What Do Professors Do All Day?

Well, it’s a non-teaching day, which means technically I could have gotten my day started earlier than I did on Tuesday and Wednesday. But I stayed up late watching the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and had trouble sleeping (no connection – I seriously wasn’t thinking about the film’s overt criticism of how automation and capitalism bring down the already oppressed and dispossessed worker, or how Tim Burton likes to add frames around existing self-contained stories… Alice in Wonderland as a love story…?), so today I woke up at 9am. And technically, although since I teach children’s lit, watching CatCF could be considered “work,” I’m not counting it as work… and even though I spent a lot of time reading and thinking about “How to Publish Your Article” by Dr. Phil Nel, I didn’t add that time either. Also, since I worked more than 11 hours on Tuesday and more than 9 last night, and even though I’m more recovered from the cold today than I was yesterday or Tuesday, I’m okay if today’s tally of “What do professors do all day?” (inspired by Dr. Phil Nel‘s “What Do Professors Do All Day?” series) doesn’t add up to at least 8 hours. Okay, so here we go! Day 3:

Thursday February 24, 2011

9:00-9:30 AM Woke up to my alarm (which ironically is set to David Crowder‘s “Can I Lie Here“) and did daily Bible devotional reading.

9:30-10:15 AM Washed up and got ready for the day!

10:15-10:45 AM Checked email, FB, chatted with Tarie, and painted my fingernails green.

11:00-12:15 PM Hunkered down at my favorite cafe, had a breakfast burrito and worked on a letter of recommendation for a student.

12:30-1:30 PM Arrived on campus, got my French Vanilla Cappuccino, and checked out Handbook of Children’s and Young Adult Literature (Routledge 2011, eds. Shelby A. Wolf, Karen Coats, Patricia Enciso, and Christine A. Jenkins) from our library – I had requested that we purchase this last year. Saw that it’s in the PS section, next to the ethnic lit books. (Side note: sad to see that my personal collection of Asian American literary criticism is larger than our St. Catherine collection. hRmm…) Back to the Handbook:

This landmark volume is the first to bring together the leading scholarship on children’s and young adult literature from three intersecting disciplines: Education, English and Library and Information Science. Distinguished by its multidisciplinary approach, it describes and analyzes the different aspects of literary readings, texts, and contexts to illuminate how the book is transformed within and across different academic figurations of reading and interpreting children’s literature.

WOW. I think the multidisciplinarity of children’s literature studies is most apparent to me when I attend the Children’s Literature Association conferences, which is dominated by English professors, with a smaller contingent from Education, and a smattering representation from LIS. I learn so much from everyone’s approaches (not just through their paper presentations, but also the articles and books they write), and hope that they learn from our LIS approach as well. When ChLA was in Manhattan Beach, CA, (my first ChLA! I *heart* ChLA!) an LIS colleague rounded up us 5 LIS folks (out of a conference of 200+ people) to go out to dinner. It was great. Anyway, back to the Handbook (again); this book is explicit about the multidisciplinarity nature of its contents. It’s reflected in the summary on the back, in the backgrounds of the editors, in the table of contents. It brings together voices from scholars, authors, illustrators, editors, curators, librarians. And I can’t wait to read it.

1:30-2:30 PM Polished and sent letter of recommendation. Crossing fingers and hoping to hear good news from my student.

2:30-4:00 PM Started constructing the first draft of my Día webinar. Spent some time on the childstat website to see how our young people are doing these days. My goal was to write 1 paragraph per day, as per Dr. Phil‘s suggestion, but I wrote a page and a half! Yay! 

  • 3:30 PM Popped into FB to throw out the question, “If you were going to speak to practicing children’s librarians on how to choose multicultural and/or bilingual books for their collections, what is the one piece of advice you’d give?” First response, from Dr. Joseph Michael Sommers: “Don’t forget your towel! :)”

4:00-4:30 PM Admissions meeting. Wow, already 52 applicants! Almost twice as many as last semester!

4:30-5:00 PM Found out Dr. Debbie Reese, dear friend and author of http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/, is passing through MSP this weekend. Trying to arrange a last-minute breakfast so she can meet my students!

5:00 – 6:15 PM Attempted to organize/file some of the paper that has piled up in my office. I need more storage space. Wrote a thank you note to Betsy, prepared a package to send to a colleague, and then headed home!

7:00-10:15 PM Small Group/Bible Study with Covenant Life Church. Today’s topic was based on Colossians 3:22-24 and centered around our attitude regarding our work; work at work, work at church, work in other spheres of our lives:

22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

(Note: The Bible does not condone slavery. In this historical context, slaves were a normal part of society. In the previous verses, Paul addresses husbands, wives, children, and then addresses slaves; basically, he’s speaking to all people living within a household.)

Since I’m doing this daily log of my activities, it made me think about how much and how hard I work at my job, and what my motivation is. Am I consistently thankful to God that I have a job (that I love) in this rough economy? Do I work hard, “with all my heart,” because I’m really working unto the Lord? By teaching well, doing good research, serving on committees etc., am I seeking glory for myself or for God? Why do I push myself so hard? hRmmmm…

11:15 PM- Got home pretty late, washed up and zZzZzzzzz…

Total work hours: 6 hours and 45 minutes.

Note to self: You wrote almost 2 pages today. Good job, Dr. Sparky. Keep it up 😀

You Never Know Who You’re Going to Meet

so they say God even cares about the sparrows and knows the number of hairs on my head. so why ever worry? there is a God in heaven who’s looking out for me.

i debated what to wear on my flight to philly. i was on my way to the association for library and information science conference, where i will reconnect with my gslis professors/colleagues and do interviews with a couple of schools for professorships. i decided to go ktown style and wear all black. it looks professional, right?

my flight stopped over in dallas, which, by the way is a phenomenal airport. i was one of the last people on the plane, and the gentleman in seat E had to get up so i could get into F. he asked if i needed to store anything up top; i said no, thank you.

about 90 minutes went by. i updated my cv for my website, finished reading american libraries, and watched a couple of korean music videos on my ipod. then i pulled out some job cover letters so i could review them before the interviews. the one on top was for the university of texas-austin. a few seconds after i started looking at it, the gentleman next to me asked, “are you sarah park?” 

he was the dean of the library science program at the university of texas-austin. he had glanced over, saw his name at the top of my letter, and put two and two together. so for the next hour i sort of had an informal, very pleasant interview. he told me a lot about the school, and i told him about my work, and he questioned me about my research, and i questioned him about the vision and future directions of the school. it was, in a word, awesome.

the dean had plans to meet someone at the airport, so i went to get my bag and find the shuttle. the lady next to me told the info person that she wanted to take the lady liberty shuttle to the sheraton, so i asked her if she was going to ALISE and we decided to go together. after introducing ourselves, we realized she’s the chair of the search committee at another school in texas i applied to. and then we ran into the dean at another LIS school, where i also applied, and the 3 of us shared a cab to the hotel. by the end of the evening, i scored another interview. 

the moral of the story is: God is always in control. and stop freaking out. and always be ready to talk about your research. and memorize what the deans of schools look like. and find out who’s chairing the search committees. and always dress your best. you never know who you’re going to meet.

Words Matter

Today I was once again amazed and convicted at how much words matter in communication. My pastor is going through the Book of Luke and today’s sermon was Luke 9: 10-17 Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand:

10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing. 

12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.” 

13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”

They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish – unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.)

But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of fifty each.” 15 The disciples did so, and everybody sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

Have you ever wondered when was the exact moment that the food multiplied? I can’t tell by reading the text in English. My lazy interpretation would be that the baskets were bottomless; where else would the extra food come from? Now, I can’t read Greek, but I trust my pastor when he says he looks up words. So he studied this text in Greek, and in “16 … then he gave them to the disciples…” the word “gave” is translated “έδωσε” which means to give and to give and to give… in other words, to keep giving. Therefore, as recorded in the original text, the bread and fish multiplied in the Lord’s hands, and he kept providing bread and fish for the disciples to share with the crowd.

abercrombie and fitch


a bread crumb and fish

amazing words

Amazing God!