Sunday, August 8, 2010

TSS: Last week of summer

This has been a good week.  I was able to focus a little on school preparation, I was able to focus a lot on personal reading and writing, and I was able to go out to dinner with visiting relatives and laugh and talk and close down the restaurant.  It was the right balance of work, play, family time, and personal space.

I learned that enrollment numbers for the upcoming school year are slowly but surely on the rise.  While I will still probably experience a cut in pay, it will not be nearly as drastic as I had originally feared.  This is an answer to prayer.  With this happy news I was inspired to work on some back-to-school projects and managed to update and/or write all 9 syllabi for upcoming classes and post them on the new school communication website.  I have read all material for the first two weeks of class (which brings us to Labor Day weekend) and I have organized all handouts that I plan to use in those classes.  Next week I will focus on my newest course, English Comp, and try to annotate all the pages for first semester.  This will simplify life when school starts, as I will only have to skim the marginalia in order to prepare for class.

Another aspect of preparing for back-to-school is to organize all my library books and decide what I can feasibly read before the end of summer, and what I should postpone for another time.  I discovered that I had about 6-8 books on art and photography that are due next week and so this past Friday I decided that I would focus my attention on that subject matter.  The photo at the left is my August Break submission in which I tried to compose a still life shot that represented the day.  Truth be told, this submission could easily represent all the days of my life - it is just the topics that change.

I love to gather all my books together and surround myself with their knowledge.  I quickly skim the table of contents and based on first impressions, I begin reading one book and place the others close by.  Typically I read straight through a book - marking interesting passages with sticky notes to return to later.  Once I have completed the book I go back to those passages and write down significant quotes or ideas in a notebook.  I have several notebooks (a new fetish that I have acquired this summer) and I have them color coordinated:  pink for my YA novel in progress (and anything having to do with Impressionism); blue for tips and suggestions for writing discipline; red for art appreciation and photography tips.  I believe in the concept that if you write something down you are twice as likely to remember it, and I am keen on remembering - and learning - how to do all these things.

I also have my computer close by because I want to have access to the internet when an idea strikes me.  For example, many times in reading these books, other authors and books are suggested.  I immediately go online and request the book from my local library.  I may not have time to read the book immediately - but at least I now have a record of a future resource.  Or....I my reading may prompt me to look up a definition for an unfamiliar term, or the location of particular landmark, or ....Well, you get the idea.  The more I read, the more I want to learn and discover more --- and the internet is my lifeline to that knowledge.

On this particular day I also had my camera close by because I wanted to see for myself what was being described in the book.  I am visual learner - and my learning is always reinforced if I can see a concrete example of an abstract thought.  That is actually another way that I used the internet on Friday.  A concept was discussed, let's say still life photography, and I wanted to learn more.  I searched the internet for online tutorials of still-life composition (of which there were few, I am sorry to say) and that enabled me to attempt my first set up for this picture.

It is very easy for me to lose track of time when I am in this frame of mind.  I often think I should set an alarm so that I can remember to take a break to eat and visit with family members.  But I suppose that is how I know I am a true introvert - as nothing brings me more pleasure and peace than to be alone in my nook, surrounded by books, my computer, and my personal desire to learn.

21 comments:

Meghan said...

I can never read with the computer close by - I always get distracted. I tend to write things down when I see them, but then it's a gamble whether or not I actually look them up on the computer. I should get more organized!

I'm glad your enrollment numbers are going up and you can more confidently remain a teacher. That's great news! Hopefully your pay will go up again next year, too.

Liz said...

Your August Break picture for this post is my view of heaven:) And your description of how you mark the books with sticky notes and go back to copy sections out totally inspires me! It drives me nuts when a theme from a book pops back into my mind and I can't find it again to copy it out. I'm putting some sticky notes in my bag for bus reading/marking. Thanks!

JoAnn said...

Hurray for balance! Your still life shot looks like my kitchen table - books, computer, notebook, coffee mug, and (sometimes) camera. You sure got a lot done this week!

bermudaonion said...

I'm with you on writing things down - it really helps me remember. If I forget my grocery list, I can usually remember whatever I added to it. I'm glad to see your class numbers are rising!

Catherine Ensley said...

I also take notes from books I read, but I highlight the noteworthy ideas, and then go back type them into a computer file. I've discovered it's how I commit things to memory. I love it when I'm done with a nonfiction book, and I feel I've thoroughly digested the information, and have condensed 250 pages down to 25 or, many times, far less than that.

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Boo on the pay cut but I'm glad it won't be as bad as originally expected! I can't read with the computer nearby, I end up "just checking one thing...!" Then, before you know it, I'm completely caught up in something else!

J. Kaye said...

I use sticky notes too. Do you review the art and photography books you read?

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

ok...nothing like peer pressure to remind me how much work I have to do in order to be prepared for the first day of class this Thursday. I think I still have my blinders on...if I don't work on my syllabus, maybe it won't really happen ;) I have enjoyed the summer, and while I love my job, I know I won't have near the time for my personal reading/writing as I have this summer. How in the world do you balance it all?

Sandy Nawrot said...

That summer just FLEW by. We have one more week then we go back. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. There is good and bad that comes with it. More than anything, I sure am ready for cooler weather. I'm pretty much over it.

ds said...

How I envy people as organized as you! And learn from them! There are great tips embedded in this post that I intend to try (though I have to turn the computer off while reading--too much of a distraction). The proof lies in the fact that you got so much done, and were still able to go out and enjoy a night out with friends. That's true success, Molly. Well done!!

lifeonthecutoff said...

"I love to gather all my books together and surround myself with their knowledge." Oh, Molly, I love this sentence. I am lost without books - simply lost. I, too, have the computer close by for reference, where, more often than not, one click leads to another, to another and there goes a few hours, BUT, I'm learning so much more than I ever have before and, for me, it is simply grand to be learning new things along with becoming a grandmother.

I'm glad you had a good week, the prospect of more pay than originally anticipated, and such an organized life.

Silke said...

Hi Molly, your week sounds wonderful and I'm glad you got happy news regarding your pay this next year! I love that you get to read so much - my reading has become a luxury, but I still try to read whenever I have a free moment. It sure it hard to have time for everything!! Happy Sunday!! Hugs, Silke

Belle said...

Your balanced week sounds wonderful, Molly. And every time I read about your teaching, I wish there was a school like yours in our area, with teachers like you!

I love how you're using your notebooks. My inner being has been telling me lately to start up writing binders - your post is another nudge for me!

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I think back to that time before we had sticky notes...or computers, for that matter.

It hasn't been that long since those days ( before computers, at least). When I say computers, I'm really talking about our current versions (Windows). When I was in graduate school, I did research on little note cards from books in the library.

Now it would be the internet and sticky notes. Progress!

I, too, consider time alone to do the things I love as blissful....

Here's my salon: (also linked in the name/URL section)

http://accidentalmoments.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/the-sunday-salon-august-8/

patti said...

Molly, "met" you at Belle's place and am so glad to read about your writing journey.

If you have time, would love to have you visit my place, www.pattilacy.com/blog.

May God grant you wisdom and skill with balance as school begins!!

Patti
www.pattilacy.com/blog

Lisa said...

I love your notebook idea. I'm big on that "write it down" idea myself. I used to take copious amounts of notes in classes -- it never took me long to study then because I had spent so much time with the information already.

Jenners said...

Glad to hear that your enrollment numbers are going up! That has got to be a relief.

nat @book, line, and sinker said...

wishing you a wonderful start to the new school year--i still have a few weeks of vacation left before i report for 'active duty'. i've been ignoring the piles of prep work i need to do but will get to them one day. :)

Becky said...

Okay, now I'm panicking! I can't believe you've done all of that. Sigh. I feel like a huge loser now. :) I did get my new web site up and running this last week, but I still have to revisit my class disclosure documents and some of that joyful stuff. We'll see what I get finished after I get home. I fly out tonight, and have meetings on Wednesday that I have to attend. I then have about two weeks until the official first day of school. We'll see! I'm glad to hear enrollments are up though! Good luck to you. :)

Kathleen said...

Sounds like things are shaping up for the school year to come. I'm glad to hear that the enrollment numbers are up for your courses. I can definitely relate to getting lost in solitary activities and having to set an alarm to remind me to go out and interact with family!

Gavin said...

I'm so glad things are looking up for enrollment. I've been working at our school library this past week, getting back into the swing of things and am looking forward to setting up the classroom the last week in August.

You are so organized and I love to color coded notebook idea. I just jumble everything into my black moleskin. Have a good week, Molly.

Related Posts with Thumbnails