The big event of March was my wife’s illness and my return home to support her recuperation. Everything else suddenly became secondary or tertiary. I learned that being a caregiver is hard work, it is easy to make mistakes, and you don’t necessarily get better at it by trying harder. After a couple of weeks she had made significant progress in her recuperation, and I was able to turn over the day-to-day operations of caregiving to a professional and return to work.
Another teaching session occurred in March, this time English sophomores working on argumentative essays. They had already chosen their topics, so the goal of the workshop was to familiarize them with databases as information sources and how the mechanics of the search for those sources could reveal certain information types that would assist them in making their arguments. So, no hocus-pocus, just straight up library instruction.
Taking a page from the playbook of one of my more experienced co-librarians, I prepared for each student a worksheet that, once filled in, would both outline for them the search and information source selection process, and allow them to prepare a customized path to proceed, from research proposal, to search term development, to source selection. The host instructor and I worked with each student individually to resolve any outstanding issues and, and this is an important step, provide examples of ideas outside their present train of thought for developing their arguments.
Research topics were varied and interesting, personalized and relevant. Sharing among themselves their topics and experiences with the resource selection process resulted in a type of cross-fertilization that will hopefully further inform the learning experience of each student.
As an aside, today begins National Poetry Writers Month (NaPoWriMo). For the past two years, I have managed a crank out a new poem each day in April. Sometimes it’s garbage, but there has been the occasional pearl in the monthly collection. This April will be different for me, however. This year I plan to work every day on unpacking and reshaping a poem that I have already written. Unpacking to remove all the dross and junk that got invariably packed in the first time. Reshaping to open up the format, freeing the poetic thoughts from the walls that previously constricted, restricted, and even conflicted open thought and discussion.
p.s. Started my garden plot at Cullowhee Community Garden last week. Haven’t gardened since my childhood, but it’s just like riding a bicycle, right? With any luck in a few months there will be a crop of beets, turnips, okra, cantaloupe, watermelon, jalapeno peppers, carrots, foxglove, sunflowers, and lavender to share.