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Of the work in my field what has been most influential to me most recently, are the calls to create communities of practice within our centers. As you might imagine, this idea resonates deeply with me. Drawing on the work of sociologists Etienne Wenger and Jean Lave, theorists have argued promoting communities of practice in the center encourages the consultants to learn from one another, and to develop knowledge together. I see this work as a natural foundation for the argument I make to use hospitality as a frame for the work of the center because building communities of practice in the center provides the consultant a space from which to welcome the writer.
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The last couple of weeks have been phenomenally busy at work, but it’s not like I didn’t know they would be. Much like all my instructor friends know the last few weeks of the semester mean spending all their time in grading jail, I know the first couple weeks of the semester mean spending all my time doing the “Come to the Writing Center” dog and pony show. The goal is that by the end of the 2nd and 3rd weeks of the semester someone (90% me) visits all the English 100 and 101 classes. Yes, Virginia, at a school with an undergraduate population twice as big as that of your home town, that is A LOT! You know what else it is? It is exhausting.
Yes, I do this every semester. Yes, I know it is coming. There just isn’t anyway to prepare for the amount of energy it takes to give a 10 minute monologue to different audiences 3 times an hour. In a way it is like grading jail, just front loaded.
Surprisingly, this post isn’t really about complaining. I know. Shocker. It’s about what I’ve come to realize, over the last two weeks.
- If I ever have a nervous break down it is going to happen in the middle of one of these visits. I’ll be in the middle of the “Here’s why you should use our service” spiel, and I’ll just throw up my hands and walk out. I may or may not mutter obscenities under my breath.
- This is the semester that the consultants put together a welcome video that we can shop around to hopefully lessen the number of human visits. I’ve given them no choice, and a deadline of April 15th.
- Oddly enough, when that happens I plan to use that time to start a classroom visit campaign to another set of classes. Have we discussed my masochistic nature? I’m pretty sure we have.
- If I ever finish the dissertation, and get my ‘real’ degree, I’m going to have some serious soul searching to do about whether or not this is the place for me.
- Also, I’m pretty sure you know you are a writer, when not writing/writing very little for two weeks gives you ulcers.
Really, all this week I’ve had stomach issues of one kind or another. Today they culminated in dull pain every time I ate. So, for the next week or so it is all bland food/and herbal tea for me. The caffeine headache ought to kick in tomorrow afternoon in the middle of a writing binge fest.