I chose the picture of ASU’s campus in Boone, NC for my twenty-minute sprint this time around.
It was starting to get dark by the time Kelly was done with all his classes and office hours for the day. At least it was Friday. He had four dozen student papers in his bag that he needed to work on grading this weekend, but he was done for tonight.
As he walked down the steps, he took a moment to admire the bright yellow of the tree in front of the English building. The fall colors were in full swing, and brought with them all the tourists that loved to take pictures of them along the parkway. Kelly just tried to avoid all the places the tourists were this time of year. They brought traffic and overworked service people, and Kelly wasn’t a fan of either.
Kelly headed down the path toward the library. He’d managed to snag a house only blocks from campus. It made it so much easier in the winter when the snow kept cars and busses safe in their garages. Plus he didn’t have to buy a parking pass. He assumed he was making up for that with the price of the house. At least he was a home owner now and no longer paying the exorbitant rents they changed near the university.
He was walking up the steps to the library when someone called out his name. Kelly turned to see one of his graduate students hurrying to catch up to him.
“Looks like you’ve got a lot of weekend work in there,” Jason said with a grin.
“Papers don’t grade themselves,” Kelly replied. At least these were undergraduate papers and much shorter for it.
“Don’t I know it?” Jason replied with a laugh. “I’ve got about sixty I’ve got to get done this weekend.”
“This is your first semester teaching?” Kelly asked.
“Teaching college,” Jason replied. “I spent a few years teaching high school before I came back to school.”
“I remember now. You were over in Raleigh then, right?” Kelly had so many students it took a while to figure out which ones were which when they weren’t in one of his classes that semester. He did better with the graduate students.
“Yeah. I taught in a couple different schools there trying to figure out why I wasn’t satisfied. Turned out I just wasn’t a good fit for high schoolers. I do better with eight- or eighteen-year-olds.”
“We all have our niches,” Kelly replied. He’d majored in education originally, and taught a variety of subjects in elementary and middle school before going back for a masters in English. He’d taught high school for a couple years afterward to pay the bills while he worked on a few things and decided what doctoral programs to apply to. He much preferred teaching at a university.
“I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that,” Jason said. “You’re office hours are the busiest I’ve ever seen though, so I’ve never managed to catch you.”
“I guess it’s good that all my students find me approachable,” Kelly replied.
“Yeah, I hear good things about you,” Jason answered, laughing again as they continued past the library toward King Street. “You’re specialty is pedagogy, right?” Jason asked.
“That’s where I do my research,” Kelly agreed. He tried to make it an applied science as much as possible, but occasionally he worked from pure theory to get a paper out.
“I’m planning to do my thesis on a pedagogy topic and I wanted to talk to you about being my committee chair,” Jason said. “I know I’m catching you on your way home and on the spot and all that, but I wanted to ask you to think about it while I try to get on your calendar.”
“Sorry I never got back to you about your meeting request on Wednesday,” Kelly said. He remembered now that Jason was trying to pin him down.
“I get it,” Jason replied. “We’re all busy.”
“I’ll want to discuss your idea with you before I agree, so we’ll definitely need that appointment,” Kelly said.
“I’m open to odd hours and weekends if you are,” Jason replied.
“I’ll reply to your email,” Kelly promised. “I have it flagged to annoy me about it tomorrow anyway.”
“So I’m not the only one who lives and dies by Outlook reminders?” Jason asked.
“Certainly not,” Kelly replied. “The only people I know who don’t are the ones who show up late to everything.”
Jason laughed. “Thanks for thinking about it,” Jason said.
“Of course,” Kelly replied. There was no reason not to consider it since Jason wanted to work within his own area of expertise.