Back to Work

In the last month, school has started and I’ve slowly adapted to my “new normal.”

Summer breaks are nice, but they’re largely “work at your own pace and on your own schedule,” so for someone like me who’s essentially a night owl (I love working at night), it’s hard to adjust back to the standard 9-to-5 scheme that we all know and love.  I’ve done it before, so I should be used to it.  But truthfully, it’s taking longer than I’d anticipated to adjust and that’s not good.

My classes themselves are pretty nice, and my students are a pretty decent lot.  The only thing that passes for excitement is that I’ve been assigned to rooms that I haven’t used in years, meaning that’s more of an “Uh, okay,” moment, than anything else.  As I often tell people, teaching is more of a “new face, same stuff” environment; it’s like the old proverb, “There’s nothing new under the Sun.”  Semester in, semester out – it’s pretty much the same lectures, the same questions, and the same books.  The only thing that changes are the faces, and honestly, after a few years, even those start to look similar.  I’ve been trying to find ways to liven up my work – if not for my students, then for myself, because I often find myself bored by my own presentations.  I’ve done them so many times in so many different ways that it all seems so monotonous.

I’m in a rut, and we’re only into Week Four.  Ten more to go, my friends.

Since I was in grad school, I’ve wanted to introduce a lesson through some sort of game play.  Originally, it was through computer game play – Civilization or Age of Empires – just to get students talking and interested in the development of ancient societies.  In fact, while still a grad student I’d managed to actually draft out a plan of action, one that I would implement once I’d finished my studies and had a class of my own.  Unfortunately, that dream was shattered (a long and complicated tale better suited for another time), and rather than being seen as a “Johnny Come-Lately,” I abandoned the whole thing.

But . . . I have been looking into the idea of using role-playing games as a potential teaching tool.  I know that there are classes at various schools that use Dungeons and Dragons for courses, although my understanding is that most of those classes are centered around English or Philosophy.  Frankly, that wouldn’t be too hard to adapt to my needs, and I’m almost certain that there’s existing research to help me out.

There are problems with this idea, so I’m currently scanning various journals and monographs to see if I can smooth out a few of the kinks in my plan.  It’d be a couple of years before I could do anything anyway, but I think it has potential.  Once I have my footing, I may even toss out a few things here to see what people think.

We have likely had our last 80+F degree day for the year, and I’m thrilled because this means I can return to the kitchen!  I mentioned earlier this year that I might return to my “themed dinner” stunt, and I’m of the mind that this may actually happen sooner, rather than later.  I need to consult my cookbooks again, but I’m thinking about doing something for next Sunday.  It’s the first weekend of October, and that’s as good a starting point as any.

But even if that doesn’t happen . . . I’m just happy that it’s cool enough for me to cook!


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