Thursday, May 03, 2007

The totally bearable lightness of a job well done

[I think this is at least the second post where I've punned off the title of Kundera's book, and I didn't even like it that much. Go figure.]

I don't want to count my chickens before they're clichéd, but I'm feeling really good right now, so at the risk of jinxing myself, I'm going to cliché myself on the back for kicking serious grad school ass this semester. First, there is a good chance that I've earned straight A's. I still have two short-ish papers due next week, which I'm not sure I have my head around yet, and I handed in two papers this week that I'm not hugely confident in, but I think I might be underestimating myself, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed (another cliché!) for A's on everything. I got an A on a presentation I did last week (which I think the class actually enjoyed, as opposed to turning their heads off for it), and I got an A+ on a paper last week, with a note from the prof that she wants a copy of it to use as a model, and that I should look for a place to publish it. (I doubt the latter will happen, but the praise was great to hear.) I also came in first in a fun but essentially meaningless inter-class essay contest. The point of the contest was actually to write a little essay/article/letter for the "Teacher to Teacher" section in some education mag that I can't remember the name of, so, theoretically, this means I should try to publish this as well, but I think the classes involved got behind schedule and the deadline has passed (past? I always fuck that up). Also, one of my professors (hopefully the one who will wind up being my student teaching coordinator) has given me, individually, and my class as a whole, tons of praise lately. Most recently she said that she wished we could all start student teaching next semester since she thinks we're ready to go. It was a great compliment because she's the kind of person who wouldn't have said anything at all if there was even one person in the class who she thought still needed a little work. There have also been some hints among my peers that I'm becoming the "guy who knows how to do stuff right, so, if you want a good grade, ask him about your work before handing it in," which is very flattering.

When I look back on how I started this semester feeling intimidated and terrified, convinced that I wouldn't be able to cut it in grad school, I'm extremely proud of the work I've accomplished and the reputation for excellence I'm achieving. I'll be disappointed if I don't get straight A's in the end, but I'll still be pleased with my accomplishment. Now all I have to do is make sure it doesn't go to my head so I can do it again when summer school starts (and then in the Fall, and then during student teaching. Then I can sleep for a bit before the "real world" starts).