Friday, January 2, 2009

What to expect in 2009

It seems that with a new calendar year, one must make up a set of New Years Resolutions.  I, like most of you, have often made resolutions only to find that a month later I didn't keep any of them longer than a week.  So, rather than resolutions, I'd like to put into print the things I expect to get out of 2009, and perhaps a few things that I might change in order to achieve them.  Hmmm... that sounds an awful lot like a set of resolutions doesn't it.

On Teaching ...  I took it upon myself to completely overhaul my course outlines for this coming semester.  It will represent a fair bit of work to revamp the course, in particular the choral conducting course I am teaching, but I think it will be better for the students to have a fresh perspective on the course from someone who has taught it now for about eight years.  I've overhauled the Music Appreciation course as well, not so much on content, but I've added one extra test to help ease the burden of memorization in between the midterm and the final.  I'm quite fortunate to have a teaching assistant this year for the course, so adding an extra exam for a class of 140 students won't overburden me with marking - and I need to make this PhD student work the required hours in - and this seemed like an easy way to fix that!

On Scheduling ... This semester is full up again with concerts, and my first recording venture with Da Camera Singers.  The first two months are actually quite light, March is going to be this year's November from last year.  I've taken on a few extra projects, including a in city workshop with a local community choir, and examination weekend for Conservatory Canada (again, in town), I am, however, free of music festival adjudicating this year, which will make April a bit more relaxed.

On Family ... This Summer, We plan to travel to Ontario, marking our first return to Ottawa and area since we were engaged.  We're also in a bit of a transitional process, looking for a new house that will suit or current future needs.  The last month we've been blessed(?) with temperatures in the low -20s to -30s (this morning, was a -41 windchill ... for my American friends ... -40 Celsius is equal to -40 Fahrenheit, which in plain simple terms is COLD) so a house which has better heat efficiency, a two car garage, and at least TWO bathrooms is on the "must have" list.  We are weighing the pros and cons of commuting, as well as distance from local family - which will play a very important role in our decision.

On Weight Loss ... Last September (which is really the educators' and musicians' new year) I made a commitment to get healthier.  I'm happy to report that between September and December I lost nearly 30 pounds (although with Christmas and New Years I gained a few back) and I intend to keep up the regiment to lose another 25 -30 more by next September.  I know it's a very traditional New Years statement to make, but for me it's more of a continued commitment this time, rather than a post-holiday pledge to loose a few pounds. 

On Golf ... This is a tough one.  The course that I've been a member of for the last four years has just eliminated the membership option that best suits me, a monday through friday membership which for a church musician, who likes to spend the weekend with his wife, is quite useful.  I'm not quite prepared to pay extra for a membership which includes weekends when I can't make use of it.  These are decisions I will have to make at a later date - as right now, it's too bloody cold and snowy out to even think about golf.

Wishing you all a prosperous and successful 2009!


I'm Still Me said...

It sounds like 2009 is going to be a very good one for you! Good luck.

Liz Garnett said...

Funny how one's teaching needs over-hauling every so often - I think it's because if we don't have some sense of stepping out into the unknown as teachers, it's hard to really connect with students doing something for the first time.

With your test for 140 students - could you use some kind of online resource? I don't normally have much time for automated quiz-type assessments, but for that kind of large group they can be useful, especially if the goal is primarily to check they've been alive and awake during class. Then your TA could do something more stimulating than just marking papers!