Monday, January 25, 2010

Back to work....

I do very well with deadlines, usually. Not so with this Dissertation, but that thing has taken on a life of its own, and a very challenging one at that. I turned in Chapter 3 on Friday like I was supposed to, but need to revise my Proposal AGAIN because I've changed the chronological organization of the chapters. Sheesh. But, this project will be done by May 15. Absolutely. I cannot have it hanging over my head like some giant albatross for another summer. No way, Jose.

The deadlines I am better with are the ones like today, which mark the first day of the spring semester for the college where I teach, the day after my son's 10th Birthday, and it's a Monday. So it feels like a fresh start, and it is. I had a six-week holiday break, and although I dreamt of all the many and wonderful things I could accomplish in that time, I did a whole lotta nothin.' Lesson learned: I work well with structure. Having "things to do" actually motivates me to do them. I'm a tasker, eyes on the prize. So, let the games begin!

Yesterday was a great day, though. My son turned 10 which is such a cool age to say, to be, to remember. I love throwing parties and I wanted to invite all the friends (that he wanted to invite) that has made over the past two years of living here. I rented a roller skating rink for two hours and 28 kids came. They had so much fun. In lieu of the annoying and cumbersome party bags that all the guests receive at kids' birthday parties, I had white T-shirts silk screened with a big smiley face and gave one to each child (after they finished eating). So I have a great picture of all the kids in their shirts (but it's on my mother's camera, so I'll post it tomorrow) and fun memories of all these kids smiling their way around the Rink with my son. Good stuff.

The challenge today is daunting. I already said that I have to revise my Diss Proposal, but I can actually do that in the evening after "24" is over (love that show!!). I have three classes this semester (whoo--hoo!!! pay raise!!!) and teach on two days of the week. Tomorrow I have Music Appreciation which I have nicknamed The Monster because it has 100 students in it, all levels freshman to senior. This will be my third semester teaching it, so that one runs like clockwork. I mostly just need to print various things that I've already done (syllabus, study guide, roster) so I can copy them when I get to campus. I used to teach is as a 2.5 hour evening class (which was a doozy) but now it's broken up into two-80 minutes afternoon slots. Change it good.

My Romanticism and Music class runs Thursday night. I love the material in that class. It's basically a philosophy course about the relationship between Romanticism and musical product or reflection. It's also open to music or non-music majors but upper-level only (juniors/seniors). This class always fills quickly and as I stated in the syllabus, the music spans the classical symphony to Kings of Leon, Liszt to Led Zeppelin, and Bob Dylan to Beethoven. Love it. The hardest part is getting them to write a good research paper. More on that as the semester unfolds, but I'm going to work harder to teach them to formulate their ideas better.

The hardest part this semester is the new class that I've created on my own which begins tomorrow night: "Music of the 1960s." I am so excited to teach this class and thank my boss for getting it approved. I'm going to teach it "seminar style" like I do for Romanticism: no textbook, no tests, I provide the readings (online, which is greener and cheapter) culled from various sources (most of which I have on my own bookshelves), and weekly written assignments/responses, and weekly CDs to listen to that I burned on my itunes. I've also included a record review and a biography review. And, all about the 1960s!!!! Whoo---hooo!!!!

But I haven't taught this before so the workload and organization on my right now is a bit heavy. And, I don't want to overwhelm them. The 1960s are such a CRAZY decade, and each year, it seems my lovely college students know less and less about American history, events, people, and ESPECIALLY older popular music. So, that is my task today. Get that class up and running and fun and interesting.

So, here I go again!

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