Well, it’s official: Monday was the last day of my editing class (where my students brought in champagne and a very sweet card and gift), Wednesday I gave the final for my journalism class and just now I pressed “submit” on my final grades!
Sierra Nevada College is such a unique college and I really enjoyed teaching. The students are more involved than I ever remember students being at Penn State, and took such active roles in their own education. Add to that, the staff is very hands-on, as well. As soon as any staff noticed a student struggling, there was a team of people ready to help or redirect so that the student got all the help possible. It was a really cool thing to be a part of, not only because of the environment, but also, because I had such small classes, I felt like I could really see improvements in (at least some) students, which was so cool to feel like I really had an impact. Anyway, I think there are exciting changes for the program ahead and I’m looking forward to seeing the changes and improvements at SNC moving forward! In the meantime, I’m looking forward to having my days back—I never realized how many hours of planning could go into each 1.25 hour class! I think I’m treating myself to a much-needed pedicure next week!
I almost forgot to post this, but this was my first write-up! I’ve spent the past eight or nine years doing literally hundreds of interviews, so it was very cool to be on the other end of that process. Caroline Coughlin, a writer in SNC’s intro to journalism class, did the interview and article and I thought she did a very professional job. It was also really cool to contrast my expectations to what the interview actually entailed. I assumed there’d be more of a focus on the writing I’d done with Tahoe Quarterly and freelance, but it was much more far-reaching, going all the way back to my growing up in a university town and watching my mom’s job as a journalist.
Anyway, very fun, though for the record, my photo got stretched horizontally in the layout. I’m not really that wide!
Big day as today was basically my last day teaching at Sierra Nevada College! Next week we’ll spend Monday editing and preparing to produce the seventh and final issue of the Eagle’s Eye for the semester, then Wednesday my journalism class has its final.
The semester seems like it flew by. I’ve loved teaching, but it will be nice to take a break. The journalism department at SNC is undergoing a transformation, so classes are combining and changing. Which I think will lead to some good and necessary changes for the program. Right now, the biggest issue is the lack of students in the journalism classes (my workshop class, for example, had only two students), so I think combining them will be a nice way to get bigger class sizes, more collaboration and more crossing over between subjects, so that journalism can, as it’s doing in real life, hopefully cross over to more mediums than just print.
I also spent this morning touring a lakeside Incline Village home. Beautiful remodel designed by the talented Elise Fett, and very enjoyable to be able to not just tour but also meet the wonderful homeowners. I should tour my remaining homes next week, then hopefully power through my articles before the holidays gear up entirely. I feel like it’s an ambitious goal given the other things going on, but here’s hoping! And either way, it’ll be nice to make a dent in the workload before the Christmas chaos.
Back last week from a fabulous trip to Washington D.C. with my students for a national journalism conference. I hadn’t been there in a decade or so and I forget how wonderful that city is—so many museums, history and culture, and never enough time!
We went for the Associated Collegiate Press National Conference. Got in Wednesday night, spent Thursday morning sightseeing and ducking into museums, then got to the conference headquarters at the Grand Hyatt in time to get registered and grab seats to see Donna Brazile, the DNC chairwoman. She was incredible—not only was she incredibly interesting, but she was so much fun. I wanted to go out for drinks with her. And she was just the kick-off to other great speakers: On Friday, we heard from Bob Woodward (Bob fricking Woodward of Watergate fame!), then Saturday we had Edward Snowden beamed live from his secret location to address us. He was wonderful. When he got a huge ovation, he remarked that journalists are about the last group that like him. He, too, was wonderful. Both he and Woodward both had a lot to say about the importance of journalism, as well as how the future rests in the hands of the audience. I found them both incredibly inspirational.
In the meantime, some really great panels during the day. I listened to a surprisingly interesting one about the Freedom of Information Act, one about covering diversity, dealing with sexual assault victims with empathy, and a slew of other timely and informative topics.
Besides the great conference, I got to see my brother and his girlfriend, plus enjoy three full nights that I didn’t have to worry about a child waking me up in the night! The students got a ton out of the conference, too, and got to get in some additional sightseeing after I ducked out on Saturday afternoon to catch an earlier flight back so I could be home for my daughter’s fourth birthday. Anyway, great event and great to be in D.C. just two weeks before the election!
Tahoe Quarterly’s Ski & Ride issue is on stands now! My copy came in the mail yesterday and it looks fabulous. The rider on the cover gives me chills, and that’s just the beginning of the fabulous photography. Some great stories: a retrospective on Tahoe’s role in the birth of snowboarding, a piece on the landowner standing between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows and a look at cloud-seeding using drones to maximize the area’s snowfall. Appropriate the issue’s theme, I wrote a piece on Marianne Rosenfeld, the South Lake Tahoe-based owner of Forest Furniture. When her husband died in 2008, she repurposed his old skis into a chair as a sort of tribute to him. Since then, her business has grown, and in addition to the ski chairs she creates high-end furnishings, as well. A very fun piece to write, and I got the nicest message from Marianne saying she loved the article. Writers often work in a vacuum, so it’s wonderful to get feedback!
In other TQ news, we begin the Mountain Home Tours on Friday. I’m afraid that Friday may be the only tour I can attend, but it’s set up to be a great day—we visit Donner Lake and Alpine Meadows, with a lunch stop at the final house. These houses are incredible… although I always return from the tours ready to gut my own and start from scratch!
Whew. I’ve been bad about posting again, but in my defense I’ve been crazed for about the past month or so! School is going well, but unfortunately a few weeks ago, Tanya Canino, the teacher whom I’d taken over for while she focused on her cancer treatments, died. It was a huge blow to the students, and has been hard on me, too, as she was still helping me out with class information, scheduling, advice. Anyway, it’s been very sad, but we are trying to push on while preserving her memory.
On another note, I’m taking four students to a conference in Washington D.C. in about two weeks! We’re attending the National College Media Convention. Should be incredible: Keynote speakers are Edward Snowden, Bob Woodward, Donna Brazile and Jose Antonio Vargas. It will be great, if a little chaotic—students return late on a Sunday night, then have a long Monday putting together the next issue of the paper.
And speaking of chaos, I don’t think things will calm down much anytime too soon: I’ve got Home Tours for TQ’s Mountain Home Awards, my write-up for the Winter issue, plus some random travel (besides the conference, the family and I did last weekend in South Lake Tahoe and are going to San Francisco, then Sacramento twice in the next two months), my daughter’s birthday and Halloween (which we are already preparing for in my house). It’s good, but I feel like I’m going to blink and it’ll be Christmas! And on that note, I should get back to preparing tomorrow’s midterm.
I think this past week counted as the official end of summer for me: I’ve been swamped! I had an interview with the marvelous Marianne Rosenfeld last Sunday (she’ll be our featured artist for the next issue of TQ), and in between trying to put together that article for TQ, I’ve also been trying to update my syllabuses for the upcoming semester at Sierra Nevada College (class starts on August 22… eek!), finish three articles for the Tahoe Forest Health System (and they called yesterday to do see if I could write two more asap… double eek!) and prepare my 5-year-old to start kindergarten on Monday (my baby is off to school… triple eek!).
Anyway, it’s great, I love the work and it’s fun having such different projects to work on, but I’ve also been operating in chaos mode for the past few days. I’ve finished just about all the articles though, so now I can focus on the school year—mine and my daughter’s! I don’t know which of us I’m more nervous/excited for!