Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Already -- it's only March....

... some student just e-mailed asking if it would be ok for her to miss the first two days of my summer class.

When I said it wasn't a good idea -- I got the expected result... whine, beg for notes etc --

grrr.... couldn't y'all wait until April at least?

Monday, March 29, 2010


D1 (one of my debaters from way back), transferred from BNCC to big-debate school. He came close to nationals finals a couple of times -- but didn't do it.

Now, he's coaching debate at a northwest state school, and his team is in finals at nat's.

I'm really freaking proud of him -- and, I'm sad that my surgery made me decide not to go to that nat's for the first time -- ever. He could probably use a bit of his debate-mom in the hall outside the final round.

Friday, March 26, 2010

More on the "Real" Housewives...

... this time, the ones from New York.

Bethany -- sweetie -- I like you. You have a good head on your shoulders, you have a positive message about healthy eating and all kinds of other good things going for you.

What you need is an editor in your head. I just saw you tell the "Countess" what you think of her.

Take it from me, that kind of a move isn't a good one.

If you really don't trust her, think she's a snake etc -- turn her into one of the "non-people". These folks have a set of values and point of view that is so different from your own as to make them "non-people" -- because, clearly you are a person and they're different enough to be in some other category. Their "different" views make them act in hurtful ways -- and putting them in the "non-person" category is a move of self-preservation and nothing more.

It's pretty simple to deal with non-people -- you smile and nod, and don't trust them at all. They may talk behind your back -- and if they do that to your friends, then deal with your friends and not the non-person.

Interactions go no further than the polite "hi, how are you -- do you like the weather?" kinds of exchanges. Give them nothing to talk about -- and then when they make stuff up, you'll be able to defend yourself with the folks you care about. If -- for some reason that benefits you -- you need to invite them someplace, then do it. Don't invite them anyplace if your goal is to get to be friends again -- they'll never be your friends -- because, non-people are just too different.

So, Bethany -- put the "Countess" in that category and move on. Life is better when you only have real interactions with people.

You'd think I'd have learned...

... that when you give an inch, students will expect another foot or two.

From now on, my on-line exam deadlines are hard and fast -- and I don't give a crap if they were abducted by aliens, they aren't changing.

What I want to know is, how frigging hard is it to take an on-line quiz for which you have OVER two weeks? Also, how can you confuse 7:45 AM with 7:45 PM? One is pretty frigging early for a class, the other is pretty frigging early to go to the bar --

I think next semester I'm going to have TWO syllabus quizzes. One general one -- with the standard policies etc... the other with the major dates. Both can be easily aced by looking at the frigging syllabus and class schedule.

Grrr -- really, how stupid can you be and still find the college on a regular basis? I have to wonder... is this because their high schools just coddled them? Is it because other profs have been marshmallows? Is it because they just aren't that connected or concerned with school? Really -- I'd have to choose all of the above.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I'm sure I've been watching too much TV when...

  • I notice that the same actor plays Gibs (NCIS) father and Booth's (Bones) grandfather -- and I wonder if Gibs is Booth's father.... then, I realize he couldn't be, because Booth's dad was abusive, and Gibs would never be abusive -- So -- then I conclude that Gibs is Booth's uncle, and I feel better.
  • While watching one Canadian home renovation show, I see mistakes that Holmes on Holmes (the Canadian contractor/vigilante) would go nuts about. I then wonder how long it will take before the house shows up on Holmes on Homes...

WE pay a lot of rent... at Cedric's Landing...

... especially considering our apartment's size and location.

One of the things we are supposed to be able to do is to buzz people in from the front door.

We have a code.

We tell them the code.

They put it into the box -- and it rings our phone.

The problem is that our apartment management is a team of morons.

They can't manage to make the door system work. Randomly, (according to them) it will reassign numbers etc..

The management morons can put up flyers telling us about the random pot-lucks they have in the clubhouse -- but, they can't tell us when our door code has changed.


To top it all off -- I called yesterday and was told that the codes randomly change.
Today, Hubby looked up our code, it hadn't changed -- (but, they managed to delete his code), tried it and it didn't work.

I told the management morons this at 10 AM this morning and asked for a call back when it was resolved.

I had to call them back this afternoon.

When The moron who answered the phone called back, it was clear that she only managed to absorb the "Hubby's code has disappeared" part -- NOT the stuff that came before it about my code not working. I also told her to talk with the moron who answered the phone at 10.

When I -- kind of irritatedly, for the third time -- asked about MY code, the truth came out -- nobody had actually moved their moron asses out of the office to check out our problem. Now -- just before the second moron should be going home, I'm making her come over to look at it...

For the record, I'm putting our apartment name into the title just in case someone googles it... If you want a nice apartment, high rent and morons in the office -- move into Cedric's Landing.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Domino's knows me...

We decided that we'd have pizza tonight. knew where I was when I went to the site.

I wasn't logged in.

I know it's because they have my IP -- or something -- but, it's still a little creepy that they know my apartment number.

That doesn't mean I won't eat the pizza "John" is making for me right now....

out sick... kind of...

Recovery from surgery is a weird thing.

The surgery was laproscopic (5 small incisions vs. one big one), so -- unlike my mastectomy there are no drains, no changing of bandages etc. They kind of itch a bit, and ache, but overall they aren't a problem.

I am kind of tired -- but, they make naps, cats and my comfy bed for that.

I know I'm healing inside and all that -- so I'm taking it easy.

I suspect that, if I really had to, I could go back to work next week. I'd be dragging my butt back and forth -- and probably not getting much else done -- but, if the rent were on the line, I could do it -- I'm tough like that.

That's why I'm really glad that I don't have to. I love that my union negotiated a good number of sick days for me -- and that I haven't used them so far (breast cancer + chemo used 2.5 days). I suppose, in a weird way, I'm getting some of the days I should have taken during chemo -- and I'm kind of ok with that.

On the other hand -- I'm not 100% on leave. Whatever can be done on-line, I'm doing. This involves e-mails, collecting info etc, because I'm still department chair. This means answering student e-mails, monitoring and organizing presentations that will happen later as well as monitoring on-line discussions for ethics. Tomorrow I'll go to campus (my first time out of the house since Monday) to pick-up make-up exams. I'll then grade them, enter them and drop them off on Monday for my logic subs.

I'm also, slowly but surely, working on the last set of dissertation revisions -- a couple of hours at a time -- because my incisions ache if I sit too long...

Also -- we found a grocery delivery service -- with lots and lots of yummy stuff!! Our delivery arrives tomorrow evening... yumm!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I love my state....

at least, the fact that the NCAA hockey tournament has TWO teams from my state -- meeting one another in semi-finals.

It's kind of sad they won't be meeting in finals --- but, one team will be in finals.

Many of these women were Olympians -- for us and for other countries.

yea -- we rock!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I'm home -- and in very little pain.

It was good to sleep in my own bed last night.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

surgery update

Everything went well.

I'm still in the hospital, but I could go home today or tomorrow.

I love the fact that they have wifi in the hospital.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Undergrad are undergrads all around...

... and debaters aren't all that different.

Most (close to all) undergrads really want to know what's going to be on the exam. That's the gist of many questions, most of which come down to "is that on the test"?

Hubby is in the middle of developing the topic areas for the debate tournament we helped start.

There's an on-line forum connected to that debate format -- and the on-line discussion is pretty much "is there going to be a resolution about that" -- with the variation of "what's the research I need to do to kick-ass"?

Whether or not they admit it, most debaters like to think they are intellectually superior and less lazy than my CC students. What I can't post on that forum discussion is my opinion that they aren't all that different.

Wonderful words to read...

When you are done, send copies to the readers...

Wow --

Today I'll be working on the last pesky chapter -- but, I have a good idea for it -- so, that's progress.

Then -- after my surgery tomorrow - I'll read it for consistency and send it off!

just -- wow!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Logic cheaters...

Three friends.

Three identical -- WRONG answers.

Three grades of 0 in the on-line grade book.

Two bounced e-mails.

Two seemingly innocent questions about why their grade is "not showing up" on the class discussion board.

Two replies of "we need to discuss your exam in private" -- from me.

Hmmm..... I've given them until Monday to figure it out.

Tuesday I'm in surgery and won't deal with this for a month.

If I can't communicate with them, in person, by Monday afternoon the grades stand.

My best bit of advice for logic cheaters is to copy from someone who actually knows how to do the work. That way, your answers won't be uniquely bad.

Friday, March 05, 2010

From the "other" side of the tracks..

... comes a NEW student exam excuse..

I've been teaching for kind of a long time (7 years at BNCC alone) -- every year I have 400-500 students..

I've never had one tell me that she couldn't make the exam because, an hour before the exam, her mother got hauled off to jail, so she had to arrange bail money.

Yep -- her mom went to jail.

I don't know what for -- and I don't want to ask.

I believe her -- she's friends with my tutor, and apparently called the tutor from the car on the way to the jail...


Thursday, March 04, 2010

I get it...

... and I understand both sides of this problem...

Colleges are eliminating smaller "programs" -- like the 1 person Classics department.

For 22 years this guy has been the only person in the Classics "department". He describes teaching a 4/4 load -- that is mostly small classes... His upper-division classes are considered to have healthy enrollments at 5-7 students.

5-7 students in a CLASS.

He also says that he teaches one section of French.

So (this is all speculation) -- he gets paid about what I do -- for teaching in the neighborhood of 50 students. Tht estimate may be high, because it includes the assumption that his French class has 30... which it may well not...

He has a 4/4 load, so it's likely that there isn't much of a research obligation.

I have 50 students in ONE class. This semester I have 4 classes and 190 students (plus a release for being department chair...).

I also think that -- in the last 22 years -- he could have worked to increase the size of his department. I say that, as the 2nd full-time faculty member hired at BNCC. Wise Woman was #1 -- with a bunch of adjuncts, I was #2, 7 years ago. Together we advocated for two more hires... and it worked.

So -- while I think cutting Classics isn't a good idea -- I also think that he had it pretty cozy for a long time and didn't want to change... until it was too late and the college/economy changed under him.

On having substitues...

I've never taught K-12. I've never had a long absence (a week max..), or - at least one that wasn't planned into the syllabus -- like when I took a long time for debate nationals...

So, having a colleague teach my classes is a new experience for me.

It's required me to openly discuss my teaching methods, my class' abilities etc.

What's kind of odd about it, is that I'm still doing all the grading. I'm still the one who handles all the problems etc.. they are the ones conducting the classes I've planned.

The results will be interesting, to say the least. In Logic I'll give an exam my first week back -- so, my subs will do the teaching of the material and I'll be doing the assessment.

In Ethics, my sub is starting conversations on topics -- and I'll be evaluating their understanding of the topic in essay questions.

I'm really lucky to have fantastic colleagues who will help me out -- and it's quite fortunate that we didn't follow our old dean's requirements for scheduling -- (she wanted us all on campus 5 days/week...), as this only works because my logic subs are off T/Th... when all THREE of my logic classes meet.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Good Cancer news!!

Last week I had a PET scan (no furry beasts, just 30 minutes in a machine with my arms over my head).

The results are good -- nothing unusual -- I'm "normal".

For those of you ahead of me on the "cancer" trip -- you know how good this kind of news feels... and, for those of you behind me -- yes, it does feel as good as you think it will. Hang in there, you'll be there soon enough.

For now, perhaps a celebratory nap?

A thought on failure...

I'm coming to the conclusion that, in order to help some students succeed, you MUST permit them to fail.

Yep -- fail. Fail an exam they aren't prepared for. Fail a paper that sucks. Fail a class they didn't give their full attention to.

At my CC I have many smart, talented and ambitious students. I also have quite a few that can barely make it out of their parents' basement for an 11:00 class...

Their high schools didn't do them any favors by letting them slide by. Other profs haven't done them any favors by holding their hands. My theory is that I can give them the best resources and teaching I can provide - BUT, it's up to them to take advantage of it.

My logic class is a perfect example.

I have a decent book. I'm experienced teaching -- hundreds, if not thousands of students have earned Bs or As with my teaching techniques. I put the answers to ALL the problems on my office door. I take the exam from the problems -- and, last but not least I have an AMAZING tutor.

About 20% of my logic students will fail Thursday's exam miserably. About 2/3 of them will re-take successfully -- and the rest of them will work with my AMAZING tutor --- or drift away.

In Logic -- at least in my class -- you choose to fail.... and I'm all about respecting choices.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Don't wait until the last minute...

... I tell them.

Their exam has been open since Feb 19.

Today is March 1 -- the exam closes in 2 hours..

9 of them haven't taken it -- 2 are taking it right now.

Frankly, I'm kind of hoping they have "issues" -- that will teach them not to put it off.

Also -- since I pretty much gave them answers to EVERY essay question either Feb 17 or 19 -- and few of them actually took notes -- I hope their memories suck.

Yea -- I'm having a bit of random student irritation today... so sue me.