September 28, 2018

Well, hello there. This week I am rounding on my 27th birthday and my 1-year wedding anniversary. It’s been quite a year −

I’ve felt like I’ve been full to bursting with ideas, typing madly from the moment I get to work till I leave. Full of notes, brainstorms, talks I want to give someday, exercises I want to try in the classroom. It’s been a fertile period for my brain and I’ve felt really confident in my abilities lately.

But yesterday I made it back to the meditation room for the first time this semester and I realized how quickly I’ve gotten out of the practice of Doing Nothing purposefully and for a set amount of time. I fidgeted. I breathed shallowly. Thoughts swooped and drifted through my head like the ghosts in Mario Brothers. There was a tempting moment where I thought, “I’ll just take a few minutes and puzzle over this work problem while I’m here,” as if I wasn’t already doing something very important! Nothing!

I’ve noticed that even though I’m in a period of high motivation and ideas, I still need to keep up the habits that separate my work and the rest of my life. One great way to keep those things from bleeding into each other is to rely on rituals

cues that your body gets used to over time that say, “This is what you’re doing right now. You can transition. You can focus on this.” Meditation 2x a week is one important ritual for me; walking Persey after work is another. What are your rituals?

  1. Having Faith In Your Students. Love this. “I go into every class believing that what I am saying to students is vitally important and that they have the ability to change their thinking and behaviors; I believe that my students can go beyond what I anticipate. I can proudly say that every day I work with students, I see glimmers of genius. Nothing can be more fulfilling to a teacher. But it is all a matter of faith.”
  2. They’ve Found It. Can They Read It? Adding Academic Reading Strategies to Your IL Toolkit. This was one of the readings I found this week that got my mind racing with the implications. Especially startling for me is this finding: “These types of articles have become increasingly specialized and complex. A 2002 paper comparing scholarly articles published in the 1970s with those in the late 1990s found articles in most fields to be longer and to contain more references…Asking a student to write a 5 page paper on capital punishment is to turn that student loose into a thicket of information resources in which hundreds of thousands of pages have been written on the minute aspects within the broader context of capital punishment.” I believe these findings complicate the “lazy students” trope. For a long time I’ve thought that smartphones, video and other visual mediums, and Twitter have allowed our young adults’ reading stamina to atrophy. And maybe that’s true – we are all experiencing assaults on our attention at all times. But I see more clearly now that is my responsibility to ensure that our library collections are used effectively, and the fact is that most students have trouble using them. Excited about what that means for my classroom in the future.
  3. XOXO in an Email: What Your Sign-Off Says About You, Vogue. “Closings (ways of saying ‘goodbye’) are the trickiest points in a conversation, written or oral,” reminded Lackoff in an email. “You have to both get away and convince your addressee that you still like them and want to continue the relationship in the future.” I use xoxo with my mom…can’t imagine using it with my coworkers, but with other women I work creatively with, absolutely. It’s so cute. It’s an acronym but instead of evoking a chat room, xoxo has vintage valentine vibes.
  4. The Apples of New York, The New York Botanical Garden. I got my image from this collection today. Definitely go check them out, there are such great (public domain) images of fruit, flora, and fauna to be found here!
  5. Finding My Voice, ACRLog. Can I share my own piece, maybe just this once? I just started blogging for ACRLog, a blog for academic and research librarians, where I’ll be talking about my teaching journey and library news! 

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