A break with benefits… – Natasha Patrito Hannon

This is my first foray into the blogosphere and I’m finding it difficult to begin – I’m feeling pressure to be eloquent and insightful, but my mind isn’t cooperating. In the aftermath of the ‘start of September’ whirlwind, my brain is craving some quiet time and, rather than discuss an amazing upcoming event or project, it wants to reflect on the best break that it’s had all week.

This past Wednesday, a small group of graduate students gathered for the TSC’s first ever ‘TA Coffee Hour’. Coffee Hour (CH), every Wednesday from 2:30 – 3:30 PM, is a time when TAs can drop into the Centre, take a break from their daily grind and chat with colleagues from across campus. It’s relaxed and casual…but in the hours leading up to this first session, unsure of how many people to expect, worried about topics for discussion and awkward silences, CH was stressing me out.

…until it began. What a pleasure to just sit and talk with interesting people, some of whom I had met before and others I was meeting for the first time. In 60 min, we dished on how we were coping with the first week of class, discovered that the GTA union had a health & safety representative, lamented the lack of grad student lounges across campus, heard about the amazing collection of first edition 16th & 17th century opera libretti housed in the Music Library and genuinely enjoyed each others’ company. Our chat left me energized and ready to tackle the course syllabus revisions that I’d been putting off for weeks. I realize now that it was a wonderfully productive break because in taking the time to talk teaching with others, I was actually making space in my day to reflect on my own practice. Consider it a break with benefits…

If you’d like to join us for the next TA Coffee Hour, drop by Rm 121 of the TSC this coming Wednesday from 2:30 – 3:30 PM. We’d love to see you there!

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