Time Out! four-month reflection on deanly duties

I’ve been wearing one extra hat this semester, adding “temporary dean-type” to the various kinds of family, community, and teacher hats that I wear. I haven’t learned all that much new about myself, but the process of wearing multiple hats has helped me clarify who I am and where I want to go.

I love to teach. I do it well, and even though I’m a naturally happy person, I always find a special kind of happy when I’m in the classroom.

I have ideas.  Scholarly ideas. Publishable ideas. Once I regain some of that time that I’m losing this academic year, I look forward to getting some work out there. In the meantime, I’m keeping a brainstorming file.

I have the makings of an effective administrator. But I work at a place that is already functioning at a very high level (I know how lucky I am!). I have amazing colleagues. From time to time, I hear people at other institutions say “I’m looking to have more impact,” meaning they want to move into administration. Other than keeping the cogs of a well-oiled machine running smoothly, I don’t find that the work of a mid-level administrator at my institution has much impact. Yes, I recognize that maintaining the status quo is difficult and important when the status quo is pretty darn good.  And, I’ll totally admit that it’s fun, detail ridden, challenges my people skills, and also makes me happy. But it’s not the same as teaching and watching/hearing the light bulbs go on in students’ heads.

So far I think I have three take-aways from the first four months: (1) I have completely accepted that doing my best will mean that sometimes I’ll still make mistakes.  I’m not even losing sleep over it.  (2) I’m going to be much more productive with my time now that I’m learning some tricks for better managing it! (3) I’m more creative, more effective, and happier when I’m busy.  I’ve always kinda known this about myself; this year is just putting it to the test in a very extreme way…  I’m just not a lady of leisure.

I wanted to write this post about the awesomeness of my intensive music theory experience. But it morphed into something else…
Posts to write this week (it’s fall break!): effectiveness of daily homework, awesomeness of low-stakes podcasts, and some reflections on why the class dynamic this semester ended up being so good.


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