An academically worthwhile day.

March 31, 2009 at 4:16 pm Leave a comment

There are some days when there’s so much slack in life that you feel like all the strings are coming untwisted, unravelling, and slipping out from beneath your very fingers. Others when everything is spinning on hyperdrive, and your nice orderly moments are kinking and coiling and writhing, knotting up unsalvageably. But sometimes it works, and connections come together smoothly, softly, almost without effort. And magically, today was one of those well-spun days.

It all started with a question posed to Prof. Chaput, the woman who organizes the Russian language teaching program at Harvard. I had been wondering about teaching Russian, and asked her if she was teaching Slavic 269 next year, the course which prepares pedagogues for language instruction. This simple question evolved into a heartfelt discussion about language teaching theories, and showed the spark of interest she genuinely holds in the teaching of language, something which I hadn’t seen before (she’s never struck me as  a very sparkly person). I won’t be teaching Russian next year, but I think I’m on better footing with her as a result of my eager interest.

Then, in class, Julie Buckler asked about summer plans. I mentioned that I wanted to spend it preparing for generals, and she was honestly impressed. In the department, people often wait until well into the 4th year to take them. If I’m not mistaken, one of our grad students is taking his orals later this week, 3/4 through his 5th year. Frankly, 3/4 through my 5th year, I want to be well on the way to a  dissertation. Or removed from academia. You know, one or the other.

After class, I asked Julie about the new GenEd course that she intends to teach in the fall, because I’m interested in TFing for it. After a few minutes of talking , she sounded genuinely excited about the possibility of me teaching for it, and mentioned my possibly Head TFing it in 2011-12. Woot.

I swung by to talk to Professor Flier afterwards, and threw the most broad, “I want to do more medieval things, more seriously” at him, and he responded with an offer of a bibliography, a few books to check out, and some reserved advice. More to follow, once I come to him with genuine questions, and not simply unguided exuberance.

So, friends, I may not be dropping out yet. Now, just to finish my sleeves on my cardigan, and all may be right with the world.


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