I've been in Corpus Christi for almost eight weeks at this point, but next week begins week 6 of the semester, and that's the funny thing about getting into the grind of the semester--in some ways, you start running on autopilot, which lets your brain finally start focusing on other things, particularly when you get home on Friday, like how you can't just jump in the car and make the quick journey home to see the fam.
Kentucky for Kentucky has a great print with a quote from Happy Chandler that says "I never met a Kentuckian who wasn't either thinking about going home or actually going home." And while I do generally like Texas (apart from trying to drive in traffic down here), and I'm making new friends, I am desperately sick for home.
It really wasn't so bad when we were living in Tennessee, because again, a jump in the car on Friday, and in four or five hours (depending on who was driving), we were back in God's own country and with family.
This is the longest I've ever been away from home. And it's going to be Christmas before we get back. Dear Husband has a bit more experience with it, having spent six months surveying in New Mexico (without me, even), and I am so blessed to have him with me here. But I still find myself wishing for hills and green grass and for Jeopardy to come on at 7:30 like it's supposed to!
I think part of the homesickness has also been a realization that some of my teaching is going to have to fundamentally change. I'm dealing with a different level of preparation for college than I ever have before, and in some ways, I feel like I've been doing a lot of things wrong because I've been taking things for granted that I shouldn't have. I've had to explain to all five of my classes--Composition I, II and American Lit--the difference between a summary and a response.
On top of that, I've been reminded, once again, there are some students you simply cannot help. You can get as many resources available, but if they don't want help, you can't make them get it. On the other hand, there are also victories when you have a student who you can help and you do.
I ordered my books for next semester, and I've got a new appreciation for trying to order books and keeping the costs down for students, and I've decided that handbooks need to go the way of the dinosaur. There's nothing in a handbook anymore that students can't find online for free, mostly through the resources of very excellent university and college writing centers. So for one class, I've ordered it as recommended, but I won't be assigning any readings out of it. I'll simply be supplementing from online, and for my 1302 classes, I haven't ordered one at all. It's not that my students don't have grammatical problems--they do--but I think there are far more effective ways to teach grammar than handbooks. I think the Grammar Girl podcasts will be helpful too.
So the week has been up and down, but I'm hoping that things will look up. In the meantime, I'm going to start counting down until Christmas and charging my brothers with installing Skype on my mom's computer. Even though my laptop is currently broken, I have it on my phone, and I'd like to at least see some people's faces.