Tuesday 18 December 2018

December: Finishing What We Started

December is here! For better or worse, we've made it to the end of the year. I remember thinking that 2017 was tumultuous, but I guess it was just a warm up for 2018. Some really wonderful things have happened, like I got to start my first full time job after earning my Ph.D., but there have been some heartbreaks as well. Glad to have made it to this point. I'm ready to celebrate Christmas and welcome in 2019. Below is the image we used for our family Christmas card. Merry Christmas!

I finished my grading today! Grades for all 82 students went into the final grade book. It always feels slightly unnerving to submit grades at the end of the semester-- so final! But I do feel good to officially have the fall semester behind me, as well as the spring semester to look forward to. For final projects my students submitted a variety of work. In my Business & Technical Writing course the students submitted final portfolios, as well as did presentations on the practicum work they had done over the semester. In my Advanced Writing course my students also submitted portfolios and presented on their writing identities. I appreciated their introspection and willingness to share.

My College Writing courses ended with final reflection letters. For most of the students in those two course sections this was their first semester in college, and overall, they did really well. They talked about engagement in the course, learning to overcome preconceived notions or concerns, and about conducting reviews of the peer's work and the way that had helped them grow. One comment in particular that meant a lot to me was from a quiet student who had told me mid-semester that she would be transferring to a community college closer to home at the break. In her letter, she wrote:

I really appreciated this comment because this student wasn't trying to earn a better grade or future approval. She just wanted to let me know this before the end of their time at Olivet, and I really appreciated it. It's comments and reflections like that that inspire me to keep working hard and appreciating my job. 

Outside of the classroom I've attended five of ten holiday parties/events/gatherings for the year. So far, I've enjoyed them all. One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is the baking and food preparation! I've done a gluten free vanilla noel cake, a cheese and cracker Christmas tree board, and gluten free cookies: strawberry thumbprint and chocolate ginger. 

This week has been particularly festive. On the last day of finals Wade came down to IL, and we went to see John Legend in Chicago! If attending his concert isn't the highlight of my Christmas season I will be surprised. We saw A Legendary Christmas Tour at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. It was a chilly, rainy night, but John Legend's singing was warm and rich-- I think like what butter would sound like. It was a wonderful night, and he sang both Christmas songs and a lot of his classics. 

This upcoming week we will attend Wade's holiday party and bring our gluten free version of Mary Berry's Bakewell Tart recipe for a tart competition (first attempt posted below). Here's hoping! My extended family will come into town this weekend and next week, and we will celebrate the holiday together. The new year will bring both a fresh start of a new semester as well as a trip abroad. For those reasons, I will plan to post my next blog mid February with an update on all stated events! 

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year! 

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