Processing, 30 November

My Holiday Notebooks

my writing notebooks

This morning I decided to review my notes in my green notebook. All 41 pages of them. I figured that it was time to assess my various musings and start working on more concrete plans for how to do this project. Because it seemed easier to write down my review notes somewhere else, I picked out another, smaller notebook for recording my review notes. This review notebook just happened to be red.

Playing with Format: a teaching portfolio?

In the midst of reading through the notes, I had a glimmer of an idea about how my current project, which is about my past, present, future life as a teacher, could serve as a companion to my first book project, which was about my past life as a student. In the project about my student life, I played with the idea of a student transcript. What if I played with the idea of a teaching portfolio in this second project about my teaching life? What would that look like?

Similar to my first project in which I didn’t “properly” mimic the format of a transcript, I’m not interested in strictly following the format of a standard teaching portfolio. Instead, I want to critically and creatively (and playfully) experiment with it. As I spend more time trying to figure out what that means, here are a few sources to consider:


Throughout this project, I’ve been struggling with my (sometimes competing) roles as a teacher, parent, student and person. How do these different roles/identities work together and/or against each other? Early this morning, I jotted down in my green notebook, “I can’t multi-task!” Far from seeing this statement as a declaration of failure, I see it as an opportunity to ruminate on my life as a parent who is a teacher who is a student who is always a person, but who has difficultly being all at once. How do I put these roles beside each other?  When I first wrote this paragraph, I only included teacher, student and parent, but I realized that I, and the others who see me inhabiting/performing these different roles, also struggle to remember that I am a person too.

Role Models

I’m continuing to think through the differences between role models, teachers, mentors and advisors. With that question in mind, I came across John Waters’ 2010 book, Role Models.  Will it be helpful? Does it matter…Waters is fun to read.

Processing Updates, 25 November

Since my last processing post on November 17th, I’ve been continuing to work on my new book project. I didn’t post here because I was stuck, trying to work through some anger I had with two online articles I was reading about professors and academic values. I filled up about 14 pages in my green notebook with my notes, but I devoted (wasted?) all of my energy on crafting a blog post for my Trouble blog, which I finally managed to complete yesterday: Beside/s: What’s the Point of a Professor?

Here’s one of my pages from the notebook. It includes my dissecting of a passage from one of the online articles, Keith M. Parsons’ Message to my Freshman Students:

green notebook notes

I’m not done working with some of the questions that this article, and the others that I blogged about, raised for me and this writing project. Hopefully, my future processing/writing won’t get me as stuck as I was this past week.

Right before I got stuck thinking about what a professor is and attempting to move beyond the answer that I feared was the only one, an arrogant asshole, I found a book that I’m really excited to analyze for this project: Imaginary Syllabi.

As I began to skim through the book I got excited, especially after reading Jane Sprague’s description of the book’s purpose:

A book-length project of contributions by multiple authors that aims to collect writings which investigate, uncover, examine, complicate, question, provoke, and otherwise (essentially) challenge pedagogical strategies pursuant to the work of teaching writing and other disciplines. This book includes writings which dream up, concoct and explore utopian, fabulist, fantasy syllabi for potential imagined or real classroom endeavors. Educational projects undertaken and employed (deployed) in and outside of official as well as mongrel “schools.” Official spaces might harbor (or cultivate) the mongrel and vice versa (8).

Jane Sprague, ed.

Cool! Maybe I want to create some of my own un/imagined courses? Dream classes that I wouldn’t be able to teach within traditional academic spaces?

In addition to looking through Imaginary Syllabi, I also started reading Rebecca Solnit’s Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness. The varied (spacious) hodge-podge of non-fiction writing forms included in this book inspires me. I’m looking forward to reading/analyzing what Solnit has included and how/why.

More on the Syllabus

I’m deep in the midst of working on a new book project about my stories as an (ex?) teacher and educator. So far, researching it has been a lot of fun. Right now, I’m still thinking about syllabi as format and content. Here are a few more sources that I want to review in the next few days: