25 January 2011

So busy!

I feel like I haven't posted anything in ages - and looking at my recent posts, I'm right! I guess that I could take it as a sign that I've been busy and that's something positive, right? Right?

Anyway, here's an update about what I've been up to:

On a professional note, I planned and taught a course as an autonomous unit, with myself as the only representative of an Italian department. The community college teaching is very different from the university scene. I don't mean to knock community colleges - I think they are a great resource and really important part of higher education. However, the motivation level fell into two categories: really motivated or really not motivated. My class started with 32 students and ended with 14, a phenomenon that my colleagues assured me was very common, especially with night courses that aren't obligatory (because I was really worried that it was something about me that was scaring the students off). Of these, it was almost evenly divided between people who were a) either returning to school after a long absence or else were extremely motivated to get into a particular university, and people who were b) killing time and trying to make their unit requirement. The students were all nice and the 14 in the final group all seemed to enjoy themselves in the class, but I can't figure out how to change my approach for next Fall.  I won't be teaching until next Fall because I've been busily growing a baby inside of me, and the community colleges can't hire people to cover classes for those weeks surrounding giving birth.

On an academic note, I can happily say that I defended my dissertation proposal in December and it was very well received by my advisor and the rest of the committee. One of the biggest accomplishments involved with this - I didn't even cry! I tend to get very emotional about academic things, and I tend to cry when I feel cornered (it's one of my least attractive qualities).  I think that defending the proposal on skype helped, because there was the whole internet in between us, and I was really vigilant in my preparations. I've taken about a month's worth of a break to recover, and am starting to think about making some progress again. Which is daunting in its own way. But let's just take this time to celebrate that first accomplishment.

On a personal note, I'm almost 36 weeks pregnant and totally ready to get this little alien life form out of my belly.  I've had what my friends have called a particularly "boring" pregnancy, because I haven't been sick at all or had any weird and abnormal cravings. I was exhausted at the beginning and am starting to be exhausted again, and can't wait to meet this little guy.

That's it for now. I know that each portion got a bit shorter and briefer, but it wasn't intentional.