Grading and Thinking

ImageGood afternoon from the Fog and Flame,

I was supposed to be in Wisconsin as I am writing this, but another great experience on the airlines has grounded me and left me in Bloomsburg. That is not necessarily without some benefit. The change in plans and location has allowed me to manage some of my workload and has forced me (helpfully) to just concentrate on the work I need to slough through. I have finished by CBE work and I am caught up on my summer class, at least for the moment. This lowers my stress level significantly.  It will also allow me to focus upon and organize the work I need to accomplish for the remainder of the year (and I mean that literally).

This time to actually think about,  or ponder some of my work is really helpful. What I know is that I have so much on my plate from time to time (or most of the time) that I do seem to be living the phrase, “the tail wagging the dog”. The problem is the size of the tail seems to be much larger than the dog. That is a problem. It is interesting that I have been telling my students to continue to blog and use it as a way to manage their work. I find myself doing the same thing. What are those things I need to accomplish? What is the order in which I should attempt to do the infamous list? What are the priorities? If I answer those questions and arrange things,  perhaps I can get more accomplished and the “tail” will lose some of its power.

I have spent this summer again teaching writing and having my students create their own blogs. I have had them create a Google Map. It is an assignment, one that I am also doing myself (I will offer the link when I am pleased with the product) and while their is related to their memoir papers, mine is more independent of anything else, again, at least for the moment. As I have been working on it, however, it has forced me once again to think about my sense of “place”. This is not the first time I have pondered this in a blog, but yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with a college and she has me doing some reading by Andrew Light and John Dewey (yes, that John Dewey). Earlier today I had the opportunity, while sitting here and working, to speak with another colleague about the issue of writing and the teaching of writing. We pondered terms like standard versus non-standard, appropriate versus non-appropriate, and correct versus incorrect. The more I ponder this issue, the more I am aware of the disconnect that seems to be happening between teaching writing (communication) in the high schools and what we expect here at the university. This is significant on a number of levels because it affects those who might be here getting their degrees in teaching writing, it certainly affects our students, and it requires us to think about the work we see in our classes as well as how we understand our pedagogical practices.

As many of you know, I have been going back and forth to Wisconsin to visit and help my close friend, surrogate parent, and amazing neighbor, Lydia. She will be 89 years old on Monday. I wish I was there to celebrate (as 89 year old celebrations go) her day. It will be four years ago the next day, that I got on my Harley and headed here to Bloomsburg. It has been an amazing four years and I am blessed to be here. The picture here is to get me excited for where I will be in a week: Northern California.

More to think about, I guess. Thank for reading.

Michael

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