Friday, August 10, 2012

"Researching is Revising"

So here it is:  the last day of the Dartmouth College Summer Seminar on Composition/ Rhetoric Research.  I feel like (in many ways) that I have grown so much in the last two weeks as a teacher (most importantly to me), a researcher, and a valid scholar (putting aside the "but I teach in a community college and so I feel like the unpopular kid at the composition party").  Besides the beautiful setting (I am seriously in love with the library here at Dartmouth), I will miss the camaraderie that I have gained (I only wish that I had been able to connect with the entire group more -- living off campus during our time here made this harder).  As a part-time grad student at SIUC (who isn't a GA), I feel like I don't have a cohort of other people to "hang out" with and talk about pedagogy and research and all that fun stuff.  The way my life usually goes is something like this:  teach-teach-teach-teach-teach, evaluate papers and papers and papers and papers and papers, meet in writing conferences and writing conferences and writing conferences, and then try to fit in a bit of dissertating for an hour or so in the evening once I get home (unless I am teaching night classes).  Yes, teaching 5 writing courses a semester (and sometimes 6 or 7) makes researching and writing a difficult task but in this group I found the strength to keep fighting against this constraint and to work at seeing research as an important part of my job (which it is).

I know that I have a lot of work to do (especially with a December focus on finishing up my dissertation).  The title of this blog post (said by the fabulous Amy during her presentation), by the way, echoes the revising that I know is necessary in order to figure out what it is that I actually want to say.  Some of this new revising work is also in finding the confidence that I think I lost when breast cancer came along.  Participating in this seminar was the first "test" of acknowledging that my confidence is not where I want it to be.  It doesn't help that I have gained a bunch of weight post cancer/hysterectomy (and that my body has scars I never had before) but I need to learn to be more comfortable with who I am as a researcher, writer, teacher, and person.  A lot of times, the current Dianna is a messed up emotional pit of low self confidence.  I need to actively change this.  I want to be the "teacher scholar" that compositionist Howard Tinberg evokes in his work.  And if I learned anything from my time here, it's that revising is always an option.  This doesn't just allude to my research -- I need to work on revising the way I see myself.

On a final note:  I don't know what I would have done if I had not experienced this Dartmouth Seminar.  I have so much hope that my research will now be reliable and relevant.

PS:  Here a picture or two of the whole gang!
(Do you spy any famous folk among us?)
(the hard working participants!)

No comments:

Post a Comment