Libby Gruner is an English professor at mid-career who started her family in graduate school. She lives in Richmond with her husband and two children, whose 7-year age gap means that she will be the parent of a teenager for quite a while yet.
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May 10, 2010
Our campus has a May term, an early summer school term that starts up soon after graduation and offers students the opportunity to pick up one class rather intensively over the course of the next four or six weeks. I've never taught it; every May I just feel grateful to have made it to graduation unscathed, and I usually take a few weeks to decompress before I return to my research projects and to planning my fall semester courses.
May 3, 2010
It feels like it's been a while since I wrote anything about being a parent in this space. It's been a busy semester at work, and I've had a lot on my mind related to teaching and advising, I suppose. It's also the case that I'm in that delightful stage of parenting that doesn't require hands-on attention every second to keep the kids alive. My daughter sends me a facebook message periodically — or, more often, just plays another round in one of our ongoing word games online — so I know she's all right.
April 26, 2010
Friday I held the last meeting of my seminar. I often find the last day of classes difficult; I always want to sum everything up nicely, but I'm usually running a bit behind and am lucky if I manage to remember to wish them well on their finals. This year, though, was different. I had only one course this semester (I've got some reassigned time for administrative work) and it was a junior/senior seminar. Most of my students will graduate in two weeks. They were acutely aware that this was their last class — for most of them, the last college class they will ever take.
April 19, 2010
I spent the day with rubrics and spreadsheets. This is not exactly the life I envisioned when I began my graduate work — at the time I think I imagined long conversations with colleagues about books, interesting classes filled with eager students hanging on my every word, and maybe a nice office where I could keep all those great books.
April 12, 2010
Sometimes I think it's a good thing I'm not wealthy*. Not that I can't imagine all kinds of good things to do with lots of money, of course, from traveling to donating to paying for the kids' college to…
April 5, 2010
It's Nick's spring break week this week. The weather is gorgeous — spring has catapulted us overnight into summer, and the flowers seem to be vying with each other to display their showiest effects. It's almost too hot out, but after a long, hard winter it's hard to complain about that. We had a lovely Easter celebration over the weekend — friends, food and wine were all abundant, and everyone seemed relaxed and happy. But. (There's always a "but," isn't there?)
March 29, 2010
A few months ago I offered some advice to my daughter in this space, about keeping her options open and getting a good summer job. I stand by that advice, and now, in the pre-registration advising season, I find I have a little more.
March 22, 2010
When I saw the piece on "the other 'F' word" in this week's Chronicle, I have to admit it took me a while before I felt like reading it. Really? I thought, are we still talking about families and the academy? Aren't we done yet?
March 15, 2010
There are some undertakings so overwhelming that, if you knew too much about them before diving in, you might never embark on them. Having children, for example, is way too daunting if you think about the time and money spent, the income and sleep lost — you'd never do it if you drew up a detailed budget beforehand. Writing a dissertation — or a book — is a similarly unmanageable project that might cow anyone who really thought hard about how long it would take for how little reward.
March 8, 2010
A colleague e-mailed me recently — would I be interested in getting together an informal group of folks, every now and then, to talk about teaching? Would I! This colleague, I should say, is a master teacher himself — winner of innumerable awards, author of a book on teaching himself. I've been wanting to reach out to him for a while to talk about some of the things I'm hoping for our first year seminar program — but he got to me first.