Category Archives: Work

Slowing Down

After several very hectic weeks at work, things are finally slowing down and returning to normal. I’ve been able to catch up on some of my work on various projects that have fallen behind while I was busy with other duties at work. One of those projects will probably make my life a bit hectic again, but I’m hoping like all the teaching I was doing these last several weeks, it will be enjoyable. Now, if I can just get other people to do their jobs, it would make my life much easier, but I seem to have to keep hounding people to get things they owe me done. Eventually, it will all even out. My job has always been what my mother called “hurry up and wait.” It’s either feast or famine with either too many things going on at once or I’m waiting on other people to do their part and in the meantime there is not much for me to do. Thankfully, the weekend is almost here.


Not Long Enough

Since I had to work on Saturday, I had an abbreviated weekend. It’s back to work today. It wasn’t a particularly relaxing weekend, since I have had a migraine since Saturday. I blame it on the rain that started Saturday evening and lasted until this morning. Usually, my headaches get better once it starts raining. This one did not, and I still have a headache this morning. I went to bed last night around 8 pm, before I wrote a post for today, so it’s one of those rare times when I wrote my post in the morning instead of the night before. I’d love to stay home sick today, but I have an important meeting this morning. If this migraine doesn’t improve, I may have to call in sick and join the meeting virtually.


Tired

Yesterday as usual, Isabella had me up before 5 am to feed her, and I had to work until after 6 pm. I am so tired, I can barely move, or write a post for today. Enjoy the weekend everyone. I’ll be working tomorrow also. Sunday can’t come soon enough.


Fall Is Here

I had a migraine yesterday, so I went home from work at noon. I wouldn’t have gone in at all, but I’d been off on Monday and Tuesday and I had some work I needed to do. I’m teaching a class this morning and I need to prepare for it. I won’t go into work today until 9 am because I’m working this evening until 6 pm for an after hours event. I hope my headache will be gone when I wake up this morning. Otherwise, it’s going to be a really long day.

Today is also the autumn equinox, which begins my favorite season, autumn. I love seeing the leaves change here in Vermont. The views are breathtaking this time of year. It also means cooler weather, but not cold weather, at least not yet.


Classes

In the average semester, I may teach half a dozen classes for the museum, though for several years now, I’ve been encouraging the professors to utilize the museum more effectively and let us show the students what a rich source of information the museum can be. I have taught more classes last week and this week than I have since I’ve been doing my current job, and I’ve been loving it. I’ve really enjoyed getting to work with all of the freshmen and be able to talk about the museum and show them some of what we do as museum professionals.

Some of the professors have come in seeming a little skeptical of what we are doing, but by the time I finish with the class, they have been awed with my teaching style and the class I have created for them. Well, maybe “awed” is overstating it a little, but I think I have certainly been able to impress them. I had two different professors for three of my classes yesterday. The first professor…I have a total crush on him. He’s so damn cute and sweet. He’s younger than me, but he was really enthusiastic and was helping with the students without getting in my way, which hasn’t been the case with all of the professors. I’ll be teaching another section of this guy’s class again tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to it. I also think he might bat for our team. I definitely got a bit of a ping on my gaydar. At the end of the class, we were talking about the number of times I’ve taught this, and when I told him, he said, “You’d think it was your first time.” For a second I was worried he thought I had done an awful job, but then he said, “You teach with such enthusiasm and passion to have taught this so many times in the last week or so.” So, I took that as a compliment.

I taught two sections for the other professor. The first one didn’t go as planned. I think as a tenured professor, he was reticent to have someone else come in and teach his class. He also didn’t want me discussing and guiding the students during the activity I had for them. However, once the first class was over, his attitude changed completely. He let me teach the class as I had been teaching and spending time with each of the students guiding them through the assignment. I think he saw that I really did know what I was doing, and he was quite impressed and told me as much after the second class. I’m a charmer, and I’m good at what I do, as long as I’m allowed to do it my way. I think he came to understand that during the classes.

I’ve gotten overwhelmingly positive feedback from students and professors alike. I worked very hard to get this class to be exactly what I wanted, and for the most part, it’s gone very well. I hope that continues for the rest of the week. Of course, there have been some students who acted bored with the whole thing. Either they knew “all about it already” and didn’t need my guidance (in each case, they were wrong), or they were too “cool” to actually do the work and put in the least amount of effort, to which they regretted when I made them talk to the class about their assignment. I make them all do this, but they quickly realize when they haven’t done the work, they just look like an idiot because it’s not a difficult assignment. One student got pissed because I wouldn’t let them have their iced coffee in the museum. Seriously, it’s a museum. We have a sign that clearly says no food or beverages allowed. The troublesome students who are the exceptions have been few and far between. For the most part, they have been really engaged with the material.

PS I used the picture above because I really need to do some laundry so I’ll look presentable the rest of the week. I wasn’t able to do laundry this weekend because I had a bad migraine. We had storms all day yesterday and are expecting more today, and weather changes seem to be the main thing these days that triggers my migraines.


Long Week Ahead

I will be working my ass off this week. I have a dozen or more classes to teach, an exhibit opening, a gallery talk I’m giving, and who knows what else might pop up, and then there is alumni weekend. I doubt I’ll have time this year to hookup with anyone from the alumni board like last year, although that was a hell of a lot of fun. I just don’t think I’ll have the time. If I am in my actual office more than an hour this week, it will be a miracle. Although, I need to be in my office at least a bit because I’m still working on my public programming schedule for this semester and next. There’s a lot going on, and I know I’ll have a ton of emails to read and answer.

On top of all that, this weekend is Vermont Pride. I won’t be going to the Pride Ball or anything like that this year, but I do plan to go to the parade on Sunday. Some friends and I plan to get a table at one of the restaurants on the parade route and take some time to relax, have a few drinks, some good food, and watch the parade go by. It should be a fun way to wind down after such a busy week.

Thankfully, I have next Monday and Tuesday off to recuperate. I’ll probably need it.


Busy, Busy Week

I’m in need of some R&R. I’ve had an extremely busy and tiring week at work, and my week isn’t even over yet. Tomorrow, I am supposed to attend a conference as a representative of our museum. Thankfully, I have a free day on Sunday, but then I’m working for the next six days. It’s our busiest time of the year, and I have very little breathing room. I’m teaching multiple classes every day, we have an exhibit opening next week, and I’m giving a gallery talk next Friday.  I’ve been coming home and basically collapsing on my couch. While it may sound like I’m complaining, I’m really not. All of these things are parts of my job that I love. I just wish all of it was not crammed into a two week period. I’ve always said that my job is either feast or famine. Right now, it’s a feast, but I’m looking forward to a little famine where I have nothing pressing that needs doing. I hate being rushed, and right now, I feel rushed trying to get everything done.


Teaching

The classes I taught went pretty well yesterday. The first one didn’t go quite as smoothly as the other two, but it went ok once I figured out that none of the students had actually read the book which was the whole purpose of using these particular artifacts. I was not surprised they had not read the book, and I suspect few of them will read the whole thing. Many of them didn’t even know what the book was about, so once I supplied them with some basic information and allowed them to search the internet to back up their hunches, it was smooth sailing. I teach variations of this class all the time, so it’s not a difficult class to teach. The only difficulty was that there were basically no breaks between the three classes which started at 8 am and went until 12:05 pm. I sometimes forget how much wear and tear is is on my back to stand for four solid hours. 

This was one of the shorter days since we were basically finished by lunchtime. Some days we are teaching from 8 am to 4 pm. Those are going to be long days. I wish I’d been able to have a snack around mid morning. If I go too long without eating, my blood sugar drops and I end up feeling like crap. My coworkers will cover some of the classes, especially on those 8-4 days when I have to have a lunch break.

My coworkers will actually be handling the the classes this morning. I have had a doctor’s appointment schedule months before these classes were scheduled. My doctor’s appointment also is in the middle of the morning, so it will take up parts of three different classes, all of which I will have to miss. However, I’ll be teaching three or four classes this afternoon. It really depends on when I get out of the doctor’s office and get back to the museum. If I have time to eat lunch before the noontime class, then I’ll probably teach it. Otherwise, my coworkers will handle it as well.


The Teacher

The Teacher
By Leslie Pinckney Hill – 1880-1960

Lord, who am I to teach the way
To little children day by day,
So prone myself to go astray?

I teach them KNOWLEDGE, but I know
How faint they flicker and how low
The candles of my knowledge glow.

I teach them POWER to will and do,
But only now to learn anew
My own great weakness through and through.

I teach them LOVE for all mankind
And all God’s creatures, but I find
My love comes lagging far behind.

Lord, if their guide I still must be,
Oh let the little children see
The teacher leaning hard on Thee.

For the next two weeks, I will be teaching classes almost all day. I always teach a few classes each semester for the museum, but I will be teaching more classes over the next two weeks than I have taught since be been at the museum. I love to teach, and I’m not complaining, but I’d have liked to have spread all of these classes out over three or four weeks rather than crammed into two weeks. I won’t have to teach all of the classes, since the schedule I was given doesn’t take into account lunch breaks, so my coworkers will cover those classes. I will lead the majority of the classes with help from one of my colleagues but he will lead some of the other classes and I will assist, just to give me a break. When I was teaching full time, I was preparing and teaching thirty different classes a week. However I haven’t done that in seven years. I also focused mostly on teaching, but with these classes, I’m still responsible for all of my other work as well. One of the good things is that I will be teaching the same class over and over again. I should have the whole thing memorized after the first day. I’ll probably be teaching this class in my sleep.

About the Poet

Leslie Pinckney Hill was born in Lynchburg, Virginia on May 14, 1880. He attended public schools in East Orange, New Jersey before graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in 1903. He earned a master’s degree a year later.

Hill’s published works are the poetry collection The Wings of Oppression (The Stratford Co., 1921) and the play Toussaint L’ Ouverture, A Dynamic History (The Christopher Publishing House, 1928). Hill’s work has also been anthologized, most notably in James Weldon Johnson’s Book of American Negro Poetry (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1922).

Johnson said of Hill’s verse: “[H]e writes in a quiet restrained scholarly tone, with a modicum of lyric ecstasy with never anything approaching abandon or a passionate break with decorum. His is philosophical rather than lyrical. All the poems in his first volume, ‘The Wings of Oppression’ (1921) are more or less in this vein. That this calmness of manner, however, does not imply lack of intensity is demonstrated by the serene power achieved in the sonnet ‘So Quietly.’”

In addition to being a poet and playwright, Hill was also an educator and community leader and organizer. He started his career as an instructor of English and Education at Tuskegee University. In 1907, he went to Manassas Industrial Institute, where he took a position as principal. Six years later, he took his final position in education at Cheyney Training School, which he expanded into Cheyney Training School for Teachers (now, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania), an accredited teachers’ college. After his retirement, the college bestowed him with the title President-Emeritus.

Hill died on February 15, 1960.


Busy Week

This week has been incredibly busy. Actually, work has been busy for the past few weeks as we get ready for the students to return to campus. I am teaching more classes this upcoming semester than I’ve ever taught at the museum, and I have more programs planned than I ever have before. The classes are basically set in stone, and I’ve been working my tail off trying to get the speakers for the programs set in stone. I’m having limited success getting people to answer back, but slowly but surely, it’s coming together. In addition to all of that, I have several student fairs where I have to represent the museum, and homecoming is a month away, and that’s always a crazy time at the museum. 

There’s a lot going on and I’ve had little time for anything but work. Usually, I can check my personal emails, look at Facebook, or play on my phone. All of that has been limited these last few weeks. I have barely even had time to talk to colleagues about anything other than work. I was in meetings almost all day yesterday. Today, I also have several meetings plus a tour for foreign dignitaries. While I have nothing on my schedule for tomorrow, that in no way means it is going to be an easy day. I seem to be constantly coordinating with other people on campus, answering emails, and basically putting out fires so things run more smoothly. I’m not sure when things will slow down again. I know they will eventually, but there is no light at the end of the tunnel right now.