Making Plans for My (Still Super Busy) Break

As the semester comes to a close, it’s time to start making some long-term thesis goals and specific plans to keep up my momentum between semesters. After talking with Dr. Zamora about my schedule, I’ve actually decided to postpone the second half of this thesis course until summer, when I’ll be able to work on it during the Writer’s Retreat. I’m definitely going to have to set some strict goals for myself, because otherwise I have a feeling it’ll be tough to keep a steady pace when I have such a long break.

Of course, for me, it’s not really going to be a break, since I have a full time job as a high school teacher. That’s actually the main reason I’m taking a step back from my thesis work; taking two graduate courses on top of teaching full time (all while fully in-person) was really difficult for me, and I don’t think I’d be able to handle such a workload again in the spring. 

Instead, I’m planning to register for just one course on writing creative nonfiction. My hope is that I’ll be able to use this course to somewhat continue working on my thesis, as I would like my final product to be a detailed narrative about teaching during the pandemic. I also think this class will be useful to explore creating more vignette-style pieces of memoir like the one I shared during my presentation. I’m still toying with how much creativity to include in my final product, so a course on writing creative nonfiction will be the perfect avenue for me to explore these types of questions. 

In the time between the fall and spring semesters, I’d like to finish transcribing my interviews. Having the full text of all interviews available will be useful because I hope to draw inspiration from them during my spring class. My goal is to continue doing some light analysis/coding throughout the spring semester—things like highlighting significant words or phrases and making note of patterns that arise between the interviews—so that by the time summer rolls around, I can jump right into the writing process without too much difficulty.

Of course, as this semester’s blog posts have proven, I’m an incurably chronic procrastinator, so I’m a little (read: extremely) concerned that I’ll totally abandon my thesis until June, especially since next semester at work is going to be a busy one (in spring, I’ll be teaching three classes instead of the two I have now). Hopefully, though, taking a class that’s tangentially related to my thesis will help me stay on track!

Back from Break and Ready to Procrastinate

Once again, I haven’t gotten as much done as I’d have liked this week. Thanksgiving break went by way too quickly; despite my grand plans to work on my literature review and transcriptions on the Friday after Thanksgiving, I didn’t actually get any work done for either of my classes. I think I needed a day to just relax and recharge. 

Saturday and Sunday were spent in Milford, PA, after my husband planned a surprise trip for my birthday (which is today, so I’m going to keep this blog short!), but I did get a little bit of work done on Sunday night. I went through my literature review and started making some of the changes that my classmates suggested to me on the day I presented. Specifically, I cited specific government mandates regarding education in the pandemic, expanded on the importance of studying foreign language teachers, and found some sources that explore the drawbacks of fully remote learning. 

As I continue to expand my literature review, I’d like to find additional sources detailing the benefits of remote learning, as well as cite research about fully in-person learning. As Dr. Zamora mentioned, there are a lot of assumptions about the different types of instruction, so I want to make sure that my thesis contains only evidence-based information. 

Finally, I want to continue the transcription process. I’ve allowed it to fall by the wayside lately, so I want to get back into it with the goal of having all of my interviews transcribed before we return to classes in spring. I’ve been procrastinating a bit because the interviews I have left to transcribe are some of the longer ones, so I know it’s going to be a lengthy process to get everything typed out accurately and fully. 

Hopefully by this time next week, I’ll have a bit more progress to report!