January 9, 2017

First Day Back

Happy Spring Semester! Yes, it is January 9, and today is my first day back at school. Oh, how my winter break just zoomed by. It seemed like December and the Christmas holidays were such a blur. I don’t even remember celebrating Christmas. What is more, I don’t really remember the past three weeks. It seems like the days ran together and ended in one big “mush ball!” Still, I am so glad to be through that rush, and to be on the other side of all my data collection and coding. Oh my goodness, was that a major bug bear! I am simply RELIEVED to be free from that headache.

This morning came early for me. I woke up around 5 a.m. simply because I didn’t want to oversleep my “car shuttle” appointment at 7. Until I can purchase a second car for my son, I will be on carpool duty every M and W this semester. Lord willing, a new car will be forthcoming in the next month. That is my prayer, of course.

Right now, I am waiting for an invitation to join the spring orientation at ASU. I received word that my hiring paperwork is in process, and that I should have access to my online class sometime this week. I guess if they are not concerned about coming in mid-week, then I shouldn’t be concerned either. My prayer, as always, is for the Lord to cover me with this job. I really do not like to jump in without any real notice or preparation. Still, I am thankful for the job and for the money. God is good to me, and He has provided abundantly for me this year. I cannot even begin to thank Him for His goodness toward me or for the riches He has provided to help secure my way. He is good to me, so very good to me!
Getting Ready

This weekend was amazing for me. I actually completed everything on my to-do list (except for taking down the lights outside). I cannot believe that I was able to complete all of my tasks. I had some pretty major items on my list, too, and despite the crunch and panic, I actually did finish everything that needed “finishing.” This week, my task sheet looks normal, well as normal as it has been for the previous semester. I realized today that in all, I will be teaching 6 classes this semester. At first I thought that my semester was going to be too much for me, but after I sat down and actually figured it out, I see that I am not teaching any more classes than what I have done previously, and while 6 is a lot for me to do, it is not impossible for me, if that makes sense. Right now, I am thinking that what is overwhelming to me is the fact that this new job, teaching at ASU, is just new. I mean, I am comfortable with teaching at GCU, ACU, and Regent, so this extra work is simply different, and well, different is always a scary thing for me. I appreciate the opportunity to teach for this school, but the whole idea of taking on a new job, with new system, with new curriculum — just scares me. Right now, I mean. I am in this final push for my dissertation and that means that my time is so budgeted this semester. I simply worry that I will not have enough time to devote to these students, but the truth is that I actually will have the same amount of time I had last semester — so really — I am in the exact same boat as I was last fall.

When I stop and think about it, I know that this semester will be okay. I will be busy, super busy, but I will not be overwhelmed, necessarily. In some ways, I am relieved to think that I can do this work, I can teach this semester, and still move forward with my dissertation. I am so ready to finish this work, and to be free to teach full-time. I am ready to devote myself to teaching, and that means that I have to have this dissertation behind me. For example, I am online right now as part of my orientation at ASU. The faculty that who present (on campus) are talking about ways to improve student learning. I love this fact! My life is simply about teaching in the classroom, and so much of my work revolves around me doing everything. I really am looking forward to the time when I will be part of a team, working with other professionals to improve the way we all teach students. This excites me, and I see this as my next step, my next level of performance.

I guess what excites me most is the fact that I can see myself becoming a full-time faculty member in a writing program. I never really considered this as my final destination, so to speak. I never really thought I would want to focus on writing, but as time has gone on, I realize that my strength is in writing. I love to teach Literature and Communication, and for many years, I looked down on teaching composition because it seemed such an obvious discipline. But at an academic level, there is great conversation taking place that focuses on how important writing is to personal and professional development. The more I think about it, expose myself to it, the more I realize that this is a rich academic field that would allow me a place to sit, to focus, to explore, and to develop my skills as a researcher and scholar. I don’t know enough about composition, however, so that seems to be my short fall. I know about digital rhetoric and communication, and I know about the applied aspects of writing and communication. The problem is that I know little composition theory, and that is a weak area for me. I feel now that perhaps I need to revisit either studying Rhetoric (MA) or Linguistics (MA) for this purpose. Hmmm.
In Closing

As I close this blog post, I think more about my life and where the Lord seems to be leading me. Clearly, the Lord has placed it on my heart that my “fit” is in writing versus literature. I enjoy teaching literature and communication courses, but the Lord has put me in composition classes more than any other. What is more is the fact that the positions I am asked to hold always seem to revolve around composition. Furthermore, my interest in visual rhetoric and my prior experience working in Web technology has placed me smack-dab in the middle of a Digital Rhetoric revolution. I didn’t understand how our reliance on the Internet has now spread into the classroom. Studies and other interests have merged to develop new ways to incorporate technology across the curriculum. In many ways, I can see how my life, in toto, has served to bring me to this place in time. I am learning how to teach composition via multimodality, and this focus, combined with my PhD in Communication and my interest in visuality (Art, Design, and Technology) has merged. I am right where I belong.

Yes, He is good to me. He is so very good to me!

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