Sunday, August 10, 2008

Halfway in

I've had a week now to recover from the departure of my summer's colleagues, the wonderful students that made up my REU team for the past eight weeks. The last of them took flight almost exactly a week ago this moment, winging her way back to New York last Sunday afternoon.

I miss them. They're great students, smart colleagues, and close friends. I look forward to seeing them at conferences, working with them on papers, growing up and learning by their sides.

For now they're gone, but the work continues: with two of them (those with whom I worked most closely with) I've already exchanged write-ups, graphs, ideas...yes, work continues.

But the cycle's begun anew: I arrived at my office at 7:15 this morning to find a note left on my door by two of my favorite students from last year, informing me that they're back (for RA duties, no doubt) and were surprised that they'd missed me. They were operating under the (not-all-that-erroneous) assumption that I'm never more than a hundred yards or so away from my office.

I spent this morning helping first-year students move in. For three hours I shuttled luggage carts back and forth between parents' cars and dorm rooms, schlepping all manner of stuff into Mills Hall. Fully laden one way, emptied out on return, several trips for several students. One's a budding music major, another's contemplating environmental science. A few are undecided: biology? History? "I think I want to teach."

"Math?"

"No! I'm not really good at math."

"That's what everyone says until they find out it's not true," I assured her.

It was refreshing, revitalizing. Its sense of newness and rebirth stood in contrast to the moving out my REU students did the weekend before.

My move into Johnson-MacFarlane Hall at the University of Denver 15 years (!) ago was nothing like this: my dad parked his truck in the middle of the phalanx of vehicles that lines that lined High Street for a block in either direction, and as soon as the dorm's outside doors were unlocked students and parents descended on the dorm like sharks in a frenzy. It was chaotic. There were no faculty or staff helping people to move in, there wasn't even anyone to direct activities or answer simple questions (where's the bathroom? Is the dining hall open? Where's the nearest ATM?)...that day I saw my RA cry for the first of what would be many times that year. (She was a gentle soul and didn't deserve some of the folks who lived on our floor.)

This coming week will see me getting the first few days of my two classes ready. I've read through the first few chapters of the text I'll be using for Abstract Algebra, and I've brainstormed a few opening exercises for that course, but I've yet to commit anything to paper. Tomorrow I'm meeting with one of my colleagues who's taught Precalc a number of times, and I'm hoping he can then give me a rundown on the topics I should be sure to address during the next fifteen weeks.

I've also got to get some more work done on the presentation on the writing program I'll be making at the Carolinas Writing Program Administrators conference in a month or so. Lulabelle and I met late last week to discuss that issue, but we spent most of our meeting chatting and going over the draft of my math poetry paper and syllabi.

Much work to be done, I just don't feel like doing it right now.

Time's running out, though...not long before classes start, and then where will I be?

Argh.

Okay, I'm off...I feel like I've got a lot to say, but so few words with which to say it. I've got to gather them together and compose my self before I can make any more sense.

1 comment:

Maughta said...

Somewhere in there you're fitting in a trip to the beach!