As part of a call put out for a “Day of Higher Education,” and as a response to recent claims that professors don’t work (or some nonsense like that) I am blogging about what I’m up to. It’s, just by coincidence, a hectic day, and I don’t even teach today. For more information, see Lee Skallerup‘s writing, her call for April 2 as the “Day of Higher Ed,” and search the twitter hashtag #dayofhighered.
7:30 I got dressed in something slightly too fancy because I am meeting with someone in the dean’s office to go over my annual performance review. As I did so, I talked with my son who was trying to make an argument for staying home from school sick based on some unformulated and vague illness. I kissed my husband goodbye, who will be teaching 4 classes today as an adjunct at three universities in Connecticut. 8:30 Stuck in traffic, got off at an earlier exit, got lost.
9:00 Got to work. Opened a Word document because I write and teach writing, so every day for an hour in the morning I write, whether I want to or not. “Want” isn’t actually part of the occasion. Writing is my craft, and I’m good enough at it to get published and to get paid to teach it; that’s not ego, just an awareness that I’m journey-woman-level in my trade. So today I wrote a few random sentences, and then a few paragraphs, out from under the eyebrows of my headache. One of these will turn out to be a bit for a book project on social class, and the other is a fingernail smidge of something about a Buddhist view of writer’s block.
9:50: Cheating: I stopped writing a few minutes early to print out the annual review documents for meeting at 10:30
10:00 I emailed a student about an advisement meeting and then tried to solve the problem of why she is still not listed on my roster of advisees. Looked for solutions to the problem of last week: how to publish the national literary journal my students and I have edited (Dogwood) in an e-book format. Kindle is good but does strange things to poetry, so I’m trying to figure out how to convert a file while spending no additional money as I have already spent everything in my budget printing the paper copies and paying judges and prize winners.
10:18 Advisee reassigned, signed paperwork to get check issued to a contest winner, picked up advisement packet.
10:20 Figured out I will have to create one e-book document at home because the computer at work doesn’t have the system software necessary, and getting a technology request for an upgrade will probably not be approved and will take much longer than I have to launch the issue. 10:28: Went to my 10:30 meeting to be informed it has been rescheduled to 11:00.
10:30 Exported a PDF file and realized I needed to make changes to the masthead. 10:40: Changed the masthead. Re-exported and figured out that I needed to create a separate web site for subscribers to download. 10:44: Updated course wiki for memoir class with latest student workshop assignments.
10:53: Trying to figure out how to edit university-approved website and realizing I have much emailing to do to get web links in order to publish ebook. First things first. Sigh. 10:55-11:12: Sitting in an office waiting for a meeting, updating my to-do list, realizing I need to send emails to coordinate a scheduled evening reading (one among many evening events that goes beyond the normal concept of 9-5) and to pack my “break” bag for Easter. Break always means grading and thinking about each of my upcoming lectures and classes, waiting to get recharged so I can think about what I need to say next in each of my course preps.
11:12 Meeting is at 11:30. Back to my office to play with file formats for a few more minutes and post this. More after my meeting.
11:27: Screenshot of new logo saved from Word to JPG for website after much dithering around with how to turn off Spellcheck with the squiggly green lines. Didn’t I know how to do this ten years ago?
12:35: Back from my meeting, put the frozen lunch in the office microwave. More emails about the W-9s for the journal as I eat. Thank you, Trader Joe’s.
12:36: Email from enrollment asking if I can speak to a prospective student who happens to be on campus with his family. Glad I dressed up! I check my calendar: I have students at 1:30, 2 and 3, so I email back that I have a half hour window at 2:30.
12:37: Check my box and realize I have more entries for the contest I’m judging; that goes on the stack to look through tonight.
12: 38: More emails: firming up a service visit to college-bound high school students in Bridgeport, figuring out how to deal with a proofreading error on the journal.
1:00 Fixing the logo, saving the logo, updating the website, sending an email to the folks who are helping me post the e-book files to the website for the test run.
1:15: Run to the department office to find the course booklet that’s not published yet
1:30 Advisement meeting #1: a student wants to do a challenging independent study with service learning. I agree to email her a list of books that might be inspiring and tell her I will follow up with the service learning office.
1:45: Student stopping by to ask a question about an internship interview tomorrow; what questions should she ask when they ask, “Do you have any questions?”
2:00: Advisement meeting #2
2:30: Meeting with prospective student; I offer to add her to the creative writing listserv.
3:00: Advisement meeting #3. A dilemma solved for a student.
3:30: Realizing that I have not done any course prep for tomorrow. I’m going to stop with this running total so I can take a breath, go pick up my son from school, and then grade and comment on two essays, read the remaining contest entries, send a few promised emails, and take a deep breath. Testing of the link to offer e-book seems to work. Copying files to my Dropbox so I can test them tonight at home and do file conversion. Essays to take home.
3:45: Copy essays to put in colleague’s mailboxes, sign a form for another check request for the journal.
6:15: Emails to contest judges to line them up for a possible meeting next week (on our days off)
7:20: Downloading and reading up on a possible software fix for my problematic ebook.
7:30-8:00: Grading of two essays for workshop.
8:50: Finishin this list and posting it, and then going back for just 15 more minutes to fiddle with the converted ebook file.
Some reflections: I’m glad I don’t do this every day, as it’s very tiring and I don’t have time to spare. But it is a good practice; I think I am also often not clear on what the “blur” each day entails. At the same time, it’s tiring to contemplate, but I hope this helps as part of the “record.”