We are in the midst of Indian summer here in Macomb, and in the middle of the semester as well. In fact, I find myself at midterm in many things:
I’m halfway through the FIRST running program. Tuesday speed work: 7 x 800m, including one at 2:57 (5:55/mi). Thursday we did 8 miles in 1:07:33 (8:21/mi). Today I ran 17 miles in 2:37:20 (9:15/mi). The last two miles today were tough, but I finished without dropping to a walk. So, progress. If we keep to the schedule, the marathon would be Saturday, December 17. Next week: 3×1600, 10 mi tempo, 13 mi long.
I’ve been teaching 480, where the subject matter is very familiar to me, and 199, which is out of my traditional area. Both have been very rewarding intellectually; it’s been nice, even if challenging, to teach something very different. I rewrote the 480 syllabus completely this summer, and I’m pleased with the way things are going for the students who are intellectually engaged: it’s clear the course structure is working.
But I have to conclude that my “Put the readings on the web” plan has failed, in whole or in part: many 480 students aren’t doing the reading, or are doing it with low comprehension. Our classroom sucks for discussion, but we should be doing better. So I’m left with no alternative but to make some changes to “encourage” folks to do the reading.
In 199 I am pleased by the last week or so: two students I thought had dropped reappeared, quite a few students have come a long way in their assignments in the past two weeks, and there is a core of folks who are making really good progress. The course is doing what Dave Banash and I envisioned: it’s transforming the ways students read and write.
I’m extremely happy to be playing football every Sunday with a great group of WIU profs and other folks. Today I watched Florida lose a close one to LSU; they fought hard and got back in it after giving up some cheap stuff at the beginning. Halfway through the SEC season, the Gators are 3-2. A little disappointing, but I am glad to see them playing good defense. And what a day for football, regardless.
And the most important middle: Erin’s, which is still expanding, but dropping as well. Not long now…