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AUGUST 19, 2009   

Back at it

Detail of meeting notesWith my sabbatical ended, I'll be back in the classroom on Monday after fifteen months away. Most of the day I've been thinking about those first few classes, how to make them interesting, fun, engaging.

I guess that's one reason why the powers-that-be insist that all faculty attend three days of "convocation" at the start of each semester, to get us thinking about what we do and how we do it.

Each semester has its own slogan, speakers and a new approach for us to try. This time it's Accelerating the Momentum Toward Student Success. Very positive. At least it's better than the guy who compared teaching to running the rapids then sang a song on his guitar.

I'd like to be more positive about these semi-annual gabfests but it's hard. The formats vary slightly: mostly they talk at us, sometimes they talk with us. Today it was "we want to learn from you, the faculty." Great idea, and two of the four sessions I attended even seemed to generate real enthusiasm and lots of good comments. But...

I've been to enough convocations to know that precious little will come of our discussions, especially if faculty suggestions don't fit already established college goals. So I try to stay engaged and respectful of the presenter, modeling the behavior I hope for from my students. But like them I have an overwhelming urge to pull out my phone and check my email every few minutes.

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