Sunday, October 20, 2013

Adjunct Event, Memoir Workshop - A Stimulating Weekend

Blogs should be short, right? Well, Saturday I attended an adjunct event at Montgomery County Community College. The session on Classroom Management was helpful, and on Blackboard Collaborate/Smart Notebook, eye-opening. Long breakfast and lunch sessions allowed conversations with many adjuncts—Leslie from English, John from Computers, Alfonso from Chemistry, Don from Philosophy, and Camille from Instructional Design. I met Tracey from Nursing, who ran the event, and Deb, who has been sending out Assessment info. She and Camille are working on a grant right now. The afternoon session broke out by department. The Humanities session fought against becoming a bitch fest perpetuated by one adjunct, but we all did at least get to introduce ourselves and continued with more civilized conversations afterward. It was great to talk with Obed (Art), Marleen (Art), and Maureen (History). Also met Jane, Judy, and Leslie from English. Way too much negative energy in that one (unsupervised) session, however. The day ended with adjunct volunteers advising the others on various topics--Obed showed his website; Leslie explained the ins and outs of using Blackboard to save class work from semester to semester. All I can say is the food, served in the Parkhouse atrium, was great, and the info and networking were well worth spending a Saturday on campus. I'm sure I'll be talking with many of these people. We really forged some bonds.

On Sunday, it was much the same. The free memoir workshop was run by Rosemont College's MFA program from 12 noon to about 4:15. Carla Spataro, a classmate of mine at Rosemont (she was an MFA candidate, and me an MA), now heads up the MFA program there. Four speakers (Beth Kephart, Linda Joy Myers, Robert Waxler, and Jerry Waxler) addressed memoir topics and challenged the audience with exercises. Their insight and encouragement were invaluable. I found myself volunteering to read my paragraph exercises aloud, a first for me and surprising. I met Paulette and her friends, who all read as well, and talked with Jerry about his newly published Memoir Revolution. I cornered Bob Waxler about his program to read literature with inmates and renewed my acquaintance with Carla. I also met MFA student volunteers. Tara's dress was lovely (it was a blue/gray floral affair, comfy, made of t-shirt cotton, but with long sleeves) and I told her so--she got it from an English-Irish catalog. She has two teenagers; I gave her my Empty Nest business card. I also met Angela (with a face like an angel, freckles, blue eyes); she drove down from Williamsport to hear Linda's talk. She has a 7-year-old daughter named Nadia. She left early, so I never had a chance to say goodbye.

Whereas we spent last weekend sailing our Thistle off the coast of Annapolis, this weekend was more of an inward journey—with the goal of becoming a better teacher and writer, and meeting more people interested in doing the same.

No comments: