mid-week musings

Some of the thoughts in my slightly-foggy head this morning:
  • I still haven't fully integrated my blog habit with the new semester's schedule. I occasionally post from my office, but I so far have been able to stick to my "no reading blogs" rule while at work. Which is good for my privacy and for my productivity while at the office, but lousy for keeping up with all the blogs I like to read. And I had to get up extra early the past two days (to get a new battery for my car and to take the dogs in for annual checkup/shots) so last night I was so tired -- but kept compulsively clicking on various pages even though I was too tired to really understand, much less respond. Silly, I know.
  • We had our first department faculty meeting yesterday. Ah, the joy. I actually don't mind a meeting when there are things to be discussed or decided -- but this was mostly reviewing a heap of bureaucratic decisions from the administration. Which meant our chair telling us things and the rest of us sitting there like recalcitrant students. But such moments are useful reminders of what the classroom experience is like much of the time, for many students -- it's so rare that I'm being lectured at in a droning tone about things I don't really understand or care about -- my brain almost immediately shuts off (and starts pleading where's the coffee? you know you should bring coffee to these meetings). No wonder some students love a discussion class, and others complain that it's too much effort. They're used to just sitting back and checking out.
  • Tenure really does feel different. I feel honestly lighter, freer in my interactions with my colleagues -- which were mostly pleasant and engaging for the past six years, so this isn't like I'm really acting any differently. But underneath, there's no anxiety. If anything, there's a sense that I've got an invisible shield around me now: I can do whatever I want. The reality, of course, is that I'm a good departmental citizen: I am still serving on one of our major standing committees, I'll probably do extra work this fall for our accreditation review, and I've already had to fend off the invitation to take on an administrative position. (Someday I might do it, but not this year.) But any and all of that is now buffered with the knowledge that I am finally a free individual in the academic state. I've had voting privileges in my dept since day one, and actually have contributed significantly to some decisions in my dept over the past few years -- curriculum, hiring, etc -- so the freedom isn't anything as concrete as voting power. It's really something much more ineffable. Whatever I do is now my choice, not simply a response to an internalized categorical imperative.
Allright, I really should jump in the shower and go to campus. I did my class prep this morning sitting out in the yard with the dogs, which really has put me in a good frame of mind for the day.