So, it's Friday. My favourite day, these days. I woke up in a happy mood for the first time in a loooong while. This bodes well!
Why am I feeling happy, despite the fact that it is Bad Cramp Time?
Why, it's certainly because the insane overwork is starting to come to an end. I have one more push over the next couple of weeks, but I no longer have multiple hugenesses on the go at the same time.
And yesterday I had the first meeting of my little program committee - you know, the little group of folks who are advising me through the process of growing this program. I brought to them fully fleshed proposals for two new courses to go to the university curriculum committees - one at the second-year level and one at the third. These are my attempts to teach theoretical courses without stepping on the existing Theory course. They are both on particular topics, but they are theory courses, without being named as such. The committee loved the courses, and I am so pleased. They also confirmed that there is likely nobody who will contest them as horning in on their territory. One of the members of the little committee also had a great idea: teach a general theory course at the second-year level! Yes!! This is what I should be doing! This won't step on the toes of the existing upper-level theory course (one would hope!) and I can make it a requirement, like I wanted to. It will just involve rethinking the course a little, but that's certainly doable. So, yes - I am satisfied with this piece of the puzzle.
Also, my teaching is going so well. Who'd have thought I'd love my first-year course so much? They just amaze me - they are so engaged. Even on topics that I don't expect to be taken with much enthusiasm, like yesterday's. And I have a number of them expressing interest in taking the minor in the field, or a major when it's available. This is wonderful - I am building momentum, and it's so heartening. My upper-level course was a dream yesterday, too.
Have I mentioned that I have four weeks in Home City to look forward to? I had an exam scheduled in my first-year course (of course) but I have to admit that I was not looking forward to the possibility of it being scheduled toward the end of the exam period in December - which would mean I'd be hanging around Scary City for weeks, just waiting for this exam, when I could be in Home City. So my Chair suggested that I turn it into a take-home exam, an option of which the students were almost unanimously supportive when I took a vote. (The only thing about this is that designing a good take-home is VERY hard, I think.) So I am leaving on December 8, and will be HOME for a whole month. That is helping push me through the next weeks. I shall see my puppy! And R of course - but I talk to R every day. My puppy!!
So my final push is to write a conference paper. I want to get most of it written this weekend - ahem. It's for a conference in two weeks. When I pulled the panel together in the spring, I wrote an abstract that I just pulled out of thin air. Now I have to go and write that randomly conceived paper (which does, after all, fit with my larger project). Oy. I couldn't even remember what I'd written. But when I went back and looked at the abstract, I saw that it could function nicely as an introduction to the paper. Yes! There's 1/12 of my paper written! :)
So, plans for the weekend:
- Write a minimum of 60% of my conference paper
- Write abstract for Congress paper, which will be on a panel that's a reprise of this year's Congress panel, with M and C
- Mark critical reading responses for both classes
- Prepare as best I can for thing on Tuesday, at which I am being a respondent/discussant at talk by visiting artist