Saturday, October 25, 2008

Believe it or don't...

I actually had one day when I didn't have to grade papers!  So, what did I do?  I wrote lectures and recorded podcasts.  Sounds like fun, huh?

The day was gorgeous, and I was inside.  What was I thinking?  Today, however, is also beautiful, and I have three + sets of papers.  But, you know what?  I'm going outside for a while anyway.  The papers will wait--the grass won't.  I need to mow one more time before the cold weather comes.  I think the temp is going to 37 or something on Monday night.  Winter all ready?  That was fast.  That probably means we're in for a cold one.

I slept until 10:30am on Friday, but I didn't go to bed until 2am, so I think that's not too late.  On the weekends, I get my times screwed up, and have to adjust when Monday comes.  Next semester, though, if all goes well, I'll only be teaching on campus on Mondays and Wednesdays, and my first class doesn't begin until noon.  But that means I'll probably need to be on campus by 10am, since I can't count common hour as an office hour (which I think is stupid, but I'm not "the boss").  I'll have more time for my online classes, which, sadly, I don't this semester.  I'm usually all over them, but I've had too many other tasks that needed my attention. 

Podcasting, which I've just started doing, is fun, but requires time and energy.  The good thing is that I've got the podcasts done, and I can use them next semester for my class, since they aren't dated.  I still need to record podcasts for all of the drama sections, but those will be forthcoming.

I heard the dryer buzz, so I need to fold clothes.  I'll go out for a while, then jump right on those papers.  Sigh... Thanksgiving is right around the corner--I think a trip to Austin is in order.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

End of Break--Sigh!

Of course, it wasn't much of a break for me.  I graded papers every day, sometimes three sets.  I've missed the beautiful weather, something I intend to rectify when I'm through writing this blog.

Our "surprise" dinner was a surprise.  We managed to fool my father--if we can do that, we've accomplished something!  He was more surprised than anyone.

The staff at Monjuni's (the original one on Louisiana Ave.) did an excellent job. The food was excellent, and they added a special touch by giving my parents cards signed by the entire staff and by putting flowers on the tables.  We had one waiter, Chris, who did an excellent job of taking care of us.  I hope he enjoyed the huge tip we left him--it was probably as much as the bill!

About 30 of us managed to make it; a few of my brothers and sisters couldn't--working or out-of-state--or wouldn't, but I did finally get to see my two new grand-nieces, Camille and Emma.  The newest grand-nephew, Colton, was just born last week and lives in Atlanta.

All together, a great evening.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What the Heck?

What day is this?  I have no idea.  Oh, yeah, the last day of classes this week--ah, it's fall break!

Well, if anyone cares, instead of a fall break, I'd rather have a week off for Thanksgiving.  But no one asked me.

This will, I hope, give me time to "catch up" with anything I've fallen behind on--podcasts and worksheets and new Moodle sections, oh, my!

Then, again, maybe I can catch up on some sleep (yeah, right).

So, what's happened since I last wrote? 

I "met" the racoon who has been finishing off the cat food in my laundry room.  The feral mama cat has had another litter of five.  I trapped two cats and took them to the Humane Society.  I need to trap two more, then the mom and the babies.  I need to get that mother cat out of here.  She and her babies are eating me out of any disposable income I have.

Oh, yeah, and I went to the dentist this morning to finally have a  temporary crown put on a tooth.  I ate the crown off of the tooth, and it's taken a month to get an appointment for the temporary.  So, I called the dentist this morning to make sure I still had an appointment.  Yes, I did.  So, I got dressed and went to brush my teeth and swish the mouthwash.  I brushed; I rinsed.  Clunk!  The filling in the tooth the dentist was going to work on fell out.  Damn.  But, in the greater scheme of things, that just made things easier for the dentist.  So, I now have my temporary crown, and I only owe the dentist $221 dollars for the permanent one.  Another reason I don't have any disposable income.

On the plus side, my mom and dad are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary tomorrow.  We're surprising them with dinner on Saturday.  And, no, I'm not worried about writing that here.  They don't read my blog.  I don't think they know I have a blog or what a blog is, for that matter!

I feel slightly manic, but that's probably all of the coffee I've had today.  Since I don't have to get up early in the morning, I can drink all the coffee I want.  Ha ha ha ha ha....

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Brain Farts...

Here it is, nearly 11pm on a Wednesday, and I haven't stopped working since I got home, somewhere around 4pm.  I left the college late because I spent extra time in my English class, going over thesis statements for the first paper. 

Tomorrow, after a meeting in the chair's office, I need to go to the bookstore.  They always manage to call me with a frantic request to come in when I'm swamped.  And the manager who calls me with these frantic requests always uses the sucker line, "Since you've stopped working full time, we just can't find anyone to replace you."  This time, he told me that they'd recently hired four people, but they still can't get the work done.  My response?  "You're not hiring the right people."

So, I'll spend four hours trying to "fix" what can't be fixed, come home exhausted from heavy lifting, sit down and do the same thing I've been doing for a month.  I'm reading final copies of essays I've read twice, marking what I marked in the first two drafts because my students aren't paying attention, or maybe they just don't think they need to make the changes I suggest.  The grades on these essays are lower than those from previous semesters.  I've made up my mind that this won't be a walk in the park for my students.  Employers demand good writers.  I'm not going to pass people who can't do the work.  

I want my students to succeed; but I don't do them any service by giving them high marks for work that wouldn't pass muster in any business environment.  I wonder if they realize that any boss in any company would doubt a person's competence if that person handed him/her some of the stuff I get.

I'm adamant that the reason many students can't write is because they don't read.  Watching/listening to TV can't make up for that.  If the actors in these shows would put the punctuation in their lines, maybe that would help.  Could you imagine this: "Jim comma did you locate the murder weapon question mark" "No comma June comma I haven apostrophe t yet period"  I still don't think that would help.

Another problem is that many students don't think about what they write--maybe it's unfamiliar to them in that context.  When we write, we have to pay attention.  We can't just run at the pen the way we run at the mouth.  If we say something nonsensical, people usually don't call us on it.  If we write nonsensical things, and someone is paying attention and thinking, we're not going to get away with it. 

My frustration rises, especially when I've pointed out mistakes and provided methods to correct them, and students ignore my suggestions.  I'm not being difficult; I'm trying to help them succeed and impress the people who can help them with their careers.

I talked to a colleague the other day who was practically banging her head on the bathroom wall because her students didn't understand that they had to produce a perfect resume.  They couldn't understand how a comma made a difference.  I told her to find a willing HR director at some desirable company and ask that person to read the resumes and pass judgment.  Who would he/she hire?  My colleague liked that idea.  I think that would impress upon her students the difference a comma can make.