Friday, May 21, 2010

Puttering About...

I'm on a vacation of sorts--a vacation from teaching. It became official on Monday, May 10th. The day before I had warned everyone that I was going to stay in my 'jammies all day long. I wasn't going anywhere. I wasn't doing anything. I wasn't going to cook dinner. The only thing I would do is medicate the cats and feed them. That was it. And I did. I took a couple of naps, played with my beads, watched three movies, and snacked all day on leftovers. It was heavenly.

This past week, I've been puttering. Puttering in my vegetable garden, putting in seeds and pulling weeds. I've been contemplating adding to my flower beds. I've puttered in the kitchen and with my beads--almost forgot to mail out my beading partner's beads for the Bead Swap. To tell you the truth, I had a hard time coming up with a focal, a few coordinating beads, find an interesting clasp, and deciding WHICH SET! I also lost track of the days. Until last Friday when I got this frantic call from my boss.

Now I like my boss. She gives me a lot of leeway in how I teach my graduate students. She's been fully supportive of all the changes I wanted and have made to my teaching methods. She's also great to talk to about issues I've had in the past and she's been like a mentor at times as well. So when she called me last Friday, and explained she NEEDED me--well--how could I say "No"???

Apparently there was a problem on a branch campus with another professor who was going to teach the same class as I do and a room foul-up. The room foul-up was simply this: There were no computers available to students in the room assigned to teach the onsite students. Considering that the course teaches statistics using SPSS and Excel, well--that's a major problem. Both are computer programs--and simply put--a computer is required to run them.  

So my boss asked me to please make room in my online class for these students. Before I knew it, I was also teaching a couple of extra ITV (interactive television) classes for the same course. Before I knew it, I had 35 graduate students this summer. Before I knew it, panic set in. The absolute fight-or-flight mode. And instead of fighting as would be my usual method of dealing with panic--I flew. Right out the door to my garden.  Once there, I puttered about pulling weeds, sitting among them, and contemplating life as a total recluse. But that meant I couldn't have hook up to the Internet and I'd be lost without a way to contact friends and family, including my blogging friends! That also meant no more beads. LOL That was the final kicker--no more beads. Besides, D wouldn't like living without Internet either so that ended the decision to forsake all and become a recluse.

I decided I had to be pro-active instead of reactive. So I called up my rosters at both universities since I'm teaching classes at both again. I have--at this time--25 students at the undergraduate level and 35 at the graduate level. My next decision was how much to cut out of each class to make my workload more manageable and then decide what to cut.  Hard and difficult decisions but I have to cut some of the course work. Sixty students are difficult to manage during a full semester, but during summer sessions?!?!?! Hmmmm....One of the areas I decided to cut back was my chat sessions/office hours/review sessions. That's almost painful for me because I realize how much they help students--but I had to realize that I'm seriously short on time for my students. 

This morning I realized that I've been enjoying my puttering about. I have only six days left before school starts up again.  My teaching friends are bragging how they will get out of school in six days and I envy them. When they have to go back, I'll be getting my other mini vacation. Hopefully, I can putter some more then. Of course, I'll be putting by some of the harvest (hopefully) and that isn't exactly puttering. 

I also realized that puttering about has given me my center back. The garden is my focus that gets me away from the computer and gets me up and moving about. I'll confess to being stiff and sore from all the bending over, squatting down, and hopping over planting beds. Nonetheless, I've been sleeping well and waking refreshed. The garden is where I go with my first cup of coffee in the mornings. It's peaceful. It's my little piece of heaven.


  1. It sounds like your going to be really busy with all the extra students. I guess you'll just have to take a break when you can to relax. Good luck.

  2. I'm so glad you have a quiet place to nourish your soul. We all need that time to do what fulfills us so that we can be happier in what we do for others.

  3. Isn't it awesome when we think things through, do what we need to do and are pleased with our decision? Walking among the flowers and plants in a garden is a wonderful place to spend some time....getting up and moving is what we all need to do. It's what our bodies and our minds crave.

    Good for you Cathryn!!

    I am a 12 month school district secretary. It is so painful at this time of year when everyone you see or talk to says....oh, enjoy your summer....everyone thinks the entire district closes down in the summer. Now that would be nice, but that isn't the case. Summer can actually be a busy time in my office. The summer off is well deserved for anyone that teaches...they earn it with all of the extra hours they put in during the school year. Anyone that thinks teachers "have it made" has never raised one. :)

  4. You're gonna do great - I just know it!