Monday, April 25, 2011

End of winter, beginning of real work

So my Winter class ended on what I consider to be a high note. The classes in the last couple of weeks seemed to be much more fun from my end, students were engaged with the material and, during the presentations of their final projects, everyone had good questions and seemed genuinely interested in each others' work.

The exam day was at 9am on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. What a God awful time for an exam. A few students balked because they couldn't go home for the holidays. I responded that I was also stuck in London and that it wasn't so unusual. They could still go home afterward and enjoy at least part of the weekend away from school. The results of the exam were kind of surprising; sure, it was an open-book exam, but it required a lot of thought in constructing good arguments. There were a few real gems in their final essays and a lot of different approaches to a very broad question. I was definitely proud of how they really absorbed the material and were able to synthesise relatively astute observations and arguments.

But now the real work begins. Though I was able to get a lot of writing done on the dissertation over the Winter (one of the mane advantages of being able to structure my time), I have several months of uninterrupted writing time ahead of me. I hope to make some decent progress and finish at least a chapter and a half, if not two. That might be optimistic, but I'd like to think it's possible.

At the moment, I've taken in a lost soul who, because of political instability in the country to which she was supposed to travel, needed a place to crash for a few months. She can't afford to pay rent, but she has offered her services as a research assistant. How cool is that? I've never really had that luxury, but I am enjoying the spoils of someone to do all the mundane musical analysis so I can focus on the bigger picture. I should have figured this out long ago.

Onward and upward for an interesting Summer.

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