Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Silliness from a Braindead Tigger

I haven't blogged much since I returned from Hawaii because, between jet lag and work, I've been exhausted! Summers at college are always a bit of a nightmare in the Writing Center because it's a short session, and every student taking an English course at CSM is required to complete a weekly hour by arrangement lab assignment. When that's compacted from 16 into 6 weeks, you can imagine the crunch. The appointments are in 20 minute blocks, so by the end of a day filled from 8:00am to 2:00pm with non-stop 20 minute tutoring sessions with students, my brain is completely fried.

But it remains interesting and challenging work, because in one moment, I'm helping a student new to the United States who is taking an ESL course and has limited English; the next, I'm helping an upper level lit student explicate a poem; the next, I'm helping a freshman composition student write an essay about how racism leads some kids to join gangs. Interesting: but exhausting. I have to fire on all cylinders for 6 hours straight with only one 20 minute break, which I usually don't get because of the backlog of students on the stand-by list. I wind up wolfing down a protein bar if an appointment happens to end a few minutes early. (If it ends very early, like 10 minutes, the assistant will go grab the next person on the stand-by list and that person will be treated to a very "slap-dash" conference. That's the consequence of showing up for help if you haven't reserved a space.)

The good thing is that, once my workday is over, it's over. I at least don't have to haul papers home to grade or have to prepare lesson plans. (No, that stuff is for the fall and spring semesters.)

So, this is just a long-winded explanation for the lack of any posts of real substance lately. I'm fine; I'm not drinking; in fact, I had a student who's a recovering addict conference with me today at one point. He wanted practice essay writing before taking a few psychology classes in the fall. He was stuck trying to come up with a topic to write about. I asked him what he wanted to major in one day. He said he wanted to get his certification in drug and alcohol counseling. This, from a guy who looked like he'd seen the worst part of hell at some point and survived to tell the tale. He had long black hair streaked with gray and a mostly gray goatee. Tattoos all over him. I said, "Write me an essay about how addicts and alcoholics have predictable behaviors." His eyes totally lit up. "I can do that!" he said. And off he went, happy as a clam.

It's stuff like this that keeps me loving the work I do. Here's a short video I shot of myself today in the lab when I was having a playful moment between appointments-- it's me, hamming it up as I await my next victim (insert evil laugh here).

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