Tuesday, January 23, 2007

teaching worries

this afternoon i picked up a large yellow envelope marked CONFIDENTIAL from my faculty mailbox. the return address indicated that it had been sent to me by the vice provost.

my faculty chair caught me as i was walking out of the office and remarked, motioning to the yet unopened envelope, that i was the first person to receive her teaching evaluations from last quarter.

"you did very well!" he said.

i was a little surprised since the letter said "confidential" and all, but it's logical that he--my boss--should also receive a copy of the evals.

usually, i wait until i'm in a room all by myself to open the envelope holding my teaching evaluations, but, since i'd already be pre-judged, i opened them as i was walking up the stairwell to my office.

he's right. i did well.

i'm always paranoid about evaluations, because inevitably there will be some student who will say that you are disorganized or that you talk too much or are an unfair grader or that you are a narcissist. (everyone gets those comments, right?).

these comments weren't bad. one students did remark that i say "ummmmmm" too much. hmph.

in any event, these evaluations come at a good time for me. i'm having a hard time teaching this quarter. it's a new class for me, and i have been feeling a bit like i'm floundering to make my most basic points. and i have yet to be able to fill an entire hour and a half time period (except for today, because, mercifully, i was able to show a film).

hopefully the ego boost will help. or, ummmmmmmm, maybe not.


Monday, January 15, 2007

i am rewarded for a fit of procrastination

this evening i have been obediently reading for class tomorrow, but must confess that i have taken frequent breaks. one of those breaks was to turn on the golden globe awards just within moments of américa ferrera accepting the award for best actress in a television comedy/musical.

honestly, i hadn't paid much attention to the golden globes this year. i hadn't even realized that américa had been nominated. but when i heard her name along with felicity huffman, julia louise dreyfuss, and a couple of other seasoned actresses, i just crossed my fingers and said a quick, "please, please please." and she won!

i'm thrilled for her. i think that she is a beautiful young woman and a talented actress. i love the roles that she has chosen, and i love that she is role model of intelligence and beauty for latinas and all young women within the realm of popular culture.

hooray for betty!

now back to work!


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

afternoon drama

as a single woman, when choosing a place to live, i try to be careful. i ask around for neighborhoods that are "quiet" and "safe." i want to feel at ease in my neighborhood, in the place where i make my home, even if the rent is a little more expensive. i don't want to be a woman who feels she has to sleep with one eye open, so to speak.

i felt satisfied with my choice here in southern california. i felt like i had done sufficient research about this neighborhood, which is, conveniently, within two miles of where i work. i have felt at ease here by myself.

until this afternoon. i was stopped at the intersection before the turnoff into my apartment complex and noticed a police car tearing into my parking lot. since i was on my way home, i didn't have much of a choice but to follow him.

the police car and two other unmarked police vehicles were parked within 500 yards of my parking space. i saw one cop pull on his bullet proof vest and the other two hovering around the corner of one of the buildings in my complex. as i got out of my car and headed to my apartment--which was, thankfully, in the opposite direction--i turned around and noticed the officer with his hand on his holster, peering around the corner of the apartment.

i rushed into my apartment and deadbolted the door, curled up on my couch, and talked to joseph (we'd been talking on the phone throughout this whole ordeal). after a while, i ventured out onto my balcony and saw one of the police officers take his vest off, get in his SUV, and leave.

i let out a sigh of relief and returned to the comfort of my solitary and safe couch.


Thursday, January 04, 2007


i didn't really make any new year's resolutions this year. of course, along with the rest of america, i vowed to eat better and exercise more. i identified some other things that i have to do to move further along in my professional career, but i'm not sure if those are "resolutions," or just things that i have to do to keep my job!

a few weeks ago, i came across this blogsite. i'm not a photographer (my dad holds that honor in our family), but i do like to document events in my life. i've kept a journal religiously since i was sixteen years old. i've kept this blog--not as religiously--partially to document my thoughts over a period of time. project 365 seems like a natural extension of this instinct to document parts of my life. this time through pictures.

i am now obediently carrying my camera around wherever i go just in case a kodak moment presents itself. aside from my obvious limitations as a photographer, i have encountered two major problems. the first is that i find that i am shy to take pictures of people, in front of people, etc. the second problem is subject matter! what is photographically relevant? since i still don't have much of a social network here (read: very few friends), i find myself searching for inaminate objects to photograph. i wonder if that will become boring after a while. i wonder if it already is! but they are supposedly representative of some aspect of my life...

in any event, i've been posting pictures on flickr every day so far (only five days, i know!). it'll be interesting to see what pictures emerge over the next several weeks.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

new quarter

after a very restful and rejuvenating christmas break in bakersfield, today i found myself scrambling to prepare for the new quarter.

i suppose it's a good thing i didn't resolve not to procrastinate this year!

i'm nervous because i'll be teaching a new course this quarter. when i was at texas, i taught the same two courses over and over again. they were lower division courses that weren't necessarily the first choices for faculty members to teach. as a grad student and then as a lecturer, i was happy to teach them, and, after some time, i think that i got pretty good at teaching them. i had all my materials assembled, my lectures ready, all of which i updated as needed.

last quarter, my chair allowed me to teach one of the courses that i had taught so many times at texas. it was his way of helping me transition to my new university.

but now i find myself in the middle of something new. i'm excited to teach a different course, but i find that i'm not nearly as confident as i had been over the past few years. surely part of this nervousness stems from the fact that i'll have to write completely new lectures this quarter even as i gather new materials for instruction.

another, more familiar, part of my anxiety is becoming accustomed to a new group of students. i always worry that they'll be unfriendly, which seems like a silly worry, especially since i am, after all, their teacher. they should be worried that i'll be unfriendly, right?

in any event, tomorrow is the first day of school. wish me luck.