One of the side effects of actually caring about teaching is that when I come across something that I think will be useful for my students, I really want to implement it NOW. But combine this with a full plate of research, service and (an attempt at) a personal life, and there simply are times when I have to accept that what I am already doing is 'good enough' and I need to wait until next time around to add in whatever it is I want to do. I'm struggling with this right now because I've been working what feels like around the clock for the last couple weeks and I know I need to let some things go. But I also recently picked up Joseph Williams' Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace and it has me wanting to completely re-vamp my writing class. This is an amazing little book! One of the things I really struggle with in teaching a writing class is that even when students can see that something they have written is not all that clear, I don't know how to help them learn to re-write it so that it is clearer. That is, I can re-write it FOR them, and they can usually see that the new sentence is clearer, but other than a few general guidelines (like 'try to avoid using the passive voice so much'), I don't know how to explain very well how to write more clearly. But that is exactly what Williams does in this book. I'm sure I'll be writing more about this in the future; my point right now is that we are in the eleventh week of the semester and I'm wishing I could go back and start the semester over again so I could go through this book with my students before I ever ask them to write anything else, but since I can't do that, I've been trying to figure out if I can still have them read and implement at least parts of it. And tonight, it occurred to me that I simply can't justify spending a bunch of time prepping all this new stuff at this point in the semester, not when I have a conference in Minnesota, three AEA sessions to find discussants for, two gigs with my singing group, and my sister's bridal shower all in the next week and a half, not to mention three referee reports that are all past due (at least I got my taxes done yesterday - whew!).
So I think I'm writing this to assuage my guilt, to convince myself that what I'm already doing for my class is 'good enough'. I know that if I don't take care of myself, I'm no good to anyone else, yadda yadda yadda, and I probably should be proud of myself for setting some limits, but as a chronic over-achiever, I guess I needed to say that this kind of sucks.
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