No Fancy Name
Sunday, September 17, 2006
sunday plans and other random bullets of crap
* I'm taking a stack of student essays to a coffeeshop. That's right, I'm going to grade in a coffeeshop like one of the big kids.

* My comp class is modes-based, and now we're doing description (narration was first). The essay for this mode will be an in-class essay on the 25th. Their in-class writing exercises for the next two class periods will lay the groundwork for their in-class essay. I figured doing this would be a good idea for the first official in-class essay (there are three total plus the final, and three more out-of-class essays), since their biggest problem seems to be getting started. I have a few people who take a really long time to get going, and then they run out of time at the end and end up with a short essay not fully formed. The text they end up writing is mechanically sound, it just takes awhile for them to get to it. My thought for this essay is to have a couple in-class assignments that are essentially essay prompts, but the assignment is simply to pre-write in whatever way gets them a thesis statement and an outline for what they would write if it were an actual essay prompt. For the actual essay, I was going to give them a choice of prompts, drawn from the ones they had already worked with in class. Too nice?

* Must re-read a bunch of stuff for my study group meeting on Monday. We're into the 17th C/early 18th C now! We started with the Iliad and have gone linearly through the list. So, the early 18th C is an accomplishment. On Monday we're discussing Milton, Congreve, and Pope, plus Biblical things with which we should be familiar. We're ramping up our schedule to go to twice-weekly meetings beginning next week, so we can finish the reading for Part I of the exam by Sept 30. Then we'll have twice-weekly meetings for all of October to handle the 19th & 20th C. I'm strong on all things Romantic through WWI in both British and American camps, and the others in our group are strong in 20th C poetry, but none of us were strong on anything pre-19thC. In other words, eight study sessions for Part II of the comps will be just fine. We're all still terribly anxious about it, but less so.

* Had a great meeting yesterday with two of the profs who hold my future in their hands (they happen to be married to each other, but have different last names. Very handy for rec letters). The "thesis talk" went something like this: "what is your plan?" ... "I plan to take the paper I wrote for your class, multiply its length by 4, and add a sizable chunk on Thoreau." ... "good, that's what I thought you were going to do." ... "ok then." Then we talked about the second reader, and how crappy it is that the other prof in the room can't officially be a second reader. So, this week I have to write my thesis proposal draft and send it along to him, then talk to the potential second reader, then wait for it to get approved by the entire committee, blah blah blah. You can bet I'll start the actual work on it the moment comps are over in mid-November. Although the thesis credits are for next semester, the entire thing has to be complete by the first week of April—way before the end of the semester. I'm not worried about it. I just have to work in a trip to Yosemite in the next six months. I can't write a thesis about John Muir, the quintessential transcendental naturalist writer, without ever seeing Yosemite. That would be incredibly lame.

* I need coffee. Bye.



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