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It’s been awhile since I checked in here — this semester has been some kind of crazy, and it caught up with me big time right before Thanksgiving, when I came down with bronchitis. This is not unusual for me. Every year I get felled by respiratory crud, and it’s almost always perfectly timed to coincide with the holidays, like my body just goes and goes and goes and then, because it knows a break is coming, everything crashes. It’s hard to believe that a month ago I ran a 1/2 marathon, because I’ve only managed to slog a few miles a few times a week for about two weeks now. Blech. I feel horribly out-of-shape, even though I’ve still been running. I try and remind myself that this is temporary.

I realize now, of course, that teaching six classes on top of other responsibilities was too much. Next semester I’m slated to teach five, but that may drop to four, which would be glorious. This has been a roller coaster semester, but it’s ended with a few bright spots: Today I sent off my revisions to my agent — cue a big exhale on that one, even if the accomplishment comes with healthy helping of nerves. Yesterday one of my students came in to talk to me about her creative writing! She’s a senior, and wants to go into script-writing. A colleague told her I would be a good person to talk to, so I was happy that she came by and we had a great conversation about writing, querying, revising, the future of certain genres, etc. Today, a student who I was disappointed in because he plagiarized his final paper, came by to apologize and explain himself. I always respect that — when a student shows the maturity to confront what they did. Another student thanked me for my work this semester, and asked about what classes I’ll be teaching in the spring.

There have been so many disillusioning, sad, and downright shameful things happening out in the world that touch the community where I work. I look at the young people I am surrounded by every day and I am thankful for each one of them. This time of the semester is usually all about measuring what I’ve taught my students; what they have learned over these past 15 or 16 weeks, and how they might apply it in their lives. But I am aware now, even more than usual, how much I have learned from them instead.


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