- I really will be rebooting the blog soon. It will be a New Year's resolution; I've had a lot of success with those in the past.
- Today at church, one of Henry's Sunday School teachers told me that during their little birthday party (for Jesus), they'd given the children gingerbread cookies. Henry took his over to the nativity scene and put it in the manger. I relay this anecdote simply because it is SUCH a Henry thing to do. He is ALWAYS stashing food in little cups and boxes, even shoes. It's cute, but yeesh.
- I'm almost finished with my syllabus for next semester. I'm teaching English 501, a.k.a. the T.A./pedagogy course. The last time I taught it, I had a pretty good setup going; each week we'd focus on one particular approach: process/post-process, cognitive theory, critical pedagogy, collaborative learning, etc. But now I've switched books; before, I used Cross-Talk and the Guide. Now I'm using only the Norton. I love the other books, but we decided to make the Norton a central text for our comprehensive exam reading list for rhetoric and composition, and I like for my 501 course to be not only a good preparatory course for teaching writing but also a solid survey that will prepare students (who choose to major or minor in rhet-comp) for our exam. The challenge, then, has been twofold: first, I want to keep a similar organization in which we focus each week on a certain type of pedagogy, which -- while still doable -- is not quite as easy with the new book. I think the weekly theme was helpful for the students, and I got a pretty positive response to my syllabus on the Writing Program Administrators listserv. Second, of course, is the fact that I'm due to give birth on March 26, so I'll have to compress a lot of material into not as much time. I've decided to devote the last few weeks of the class to field work; students will go and observe meetings of writing classes and keep a journal about the experience. I feel strongly that observations need to be a part of this course, as most students have not taught before, and this semester it makes sense to have the observations in the last few weeks.
- On a somewhat related note, I have a confession to make. I have now been teaching writing and studying composition theory for just over ten years. Over the years, I have come to realize that I have no strong opinion one way or another about How Writing Should Be Taught. I honestly think that students can learn useful skills in an expressivist course, a rhetoric-heavy course, a writing-about-literature course, a current-traditional course, a cultural studies based course, etc. I can't decide if this makes me a terrible writing program administrator or an excellent one.
- Wait, I'm going to be having a baby girl in three months? SRSLY? I feel so unprepared, even though we have everything we need and more. So much is a wild card, though: will her crying interfere with Henry's sleep? Will he be extremely jealous? How will she sleep? Will she be breech like her brother? Will I have to have another c-section? WHO KNOWS...