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Spring opportunity

Tuesday: October 29, 2013

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My alma mater contacted me today and offered me two classes this spring, which means I have a full load from them in both the spring and summer sessions. I will teach three sections of Human Origins and Prehistory (which, as mentioned before, is like the Monkeys, Apes, and Humans course I taught at UIndy), and an Introduction to Archaeology class. When I took that class as an undergrad, I found it completely boring. I’ll do my best to jazz it up, but I am not sure how many material goods I will have at hand in the lab for hands-on experience. I’ve conferred with Dr. M to choose a book and I can use the public archaeology event he hosts at Lew Wallace in my course too. At least that is something!

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One down…

Friday: October 25, 2013

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I have contacted several local schools (less than 45 minute drive) and unfortunately no one is hiring an anthropology adjunct at this time, though they have added me to their files for future reference. Some conversations were discouraging – for instance, only having a single anthropology class, so of course that is filled every semester; only having online classes (can you imagine taking cultural or archaeology online, without any hands-on components? How utterly boring! I would have certainly been turned off from anthropology!); not having offered an anthropology class in years…But other conversations were great. One university said they would hire me immediately but just didn’t have the funding for it, and the others seemed excited but couldn’t hire me for the same reason.

I have thus just expanded my search to include schools within an hour and a half drive. I do not like this concept as it means I may get a job on the north side of Chicago – not a bad place, but the fact I would be driving *through* the city to get there is not a selling point. So far, I have just contacted my two favorite universities. We will see if they bite, and if not, there are still plenty within that distance to contact.

My alma mater did get back to me, however, and though they do not have an opening in the spring, I have been given a class each summer session. The department is going through a lot of changes (a new chair, a possible retirement, posting for a full time professor, and so on) so I am not sure what lies ahead, but this is a start. I am a little nervous teaching over the summer, having barely any teaching experience as is, because the classes are longer and the weeks are shorter, but I am still very excited! I am somewhat bummed that I probably will be unable to go to Georgia, though, but perhaps they will schedule that so I could pop in for the week between semesters.

The class I will teach is Human Origins and Prehistory (almost identical to the Monkeys, Apes, and Humans class I taught this spring). When I took it, there was no lab component, but I believe that is important – it really makes science accessible to students who do not realize they can do science. And, of course, it makes learning about the species and objects so much more interesting being able to lay your hands on them. I will need to get into the lab and see how it has grown since my time there.

On a side note, I am probably going to be able to attend BARFAA, in Ohio, this November. It will be a cool experience, to attend without the stress of presenting!!

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The Last Semester

Tuesday: January 15, 2013

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Today I began my last semester at UIndy. I am enrolled in Mortuary Archaeology, Applied Statistics, and some Thesis Writing hours. I am also auditing Soil Morphology and teaching Monkeys, Apes, and Humans (an anthropology class cross-listed as a biology class). I have two teaching assistants to help with the labs and grading.

This will be a new teaching experience for me in several regards. First, the room is not optimal. It is very, very cramped, with a projector not a tv, and the layout is awkward. Second, I am to mirror my advisor’s class, so essentially I am using his power points (though I made them more visually appealing, in my opinion). At first, I thought this would be much easier than starting from scratch like I did with Cultural, but I failed to realize that I am a linear thinker, which maybe is not how anyone would describe him (at least, not myself). It will be interesting to see how I can work with the materials provided. Third, I have obviously never worked with teaching assistants before. I know them personally, so I know there shouldn’t be any issues, and just the idea that they can do the grading for me is exciting! Fourth, this class has a lab component. Essentially, this should not be all that different than from when I TA’d a year ago, except that more will be expected from me as I travel throughout the room. I am the teacher, I ought to know everything, right?

My husband has a bet that I should drop Soil Morphology. I have until the end of this week to decide for a full refund. I want to keep it (auditing Comparative was so awesome because I got to do my favorite thing – learn – but without the stress of turning in assignments or being assessed on a grading scale), but the reality is that I do not want to repeat what I did to myself last semester.

I am experiencing different thoughts this semester than in the past. I am not sure if it is from being burnt out last semester, being pushed to the edge but surviving and growing from last semester, or a wee bit of impatience to be done and get back to my life up north. Likely a combination of all and then some. But I am in a good place right now, and I hope this semester will not be as trying personally for me as last time.

It is my last semester though, which gives me a bit of melancholy. Now, I do still have a field school requirement to meet this summer and finish my thesis project, but essentially, I am almost done!

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