Reflections

New Beginnings: Starting the Second Year

I’ve neglected the blog recently. As summer neared its end, I panicked about spending as much time as possible with our totally loveable puppy while prepping for university- and program-specific teaching orientation.

Last year, I couldn’t figure out why everyone was constantly asking me how I was adjusting, if I was overwhelmed. Taking four classes was intense but manageable for my particular work habits. I’m now taking three classes, teaching, consulting, and doing some committee work. This year, I understand why everyone was asking me how I was doing. I am overwhelmed by my color-coded calendar on a daily basis.

Luckily, my classes are awesome, and I feel more grounded in the disciplinary discourses as I enter my second year. In my Writing, Rhetoric, and Technology course we’ve started some “extracurricular” writing projects, and my group is collaborating with the This We Believe project and The Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers. In my Gender, Sexuality, and Disability class, we’ve been reading great texts within the field of feminist disability studies (FDS)—Feminist Disability Studies, Sex & Disability, and Disability & Difference in Global Contexts. FDS is a field that I’m not super familiar with, but I’m really drawn to its attention to respecting (rather than erasing) differences, examining power and privilege, and situating discussions of disability and gender into larger social contexts of race, class, religion, nationality, etc. My third class, Ancient Rhetorics, is the most challenging course I have content-wise. I have very little background in classical rhetoric, so I appreciate every class discussion we have that situates these “canonical” texts into current disciplinary trends.

The class I’m teaching is great so far, too. I’m teaching a section of Writing 105: Practices in Academic Writing—SU’s equivalent of the first-year comp course. Our course inquiry, “Reimagining the Normal,” has provided us with lots of opportunities to read interesting texts, like Ashley Judd’s Daily Beast editorial and work from disability activist Laura Hershey. I’m also consulting in the SU Writing Center this semester, working one-on-one with student writers, which is something that I always enjoy. The fact that students want to improve their writing and want to talk to someone about their ideas is so encouraging and rewarding.

I was also recently chosen as one of this year’s HASTAC scholars, which is really exciting! I’m looking forward to talking with others about rethinking our pedagogies and, hopefully, integrating technology more productively and accessibly into my teaching and tutoring practices.

So there’s a lot happening this semester, and the blog will likely reflect bits and pieces from my different classes & projects as I try situating myself within these new conversations. Here’s hoping I don’t fall off the (blogging) wagon.

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