Dear Husband is here! He, Youngest Brother, Buttermilk and Father-in-Law all got here on Saturday, to my great joy with all of our things, and our house is beginning to look like a home. With DH here, it's beginning to feel like a home, too. And I cannot even begin to express what a help our family was (and I cannot leave out Eldest Brother, either, who drove Youngest Brother and Buttermilk down to Tennessee and helped load the truck or Mother-in-Law, who helped DH finish packing the house).
So now, to quote Maureen O'Hara in The Quiet Man, my things are about me, DH is sitting back on the couch reading at the moment, taking a well deserved break, and I'm updating my blog. And even Bergie is starting to emerge. I think once furniture came in and DH arrived, he realized that we might be staying here a while and he wasn't going to have to go back in the car again. That has not stopped midnight yowling (I think he's getting lost in the house again).
And today, we are getting things taken care of here at the house. The dryer hookup is now working, smoke detectors have been installed, the window that needed replaced is being fixed right now, and we are going to go get a clothes rod for the closet later, as well as some new pegs for the bookshelves and clamps for the dryer vent. In the meantime, we've been unloading books on to bookshelves that have pegs, and we may go out to the beach this afternoon now that the weather has cleared up.
But life is good! Classes are going well. I'm especially enjoying my American Literature class right now, and our day exploring Anne Bradstreet's poetry went very well this week. My students really enjoyed Bradstreet's poem on Queen Elizabeth. I've taught my poetry explication lesson three times in the last few weeks, though not with "Bohemian Rhapsody" the way I normally would in a typical literature survey, but it's seemed to have gone over well. My 1301 students are finishing up their resume and cover letter assignments this week and rolling right into their review assignments; they'll even be reading some of the book reviews I've posted to this blog in the past. I fully expect some of them to poke around the blog as a whole a bit, particularly since we're going to be talking about blogging as a genre of writing this week too. (Hi, students!)
My 1302 classes are going to be writing about identity for their first paper, which I'm also introducing this week, and I'm excited to be working on poetry with them next week too. We'll be reading Whitman, Gwendolen Brooks, T.S. Eliot, Adrienne Rich, and a poem that's one of my new favorites, Maya Angelou's "Phenomenal Woman." I'd actually never read the poem until a friend linked it after Angelou died a few months ago, but it's such a wonderful poem, and when I first conceived of this assignment, I knew I had to use it, so I'm supplementing the book with the poem.
Our department has added two new committees this semester, so I've signed up for one to begin my institutional service to the college. The Departmental Development Committee is designed to put together department colloquia, professional development, oversee travel funds, as well as put together social events, etc. It's an opportunity I'm really interested in. One thing I really learned to appreciate at MTSU was the wide variety of professional development seminars that the department offered. It was always a good way to glean new ideas for classes and a way to help keep up with new research, particularly in teaching composition, which is really important if your area of expertise is more literature-based than composition and rhetoric-based. It's not the only committee I'm a part of--people who teach 1301 and 1302 are automatically on the 1301/1302 committee, and the same goes for the sophomore lit committee (which is almost everyone in the department for both, I think), but the development committee is one that I've signed up to take a really active role in. I've offered my services to take an active role in the 1301/1302 committee too, though, particularly as we approach the 1302 assessment, as I'm familiar with the 1020 assessment process that MTSU goes through every year.
I'm already going to be signing up for classes next week! I meet with our asst. dept. chair on Wednesday to sign up for spring 2015 classes. I do know that next fall, I'll be teaching Mexican-American literature, as I've been put on rotation for that, which I'm very excited about. I think it will be a really awesome learning experience. SV is teaching it this spring, and I'm going to ask her if I might sit in on her class once in a while this spring, just to get an idea of how she teaches it.
I am making some friends among my colleagues. KR invited me and DH to church with her family, and we will likely be taking her up on that offer, as she is also Episcopalian. I've continued to find the atmosphere in my department very collegial, and I can't tell you how very patient everyone has been helping me adjust. I can't tell you how many times a week I pop my head into the office next door to ask a question, and after our department meeting yesterday morning, KR had to explain some Texas state laws that mean I have to have my vita online for students to check out. And I still need to ask the developmental education coordinator, to explain to me how dev ed works in Texas!
So there's lots left that I need to learn, and that's making things challenging here and there, but I feel like things are starting to pull together. Having Labor Day off put me a bit behind, but I've caught up, and having DH here makes everything better. Full-time academia is an adjustment, for sure, but I feel like I'm getting into the swing of things.