icewolf: (research)
I know, I know. I've been a real Debbie Downer (you should excuse the phrase) recently.

But. But!

Things are better.

Period has started, so the hormonal bombardment has eased. Food and medication in regular doses is happening. I actually have energy and motivation to tackle the disaster area my house is at the moment. And my syllabus. Oy vey, gevalt, even. My syllabus. I'm trying something new incorporating Lies My Teacher Told Me and I'm getting very A Beautiful Mind meets Fred Burkle in season 2 of Angel with the writing on the walls. (Is it so bad that I want an entire wall of the office done in blackboard paint? Is it so very weird? Don't answer that.)

Thanks to everyone who commented, either here or in some other medium. It's not why I make the posts (okay, it's mostly not why I make the posts), but they're appreciated anyway.
icewolf: crescent moon (crescent moon)
You know how sometimes you're just having a crappy month? And you're pleading with the Guy Who Lives in the Overhead Light Fixture to give you some sort of sign that this is all worth it?

Here's the sign I got from a student tonight:

May I just say Professor, that You are the first Instructor that has shown real effort in DQ's (already in my third day of class). I really appreciate your thought and effort you have given. I have become upset and have "complained" and even have gotten very afraid of the my choice to come to an on-line college. I was frustrated about not being challenged and concerned that my effort and financial burden to join here would not be recognized in the "real world."

I am so thankful that you are taking the time and your expertise to actually challenge my thought and help me grow. I am not kissing your ass (sorry for cuss). I just want to thank you. Because of you, I might lose my 4.0 GPA and if I do (it won't be a lack of me trying!), it will be because I have more to learn. That both excites and satisfies me. Thank you for your time and effort in class.

Yeah. What I do is important. And I am damn good at it. Yeah.
icewolf: snowy wolf (teacher)
I'm (re-)instituting the practice of writing for ten minutes at the beginning of every composition class this semester. Students can write about whatever they want, but for the inevitable "I don't know what to write about" whiners, I like to have a quote handy for a prompt.

So, fling your favorite quotes at me, folks! I'd like to get as wide a variety of viewpoints as possible.


Feb. 1st, 2009 03:24 pm
icewolf: snowy wolf (OMG)
Y'know, I don't think any of my online students actually read the assignment before attempting it.
icewolf: snowy wolf (teacher)
Okay, one of my online students has checked in already, and she has begun to suck up: "Do you have a favorite manuscript you've translated?" Why, yes, yes I do. Let me tell you John of Salisbury's tale of Thomas Becket's assassination. "Once upon a time there was a way awesome archbishop, a rat bastard of a knight named FitzUrse, and a dreadfully, ahem, misguided king..."

Sekrit Teecher Stuff: Sucking up, done correctly, works. Hee. :)

icewolf: snowy wolf (pain in the ass)
I find myself annoyed at the eight individuals running for circuit court judge in Baltimore City. Of the eight people running, only four bothered to answer the League of Women Voters's questions at all. Of the remaining four, only two did so in anything resembling a complete manner, as opposed to just forwarding along their official bio.

Deciding who should preside over a court should not hold such a resemblance to grading freshman comp papers.

icewolf: snowy wolf (teacher)
So I'm doing the online training for Axia. To my students, I will not be a teacher, or even an instructor. I will be a facilitator. Barf. *eyeroll*
icewolf: snowy wolf (Default)
So, Axia College likes me. Enough to "invite me to continue the application process." Which means I had from last Friday 'til today to fill out a bunch of online forms and get them my transcripts from St. Bonaventure.

The transcript has been tricky. I faxed the request to Bonas on Monday. They sent it out Tuesday. Will it make it to Arizona by today, Thursday? Only The Shadow knows. Although I am encouraged that recently a friend's birthday cards made it to Baltimore from California in about three days with a national holiday in between.

The other hitch in my current plans is the retirement of the gentleman who was chair of the English department at CSI when I taught there. I don't know if he retired (he seemed kind of young for that) or quit (a possibility: he was ousted as chair right around the time I left, and it was apparently a pretty bitter experience) or whatever. Yikes. Now I have to go rooting around for the letter he gave me and fax it off to Axia.

But it's seeming like a really good deal, otherwise. Nine week sessions that pay as much as a fifteen-week semester (note--Maryland adjunct pay sucks pretty badly, especially if you're coming from the CUNY system, home of the Strong Union (TM)). So, we'll see how this goes.

To finish off, because you haven't seen them in a while, ladies and jellyspoons, I give you dragons!

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!
icewolf: snowy wolf (teacher)
I just sent off the answers to an online interview for Axia College of University of Phoenix. Has this been a humongous mistake?

Does anybody have any better suggestions?
icewolf: snowy wolf (jeffrey and friend)
First, from [ profile] troyswann, on dealing with blame-flinging students: "I put the food on the plate in front of you, but, Damnit Jim, I'm a professor, not a digestive tract."

Second, from [ profile] bradrandall (or, actually [ profile] bradrandall's grandfather) on politics: "Politics are like underwear, everybody wears a certain style and we don't show it off in public."
icewolf: snowy wolf (teacher)
Grading essays...

"After my father was incarcerated, we were able to start a relationship." (Emphasis mine.)

Bless her--and him.
icewolf: snowy wolf (dear Lord)
...but I'm going to anyway.

So, for the short story unit, I had the students read "The Cask of Amontillado" and "Araby," among others.

So, question 4 on the unit quiz was, "What is the setting of "The Cask of Amontillado"?

The answer one gave: "At Carnival in Ireland on a dead-end street."

Which produced a sheer mind-frell of squishing Edgar Allan Poe and James Joyce into the same short story.

Not that they wouldn't get along... Neither one was happy unless he was miserable...


Apr. 24th, 2007 10:23 am
icewolf: snowy wolf (teacher)
I love it when I manage to work a quote from The Princess Bride into my lectures...
icewolf: snowy wolf (pain in the ass)
So, I'm teaching cause and effect essays in my 101 classes right now. The chapter of the text on the issue is all of 3 pages long, and all but one of the examples sucks. So today, I'm handing out two things:

George F. Will's latest column against DC statehood, and Molly Ivin's last column against the surge.

This is gonna be fun. Schizophrenic, but fun.
icewolf: snowy wolf (stupid)
Despite having said what I said last week about teachers having a tough job, I'd love to scream this at some of my "collegues":

IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE HERE, THEN DON'T BE HERE! For crying out loud, free up the job for someone who actually likes teaching!

It's an age old problem. The default career for the academe is teaching, but so many scholars are so poorly suited to it.

I just sat here in my shared office and listened to one of them rake a relatively good kid with all his ducks in a row over the coals because he didn't jump through the strange and elaborate hoops she requires for excusing an absence, which, by the way, she does not seem to have explained in-class. Student A must call  a classmate, Student B. (The student should not make arrangements to meet with classmates because he might not be able to read the other students' handwriting.) Then Student A should copy down what Student B says were in the notes that day. Then Student A must call my collegues's voice mail and tell her everything that Student B told him. Oh, and Student A shouldn't bother to try to keep up with the reading, because the syllabus isn't reliable.

I had to leave the room before my head exploded on that last one.

We need some sort of work for academics who are unsuited to teaching. It used to be that if you could interest a patron in your research, you'd be set, much like the poets, painters, and playwrights of old. Patrons are a little thin on the ground these days. So are their modern equivalents, research fellowships. Maybe some sort of park, out in Montana. They could assume their rigid, solitary, anti-social little ways and not manage to completely sour generation after generation on education.
icewolf: snowy wolf (and the funny just keeps on coming)
I just went over to Taylor Mali's website. That's the guy in the video clip I posted earlier today. The fellow's got guts: He posted on his blog a vicious parody of "What Teachers Make": "What Some Other Teachers Make."

I can't deny the truthfulness of a lot of the poem. But I ask you this. Why is it an accepted state of affairs that there are bad apples in every career barrel: there are crooked cops, corrupt lawyers, sloppy doctors, and rotten salesmen, but these individuals are seen as just that: individuals who are bad at their jobs. Why do people seem to have a blind spot when this comes to teachers? How is it that an accountant can screw up your taxes badly enough to get the IRS to open a branch office in your living room and not tarnish the repuation of accountants everywhere, where a first-year teacher stumbling through his or her first year (and how good were all of you at your very first job?) can invite not just one person, but entire groups of family and friends to prejudge an entire profession.

The most laughable part of the parody is the "I make money" refrain. I don't know how much the person who wrote it thinks teachers make, but I'll tell you this much: even as a full time faculty member at a large community college, I could not afford to live alone. If I were not married I would need roommates. Yes, plural. Last year, as an adjunct faculty member carrying an overload courseload, I made less than I did as a graduate assistant at Catholic University the year before. We do it for the money? That's just funny.

It's so easy? Okay. Let's see you do it. Just for one day:

Grade papers.

Write recommendations.

Teach classes, juggling a variety of capabilities, personalities, and personal and cultural issues.

Plan interesting lessons.

Fill out paperwork.

Toss old paperwork and start over because the city's directions suck.

Hold hands.

Wipe tears.

(For both your collegues and your students, by the way.)

Re-evaluate how well you did all of the above and adjust accordingly.

Repeat the next day.

I'm not saying that teachers should be above criticism. Bad teachers need to improve or be removed from the classroom. The damage a bad teacher can do is staggering. But I am saying that the job itself is one of the most difficult on the planet. And unless you're will to concede at least that, get the hell out of my face.
icewolf: snowy wolf (teacher)
Snagged from [ profile] elkor, who got it from [ profile] webquatch.

Damn. Right.


Dec. 14th, 2006 03:38 pm
icewolf: snowy wolf (teacher)
My chair just called.

The department got a Christmas present--a one semester full time contract for the spring.

icewolf: (bunny facepalm)
I'm bored and lonely. I hate being at home alone. Especially when there are plenty of chores I ought to be doing, and I have absolutely no motivation to do any of them.

Graded research papers last night. Ohhh boy. Even though I know I told the class "every time you paraphrase, summarize, quote, or otherwise borrow from another source, YOU MUST CITE IT," no less than five times, and even devoted an entire 3-hour class to the subject, I had to hand back at least half the papers as unacceptable. They had Works Cited pages, but no citations. WTF? *headdesk* And don't get me started on people who cited, but who couldn't manage to follow MLA format.

I really don't understand why so many students think MLA is so difficult. It's the most straightforward documentation system out there. It's sure as hell a lot easier than Chicago/Turabian. You write something you paraphrased, summarized, quoted, or otherwise borrowed from someone else, you just put their name and the page number after what you borrowed like so (Smith-Jones 54). You don't have to interrupt your reading to scan down the page to a footnote. You don't have to flip to the end to check out an endnote. Name, page number. That's it. No page number? No problem. Just put in the article name in its place (Smith-Jones "Woman Guns Down English Class"). It gets even easier if you lead in with the author, for example: Smith-Jones feels that too many students convince themselves that the MLA format is far more difficult than it actually is (87). See that? That's just the page number. You can do that, if you name the author in your statement. Isn't that cool?

Why is this so difficult?

This group was not as good as the first session folks. A lot more tardiness and absences. (Which explains some of the MLA problem--if they didn't attend class, they didn't get the message.) A much greater sense of entitlement. They wanted to be spoon-fed everything like they were in 101. (This was a 102 class--they should have learned all the documentation stuff in 101.)

Whatever happened to taking responsibility for one's own education? If you don't know something, you look it up. I gave them books and resources. They could email me if they had any questions. I don't know what else I could have done. The next crowd is getting the message loud and clear, though: if you don't cite, you fail. Period.
icewolf: snowy wolf (stupid)
When did the knowledge of capitalizing short story titles fall out of all my students' heads? Especially the ones I had for 101?!

And quotation marks? Where did all the quotation marks go?


EDIT 1650:

Finished grading. Oh my G-d. Did they fall? Did they fall and hit their heads on something hard?


icewolf: snowy wolf (Default)

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