Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The age-old dilemma

World peace or the blonde?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bumper Sticker Watch

Seen today on the way home from the museum: "What Would Scooby Do?"

I am back to looking carefully, because I need a new sticker for my car. (Currently, it hosts an Obama '08 sticker.) I think a simple message might be best, something like "Wicked" or maybe "Truthiness." Other thoughts? History related perhaps?


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Online class WTF?

I opened the new term with a new online course, filled to the brim (and overflowing) with eager students. The first assignment they have in my class is to introduce themselves. Tell us their name and an interesting fact about themselves. Yada yada yada.

Then I get this one: "Hi, I'm [Student] and I'm a nympho."

I quickly deleted the message and sent [Student] a reply reminding her about what is appropriate for a class chatroom.

She replaces the message with, "Hi, I'm [Student] and I give in easily to peer pressure."

WTF? Is this something that should concern me? Or is this some sort of stupid-college-kid-style dare?


Friday, April 10, 2009

Letting go

I've always had a problem with students who disappear. I know this is a common occurrence, and I resist it probably because I was quite dedicated to school in my day, and quite unlikely to have something major derail me from school. I had enough money, no major health problems, no major tragedies. That's simply not the case with many people.

In the past, when a student disappears, or still attends but stops trying, I got flustered and frustrated, and wondered what I had done wrong. Or wondered what I could do to reach them. And I'm glad that I'm the kind of person who makes the extra effort. But I'm through with taking this on by myself.

I learned this in recently when I had a student contact me to let me know that he couldn't attend class because he was "a guest of the county" (ie -- in jail.) Just one day, then they set a court date. He asked me if I would write a letter for the judge stating he was enrolled in college and almost done with the term, and if they could delay jail time until after the term was over, that would be nice. I asked as few questions as possible (I seriously DON'T want to know!!!) and wrote the letter. He called me to thank me profusely for it, and said the judge agreed to the delay. Great!

Then he didn't show up for the final.

So, recognition that there is more to my students than their coursework. They have jobs and families and responsibilities (and criminal records, evidently! This is not the only time I've had a "guest of the county" in my classes). I can only do so much. I'm slowly finding that happy medium: Try to reach out, but know when it's time to let go.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Daily Affirmation

Except it doesn't happen daily. But it happened today:

Scene: me walking by a group of male students on my way home today.
First male student: "Hey, how you doing?"
Second male student, "Dude, that's a TEACHER!"

Labels: ,

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

To Be Read at some point in the future

Back from the OAH with a whole slew of stuff to read. Prepping for a new class on gender in American history next fall.

  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! (can't make it all serious...)
  • Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed
  • Crow Dog, Lakota Woman
  • Butler, Gender Trouble -- OK, I get it, gender is a performance and you know a lot of big words.
  • Ryan, Mysteries of Sex
  • Spear, "Colonial Intimacies" -- so clear and useful! Wish more articles were like this one.
  • Godbeer, Sexual Revolution in Early America -- awesome! Loved it.
  • Barr, Peace Came in the Form of a Woman
  • Gutierrez, When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away

    Labels: , ,

  • Monday, March 09, 2009

    Audiobook Kiss of Death

    I recently started... and stopped the audiobook of Cry the Beloved Country. I was enjoying it -- really! -- but I just couldn't do it anymore. Instead, I went out and checked the hardback from the library.

    Here's the thing. I drive close to 100 miles a day. I spend 2 hours in the car. It is a relaxing commute, with beautiful scenery and very little traffic, and I love my Prius. But my audio must not further relax me. The woman reading the audiobook had a lovely, lilting South African accent. She spoke slowly, with a relaxed and musical cadence. She complemented the text nicely.... she was putting me to sleep.

    That's not what I'm looking for in an audiobook. Seriously. Kiss of death. The only other time this has happened was listening to Henry James' Portrait of a Lady. I liked the story, but just couldn't handle the audiobook.

    Give me a good Sarah Vowell anyday. Funny, slightly nasal, and fascinating.

    Labels: ,