2017 has been quite the year both personally and professionally.
As I type this, I’m sitting in a university classroom waiting for any last minute assignments to be submitted during my class’ exam period. The classroom is quiet as all but a few students have surely pushed thoughts of my course aside (our final paper was due last week) as they prepare for their remaining final exams and turn toward plans of escaping the town with its corn fields for a few weeks over winter break. I’m essentially there with them; my own coursework for the semester is all but finished, and I’m allowing myself some excitement for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and returning to Michigan over the weekend.
Reflection & Thanks
The year started off with some highs and lows. I felt the joy of being accepted into my dream Ph.D. program only to be thwarted by a lack of funding. I got back to it, sent out more applications, and was accepted to a previous institution I had attended. I’m happy to have proven my initial hesitation in applying here wrong. The time I spent during the fall semester has proven invaluable in a number of ways. In the context of both my teaching this semester and future coursework, I feel like I belong here. My teaching was especially rewarding this semester, and I have my students to thank for that.
Another high point of the year has been this blog and the interactions I have had because of it. When I moved to this platform, I didn’t have much in the way of expectations for audience growth. I’m delighted to have been proven wrong, yet again. At the time of writing, The Gaming Teacher has 109 followers. That’s about 105 more than my previous blog! It doesn’t matter to me if that number isn’t impressive in the grand scheme of the internet. It makes me happy, and I’d like to take this moment to thank all of you, especially my fellow bloggers who regularly stop by and comment. I’m inspired by the work you all publish, and thank you for making me feel as though I have something worthwhile to contribute.
While I’ve had to slow down on posting content this semester, know that my pulling back has been out of necessity. Blame grad school and all that jazz. Having said that, next semester presents me with a unique opportunity that I did not foresee and that might allow me to post a bit more frequently.
For the upcoming spring semester, I had been planning to teach the second iteration of the composition and gaming course I originally taught in the Spring of 2015. However, it turns out the department has other plans for me. While I’m slightly disappointed to have to postpone teaching the course, I will instead be working on and guiding a research project concerned with online harassment and aggression in gaming communities. I’ll essentially be paid to research gaming culture. Imagine that?! I’m not sure I can say much more about the project at this time, but I am beyond excited for this opportunity to work closely with some of my peers. In one sense, I feel that I have finally reached a point in my academic career where I genuinely have something of value to offer. This research project could result in publication (yay!), but even if it doesn’t, the experience will most likely be foundational for the rest of my time here.
The Blog in 2018
Not teaching next semester may not necessarily result in fewer nights working into the wee hours, but it should mean more time to guiltlessly play video games (hey, it’s for research), watching Twitch, and working on my blog. As always, I will continue to offer a variety of pieces related to video games whether they be game “reviews”/final thought segments, close analysis of things like the water in AC Origins, or general thoughts about what’s happening in gaming. I won’t make it “official” just yet, but perhaps instead of posting once a month or so, I’ll be able to post twice a month.
In terms of blogging and gaming in 2018, I haven’t completely committed to the idea yet, but I’m tossing around the thought of focusing 2018, or at least the first half of the year, on replaying and revisiting old games. I’ll continue to play new releases that interest me as they come up, like Far Cry 5, but due to my studies, I’m now even more interested in picking apart games, going beyond the initial “Yay!” I enjoyed playing “X”. I’m still finding my interests being pulled in various directions: Twitch as para-text and affinity space, the rhetoric of game maps, games and literacy, and, very loosely, how games relay meaning through landscape. I’ll update on this front as I get my thoughts sorted.
The rest of December will be relatively quiet on The Gaming Teacher. I might have another post or two ready before the end of the year. It all depends on what holiday plans my friends and family have, how much time I actually have at my disposal over break, and what games I dive into next.
Again, thanks to those who spend some time here. You are appreciated. 🙂 Enjoy what gaming you can and the rest of the year!