Thursday, March 31, 2005

last minute paper writing... and I feel fine (ish)

I tell my students not to do it, and yet here I am. Up this morning trying to write a conference paper for a panel presentation I'm giving tomorrow morning (!). Finding time to write this thing had been nearly impossible. I stay so busy during the weeks I'm teaching, and find myself so burnt out and exhausted during the weekend I'm able to do fairly little. I graded a lot over break, but also slacked off quite a bit, so got no work done on the paper. Every day this week has been a constant rush of trying to finish things up. Search committee stuff. Grading stuff. All manner of little things that seem to have piled up.

This may all change, but this morning I'm feeling pretty non-plussed about the paper. It is a panel on teaching, after all, and as I started taking some notes from my sources and filling in a few other ideas, I realize how much I already have to talk about. I only need to speak for 10 minutes, formally. I do that all the time, don't I? I've drafted short lectures to give to students in far less time than 24 hours.

So all I need to do is say a few things about other approaches for teaching what I taught, give a few choice reasons why many folks hesitate to do what I did, and then just describe the class's progression and insert a few choice anecdotes along the way. The students I'm brining with me (to present their final papers from the class) will do the rest. And I feel perfectly fine moderating the conversation we hope will ensue afterwards.

I really need to chill out about all of this. The stress level I've been experiencing this week (ha! all semester, all year, really!) is just insane. The stress at trying to make myself useful so I'd still have a job next year (my position was officially just a one-year job) led me to take on FAR too many other things I probably didn't need to: volunteering for all sorts of committees, judging a contest, helping out in honors interviews, giving presentations at festivals, deciding I must go to this conference (since it's local) and take students, etc., etc. I got my contract (for next year) yesterday, but I think all my panic was very unwarranted. I'm still up to my neck in teaching and all the additional things I've volunteered to take on. I have a hard time hearing myself think... but that's exactly what I need to get back to now.

Whoo. Self pep-talk and venting over. Back to work, z., you slacker.

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