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Summer in Review

Monday: November 10, 2014

Well, this blog has sat silent for quite some time now, so let’s catch up.

First, I completed the International Human Cadaver Prosection Program. It was tough for me intellectually since as I mentioned, I know near nothing about soft tissues, but I learned a lot and met a lot of great people. The world of student doctors is different than what I am use to – I felt like an ethnographer, doing some participant-observation.

I was not daunted when it came time to practice our skills on our First Patients. I was in a position to float around and choose which table to work with, and ultimately I lingered around a particular group because I felt I could learn the most from a student doctor named Zach. We had chatted a few times over the course of the program and his bedside manner about my ignorance never made me feel stupid so I went with it. I could ask all the silly questions I needed to!

It was an incredible honor to learn from the First Patients and I am very humbled to have been accepted in the program. If it is something that may interest you, I suggest signing up!

Second, I taught my first summer section – a human origins course with around 13 students if I recall. It felt much too fast-paced, but I suppose that is the price you pay for a summer course. I was finally feeling in the groove of teaching it, too, but now I am not sure how often I will get to. My old advisor decided to retire, and due to the circumstances, the department was forced to hire a temporary Lecturer for now rather than a full-time replacement. Although several people suggested I should apply, without my PhD it wasn’t a likely scenario. And, because our program is small, there isn’t a huge enrollment need for two people teaching the intro course, so the new person gets it for now.

Third, I finally finished the big HPF grant I had been working on, and it was submitted in early October. A frightening experience, but I am glad to have done it just as much as I am glad it is over. I will not find out if we get the money until late spring, though. For now, we must wait.

The fall semester is wrapping up soon, and I am still learning a lot. I struggle with what kind of teacher I want to be (if any, to be honest, but we knew that already). I have fun on some days, and on other days I feel rather blah. Sometimes I feel inspired to help the students, and sometimes they drain all my energy. Of course, what teacher doesn’t feel these ways at times?

I have one in-person course once a week (another new challenge) and two online courses. Although it is the same course – cultural anthropology, this is actually very confusing for me. Two different universities, two different time zones, and essentially three different formats. I get dates messed up, which then I have to adjust because it isn’t their fault I say one thing but its written on paper for a different day.

Next semester, I will have anywhere from two to four classes. Another archaeology (which may fail to carry since it is part of a scheduling conflict with another required course), and up to three cultural anthropologies. And it may be another trying semester of learning how to pace courses if I do get all the culturals. One will be online (a certainty), one will be a normal twice-a-week class (possibly given to someone else), and one will be a three-times-a-week class (a quasi-certainty). I’ll be confused all over again, but on the upside, I will learn how to handle all kinds of scheduling for future semesters. And, none of them will be at 8:30am where I struggle to be alive like now…


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