bed. Read some of paper (give up on rest). Try to read some of the next ENG 507 assignment. Fall asleep in less than 2 minutes.