Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Class Projects, End of the Semester December 11, 2015

Filed under: Academic,Family Life,Fourth Baby — leighj @ 12:01 pm

I’m chained to my desk these days. It’s not so bad, as I have good natural light and a view of the golf course, if I really want it. It was pretty bad the other day when facilities was drilling through some kind of solid concrete in the room directly above me. I feel sorry for the batch of papers I was grading at that time. The end of the semester is always a really hard time of year because everyone is so stressed out–students, other faculty, people ready for a vacation. However, it also is a good reminder that it all ebbs and flows and some things that are hard now won’t be so hard in a few days or months, and a few things that  you let go now might come back to bit you in the future.

My students in EN 101 presented the Clothesline Project to the campus community. It’s a program that displays t-shirts to raise awareness about domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of violence against women. They did a great job of making the project their own, picking where to display it, and creating new shirts to add to the display. They planned brochures, fliers, and what they would say to members of the community who stopped by with questions or comments. I’ve done this project before with my Gender and Society class, but this is the first time I’ve entrusted it to first-year students. And entrusted is what I mean. I think it’s really important for me to be here as a resource, but to largely leave the execution of this project up to my students’ discretion. They work really hard when given choices about how to do this work.

I’m really looking forward to the break between semesters, but that also highlights how fast everything is moving. Baby boy four will be here in March, and by the time I get back from the conference in Austin, that will only be 2.5 months away! Also, I still have to work on my paper for the conference, finish the grading for the semester, plan next semester’s classes (and I’m not responsible for just my own, but for the entire composition program!), and get the house in order for being inhabited by all of us for two weeks.

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