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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal: Too Much To Do 
28th-Feb-2006 03:58 am
I See You!
Kind of overwhelmed with Stuff. Finishing this dissertation outline for the graduate school is up front, but I've still had time for some long conversations that I wouldn't want to have missed. I deal with Diane regularly at a shop over on the east side and she's always been jazzed that I'm a theologian, partially in that she's this English/Anthropology person moving back toward Catholicism, so I'm an easy target for info. When things are running slow, we've often stopped and talked for a while, but on Thursday that went for some two hours with a lot of the talk having drifted away from literature and into her reflecting on a year and a half of marriage with Matt and everything that is going into trying to make it work while they figure out so much about themselves in trying to figure out each other. I finally had to run out to just catch the bus to make it back to campus in time to meet Julie over at the Brew Bayou for another four hours of hanging out and getting to know each other more. Some interesting talk there about the different kinds of friendship--the best friend whose thoughts you just know by just looking at them, and the best friend that you Just Don't Get and so that kind of friendship hangs on communication. I snuck in time on Friday night to see her perform with the Studio 13 Refugees and really got a kick out of the improv comedy: the large draw they had among the students testified to how good they were. You had the mixed bag of improv games--some wildly successful, others not. I had to laugh a bit at myself just for the references that I didn't get: the graduate student who just couldn't keep up with Cool. But it gave me more sense of why she lights up when talking about performing.

I tried to keep the last few days focused on the outline, then, but whether it was laundry, having to set up applications for a conference later in the year, do the reading for Mickey's Luther class and work on the quiz for the students, or Professor Barnes asking the posse to come out tonight to the Historical Theology Dissertation series and then to dinner to talk with a dissertating student some years ahead of us, things keep coming up. I'm getting a much better sense of my project, but it's going slowly. They have a standard five-chapter form that they want, but I'm working on eight chapters at the moment. I figure that I can go in with a bit more to Professor Fahey, and show some options for mixing-and-matching topics that way, and thus get his feedback on the best dissertation possibility rather than just having one idea to which he could say "yay" or "nay."

I also found out today that the Graduate Teaching Fellowship means that I'll be teaching the Introduction to Theology course, as I suspected, and that I'll be teaching two sections each semester, which is what I feared. I am grateful, beyond words, for the funding, but I know that that will likely be an awful lot of work with which to try to juggle writing the dissertation. On the flipside, maybe having so much teaching experience already will help me in this regard. I've taught a lot of the material before, I just will have to be specifically crafting my lessons for a freshman, collegiate audience. I'm just not sure how long the lesson-planning process might be aided by my experience. I did try to throw my hat in for afternoon courses: there are open slots for 8am, and I gather that I'll get the dregs after the faculty have picked their preferred time slots! And with that, I think I'm more-or-less "caught up" enough to satisfy myself. Somehow I've managed to take maybe half an hour "off" today and still much less has gotten done that I could have hoped. I probably shouldn't even be noting this stuff down, but I've pretty much hit "too fried to make sense academically," but "too wired to sleep." simeonjawn, I got your note and I'll get to those good questions, but it'll be a few days, I think. aristotle2002 is swinging by on Wednesday, so I have some hosting to add to the crazy mix of fun. Or, at least, I think all this adds up to "fun!"
28th-Feb-2006 12:44 pm (UTC)
Yup, I can certainly see that you are busy. But I had a thought on your thesis - the result of Father Dale Schlitt, who taught a Foundational/Fundamental theology course. It was a second year course that I took my first year there. I discovered quickly that I was almost in over my head, but I did manage to squeeze an A in the course. That mark was one of my more pleasant surprises that year. In highschool, I recall one report card where the marks went from 23% to 75%. I never knew I was capable of A's or even A+'s.

Anyways, as a vehicle to teaching the course, he used an article he was writing for a theology journal (I now forget which one). I believe the article was something about the the theology of the experience(s) of God. We helped him refine his article. The language (terminology and wording), points covered, and lots of other aspects were all discussed, and in the the end, we learned all the concepts needed for the course, and Dale had a much better article as a result.

Anyways, just some thoughts early in the morning as I avoid having to go to work :)

28th-Feb-2006 07:03 pm (UTC)
It is early in the morning: I can't tell whether you're recommending Fr. Schlitt's article to me, or recommending that I incorporate my research into my teaching! :-) Probably the latter, right? But, alas, I don't think that it would work: my dissertation is much more specific than would fit in an Introduction course. My biggest concern there, in many ways, would be simple literacy: without an ownership on a cultural level of just the stories of scripture, the bulk of the heritage of Western art, literature, music and even film will be incomprehensible to the students, and they likely wouldn't even know it. I want to fill in that deficiency in a robust way.
1st-Mar-2006 12:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it was the latter alright. I wish I could remember the name of the article, because it was quite good - although I have no idea if a discussion on the theology of experiences of God would have any application to your dissertation :).

On the other hand, he is supposed to be an expert on Hegel.

Yeah, I can see something like your dissertation feeding a senior year level course on some aspect, but like the course I took, not a first year item :)
28th-Feb-2006 02:34 pm (UTC)
I rather like the times of Too Much Too Do -- a relic of York, I imagine. But eight chapters! A 2/2 courseload! Lord love you, man!
28th-Feb-2006 07:04 pm (UTC)
Let's hope so!
1st-Mar-2006 04:19 am (UTC)
i can wait. thanks for the heads up.
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