With the semester coming to a firm close, that's it for degree seeking for a while in this household. It's sort of in the air if either of us will ever intend to go back for any reason, but it's not really consequential to our needs at the moment and, frankly, I don't think either of us want to consider it for at least a little while. We're both very tired.

As always, there's loose ends to clean up, and those ends typically fall into different categories, but it probably suffices to say that Kay's working the financial end of that equation and I'm working hard on the domestic. For a long time, I've subscribed to the notion that just because housework isn't paid doesn't mean it's without value, and it's largely industrial society and the new commodification of capitalism that really kind of creates that notional tendency. That said, at the moment, I am working pretty hard but Kay is working substantially harder - partially because some amount of overtime is mandatory but also because time and a half is too much for Kay to ignore in pursuit of paying off old debts.

This sounds extreme, but it's easier than what we were doing previously, where Kay was attempting to stack a 70 hour work week with two online classes where the teachers literally made no appearances on the forums they said they'd be active on - which left me to read through the coursework and structure a haphazard kind of lecture/study guide/research assistantship along with whatever else I was doing. (Once again, I think it's clear I had the easier job.) I have one minor task left to do that I agreed to and I'm clear on that count. All Kay has, then, is overtime, which is simpler and pays better.

I'm tired so stuff I'd normally do in pen gets typed here instead, but although I'm not really rushing to get into that Summer semester (I was considering it, but Kay made a case for me staying home in the temporary, and I conceded the issue because), I'm kind of rebuilding my syllabus based on how I felt about my first three sections of composition and a rethinking of my pedagogical direction. Not that I want to change course entirely, but that I can maintain a serious degree of rigor while changing my tone, rhetoric, and to a degree, my course load.

On one hand, the actual difficultly level of my course was not something I consider to be especially high, but I do think that my first year writing students were surprised that getting an A was more difficult than they anticipated. I'm not really sure how to take that - I don't really believe getting an A actually should be particularly easy, and not all classes of the same level are difficult in the same way - my largest concern is facilitating growth and maintaining a level of core competency that will at least facilitate a student's progress through their program. 101 seems ripe for me to restructure it towards students understanding their writing goals and audience and be able to differentiate between different writing methods and rudimentary capabilities (email writing is something first-year writers tend to be abysmal at strictly from a technical knowhow standpoint, for example). 102 seems better fitted towards my initial run at basic theory, research, and integration of multiple writing methods to produce a text.

Additionally, and this is difficult so adding this next layer and retaining coherence in the course is an issue, but I tend to believe the writing is an inherently creative enterprise. There is an element of 'art' to it that we generally refer to as style, but in attempting to foster a strong writing style, I see it take a drastic backseat to structure and form - partially because style is hard to judge objectively, and it's already often difficult to make the case to students that composition and rhetoric aren't entirely issues of empty style over objective substance. Threading the needle on this is mostly going to be about how I divide the semester and what kinds of criteria I lay out for the work I'd intend to assign - in composition. I'm in the position of attempting to reverse the curriculum for Creative Writing, making the case that this is a subject that carries over into everyday life more than most people would expect. But, maybe most importantly, I think that if I'm providing the tools and foundation to grow as a writer in either case, than I'm doing the job I'm hired to do. In any case, though, since I have a little time to read up on pedagogical methods, that's what I'll do.


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