Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Spring Ends, Summer Begins

Greetings faithful blog readers,

Maybe you remember from college (or currently experience as a student or professor) the stress of the semester. It feels all consuming: the grading, prepping, tutoring, and teaching for the professors and the writing, learning, studying, and note-taking for the students.

And just like that, it ends.

I remember my last day of college: I was terrified that I would be hit by a car and that I'd never get to go out into the world with my degree. The accomplishment of finishing college is life changing. I am fortunate that I get to witness it for hundreds of people once a year. Some of them are earning bachelors and most are earning associates; many of these students will go on to continue their studies elsewhere. For the second year in my career, I wrote a recommendation letter for a student, and she won the $26,000 continuance scholarship she applied for. Every semester, I'm in awe: not just of how much their lives change but of how much they end up changing me.

This semester, 100% of my developmental students passed into 1301. 89% signed up for the subsequent 1301 course, and of those, 88% passed with a C or higher. To watch them change as writers and to watch their confidence as students grow is such a gift. In the Language Hub, 130 students came to our optional workshops with topics ranging from grammar to audience awareness to formatting. 2016-17 was an incredibly special year: winning the Teaching Excellence Award and attending Innovations in San Francisco will be hard to top. I have a feeling this year will always stand out to me.

This school year was awesome, but we were ready for it to end. We need time to refresh.

On Saturday morning, I already felt a little lighter. I woke up early and drove to San Angelo (two hours away) to meet my mom at her sister's home. Brendan decided to stay at home to work on his writing and get his interim course set up. I had an amazing day with family: lunch, manicures and pedicures, and a dinner outside complete with two sets of aunts and uncles, my two cousins, and my mom, plus a beautiful sunset.

On mother's day, I went to brunch at the Angry Cactus with my mom, aunt Lisa, and cousin McKenna (hard to believe, but she is 13 years old now!)

My mom wanted to stop in and see her mom, so we went to the cemetery and brought birdseed (my grandmother found it depressing when people brought flowers to graves). It made me sad that my mom no longer has her mom, and it made me appreciate her even more. 

Back at home, Brendan and I enjoyed the first summer patio dinner (thanks to his trip to the grocery store) and facetimed with his mom before going to bed. All the moms in our lives are amazing, and we are lucky lucky! 

On Monday, our online interim courses began. I have 16 students, and Brendan has 17. These courses last only 3 weeks. Yesterday was pretty delightful: I participated in discussion with my class, worked on my story, read for fun (Madame Bovary), read submissions for Driftwood Press, took my regular barre class, made a wonderful dinner and ate on the patio with Brendan, and we settled in to watch HBO's "Mommy Dead and Dearest" (a documentary about the Gypsy Rose Blanchard case). 

I love this summer life. And every year, I feel that it arrives just in time.

We hope you have much to look forward to as well!

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