Lest my last post make me sound like a materialistic airhead…
I am geeking out helping my husband with his Fulbright project. Terence is interviewing middle and high school teachers from all kinds of schools (secular, pluralistic, national religious, ultra-Orthodox, Arab Christian, Palestinian, etc.). He is asking them how they teach about civics and religion, including religions other than their own.
I am helping Terence transcribe some of these interviews, and I can’t tell you how interesting this is. I literally can’t tell you any of the details for privacy reasons. Suffice to say that listening to teachers in this region talk about pedagogical and curricular decisions, priorities and constraints is fascinating. Complicated and fascinating. And it’s affirming to hear teachers from so many backgrounds discussing their journeys into the classroom and their connections with their students. Whatever the differences Terence is discovering, teachers also seem to share a passion, commitment, love of kids. Listening to all this is making me miss teaching. Maybe I should go back to the classroom?
Unless I become a researcher or freelance transcriber. Because the other thing I’m loving is turning audio files into text. It’s like being an English scholar again, close reading a text, only in reverse…close-listening and then re-creating. What punctuation mark is implied by that sound? What is the meaning of that pause? Where should I put a paragraph break? What the heck is that word? Most of Terence’s subjects are speaking in their second (or third, or more) language, adding to the complexity and challenge of my task.
As a feminist and a professional, historically I haven’t been too enthused with the whole helping-my-husband-with-his-work thing. But I can’t help it this year. It’s just so engaging! And as I told Terence, if we ever need some fast money for a kid’s braces or something, I can always do transcribing on the side.