Wednesday, August 21

fall semester, 2013

the way a semester looks from the beginning is not what it looks like from any middle or end or many-months-later vantage point. somewhat amazingly, I have seven of these new semester write-ups to go back and look at now--two from my last year as an undergraduate (the first more comprehensive than the second) and five in a row from my career at Tech. if you'll indulge my time traveling for a moment, I kind of want to look back at some of those forward-looking moments. what was I thinking? was I right? what changed? did any of it matter?

last spring, I was definitely right about how much those three courses overlapped. although perhaps it was that attitude that made the connections all the more palpable. my anticipations regarding assignments and other details shifted of course, as they always must. there were group projects and presentations and last-minute crazinesses all along the way. I miss it back there, sometimes. Purdue is quite marvelous, but I'm new to it, so I can't quite grasp all the marvelous yet.

for the semester before that one, last year, I just realized that I didn't include the internship credit I worked on. ah well. (for Dr. Hawkins, I wrote up my experience at the Press and sent my copyright project in for her review. nothing huge.) Argumentation Theory and Rhetorical Theory last fall both drowned me in questions about where this field has come from and why and how. the questions (the very same questions) will never go away, I don't think. they are questions I have more experience with now, at least.

the year before that I had a few summer adventures and a spring semester full of new, surprising stuff like TEI, semiotics, and paper-making. I took my first online class that spring. at the bottom of it all, there was a fairly strenuous first-time-as-a-grad-student. among all these seemingly discrete chunks of educational time, there have been classes I loved more and some I loved less, professors I got more attached to and others who intimidated me, colleagues I worked with often and some I wished I could've worked with more, and theorists I loved and some I still need to figure out.  

so how does fall semester 2013 look from here, just a few days in?
this is Heavilon Hall, a significant epicenter of my new life. I'm teaching English 106: Introductory Composition. it's different, having one little score of students to meet with three days a week in class, the other two days in conferences. I'm still getting used to the rhythm and pace of it. I think we'll have fun, though.

classes in which I am a student:

English 505 practicum with Dr. Thomas Rickert
this is where all the first-years in the program get to share their teaching woes and learn from each other. we've had a whole week of planning and preparation and now almost a whole week of seeing what it's like in this world. there is going to be lots of bonding. we've already named our cohort using a very clever acronym made from the first letters of our names (trend?): we are The Pasta Jets. don't laugh. deep down you know it'd make an undeniably awesome name for a band. if the PhD thing doesn't work out for us, maybe we'll start one.

English 591 Composition Theory with Dr. Jenny Bay
there is going to be so much reading for 591. friend Kristen warned me that my eyes would bleed. so far it's great stuff though. foundational. important. thought-provoking. it's looking back, in a way, like I did during the first half of this post--what were we thinking back at the beginning of composition studies? were we right? what else can we do with those thoughts? how might they require reshaping? today we'll get to meet Dr. Janice Lauer, who founded the program we're all studying in now. we may take her to the coffeeshop for a chat afterwards, just for fun.

English 680-001 Digital Studio with Dr. Nate Johnson
this tuesday night class comes after a long, long tuesday morning and afternoon, but it's going to be so worth it. our first day, we downloaded this simple little trick to start setting up our own server space. what does that even mean? all I know about servers is that they make the internet work and my genius brother used to have one under his bed. other things I'm going to learn more about here: databases, CakePHP, and bunches on the rhetorical implications of categorization/standardization/coding/etc. way excited.

English 680-003 Institutional Rhetorics with Dr. Patricia Sullivan
some of the readings for this class overlap with Digital Studio's booklist. that's interesting, eh? institutions are everywhere. they make everything on the planet work, in some fashion. who knows where this class will take us? the questions yesterday morning circled around listing institutions and mapping their components along scales of visibility/invisibility, fluidity/solidness, inherited values/idealized values, and other miscellaneous thoughts. the book/article list for Institutional will also make my eyes bleed. pray that I don't go blind.

I was just pondering whether it's harder to be a teacher or a student. they are differently hard... but I think I make a better student. both roles are teaching me something though. and I am going to learn.

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