Monday, 19 January 2015

Post 41: Everything's ramping up again! Writing Group, TCG and TAing!

Phew, what a busy last few weeks it's been!

My writing group is starting up again this semester, though in a markedly different capacity than last semester. This time it'll be a once-a-week, Tuesday afternoon, dig a hole for myself in the Grad Student House date right now, with a few of my colleagues. Format-wise, it'll be very similar to last semester, with everyone bringing work independent of the others, but working together in a very supportive space. And - Matt at the GSS has enabled me to book a regular afternoon time for the WHOLE semester in one shot, so that's really helpful, too!

I'm also trying to sort out a meeting time with another colleague who can't make the Tuesdays, so it looks like J— and I will be trying to make Monday afternoons our writing time.

This is really great, and I'm very excited for having the structural support of writing time.

Awesome rainy evening walk! I love the light spiderwebbing in the tree! :)
I'm staring down the calendar for my first tutorials (3 in a row!) tomorrow morning, which is going to be tiring, but I'm really excited for them. I love meeting my students for the first time, and it's great that it gets to happen every so often. Today my fellow TAs and the instructor for the course met to discuss tutorial themes (the course is looking at environmental issues through food) and a layout of the assignments the groups are doing for the next few months (we met last week to discuss this already), and now I'm even more excited. The themes we're taking to the tutorials include:

Industrial agriculture (meat production, grain production, animal ethics)
Organic foods
100-Mile Diet
Traditional food systems
Industrial Water Use
Small scale food production systems (family farms, permaculture, community gardens)
Food Waste Management
Aquaculture (fish farms, oyster farms, fishing)

There's so much to talk about in each one! Each tutorial will take one theme and students will specialize within the theme, and will do a series of assignments building skills around critical thinking and assessment over the semester. And the big challenge: the tutorials are only 50 minutes in each tutorial.

So I've planned out my icebreaker, and we'll be doing nametags as well, and to choose a theme (I'll bring about 5 to each tutorial), we'll have a Dotmocracy to pick a tutorial theme after a short pitch for each one. In this case, I think the Dotmocracy will work really well for choosing, because it doesn't take too much time, it's very participatory (everyone partakes), and we already have the themes to choose from. There also aren't too many of them, which I think is helpful. Normally, the full Dotmocracy procedure would include ideas being contributed through the session and then being voted on, but we won't quite be doing that here. We'll also be reflecting on the 24-hr Food Journals that they were assigned from last week, which is a great assignment to start students thinking about their food choices, where their food comes from, it's production, and all sorts of things related to what they specifically are eating. I think it should be great fun. With a little bit more prep tonight, I'll be ready to go!

Beautiful evening sunset, looking out from the McPherson Library. 
Work with the municipal Environmental Advisory Committee I've been a part of since September, has been busy busy busy over the past few weeks. In October we started talking about putting together a presentation for Council, expressing just how important we think it is for them to adopt a climate change lens (both on mitigation and adaptation), and then we were trying to balance that with other environmental initiatives and projects that we think are important. So over the past few days we've been finishing the two report documents that we had to get them today by 3PM. It's great to see everything come together, and now we'll sit and wait a bit to see Council's reaction.

And my lovely Thesis Completion Group has started up again. This semester's different again, too, as I joined the Friday group (on Tuesdays I now TA), and it's so great just to chat everything through, get off my heart what I'm anxious about, and how to work through those worries, so I can get closer to finishing this degree and thesis.

Speaking of! Time to get going and clearing the decks so I can get more writing done!

No comments:

Post a Comment