Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Am the Worst. Wife. Ever.

Warning: to those of you who, like my Spouse, have not finished the Harry Potter series, I would suggest you look elsewhere. This post contains spoilers.

You gone?


Ok, let's begin.

As I mentioned, Spouse has not finished Harry Potter. He's on Book 6, about halfway through. But he's totally into it and will be finishing as time permits. Just time doesn't permit too much, and he's not much of a pleasure reader anyway.


He still digs the series and is fascinated by it as a marketing device as much as anything. So he mentions the other night that JKR did an interview in which she "outed" Dumbledore. Telling me, "Now everybody is up in arms about Dumbledore being gay."

To which, unthinkingly, I respond, "What does it matter? He's dead."

To which Spouse responds, "HE'S DEAD??????????????"

Henceforth, I am the worst wife ever.

Labels: ,

Friday, October 26, 2007

Gingham Blanket

Finally done. (Yes, the same one I started in May.) And just in time to start a new (smaller) project.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sports Shorts

1. Go Sox! By the way, K-lyn or Julie or whoever out there follows baseball, what's with Coco Crisp?

2. Spouse was watching football and disparaging pretty-boy model-impregnator Tom Brady. I agreed, saying he was too pretty.
Quinn: "I like a little bit of grit, like..."
Spouse: "Like Brett Favre."
Quinn: "Yeah."

I'm so glad Spouse gets me.

Labels: ,

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...

How was the class observation?

Let's just say that it could have gone better. Granted, it could have gone worse. But we were discussing Rome and the origins of Christianity. And I kid you not, the students launched into a debate about whether the Jews were to blame for the death of Jesus. [Holy hell, get me out of here!!!]

I basically shut down the discussion and said that here was not the place to be debating that. (Andy or kr, I may need some Biblical assistance on this one!) My dean told me I handled the rough patch pretty well, though.

Why couldn't he have been there two days earlier, for Ancient Greece and the naked Olympics? Now that was a rockin' lecture.

Labels: , ,

Monday, October 15, 2007

Our Dinner-time Be-In

While eating dinner tonight, listening to John Denver's versio of "Puff the Magic Dragon."

Wild Boy: "Daddy, why does the man want to puff the dragon?"
Spouse: "Because it feels good, kid, because it feels good."

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

2-sentence Book Review

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Peter Wood's Black Majority is a kick-ass book!

Labels: , ,

Monday, October 08, 2007

Visits and Visitations

Allow me to confess a deep, dark secret: I haven't had my class observed in 9 years. My first semester as a TA, way back in those halcyon days of the fall of 1998, I had to give my first lecture. It was a trial by fire... 570 ill-behaved kids, lecturing on material I hadn't studied since my undergraduate days, while being observed by my boss and the instructor of my teaching practicum class.

It was nerve-wracking.

They said I did well, gave me some pointers (slow down! don't baby them! speak louder!), and we all went on with our lives.

Since then, I've worked as a TA for 5 years, taught my own class, and finally been hired as a full-time, tenure-track instructor. And since then, I've never had another in-class observation. Something or other has always come up, and the general response of my supervisors has been, "I'm sure you're doing fine."

That was then, this is now.

Now I'm tenure-track, and there's a very clear procedure. I am to have course evaluations conducted in all my classes, and a dean-level visitor observe me. We just scheduled it for later this term. He'll be coming to my MWF morning class, my second-most-active class. That's probably good, since it should give a good indication about how I teach... rather than the amazingly amazing afternoon class or the hopelessly quiet TTH class.

This guy is the one who hired me. He came to my teaching demonstration during my interview and praised me tremendously. And yet, I feel like I'm going to throw up just knowing this is looming on the horizon. Is it a visit? Or a visitation?

Labels: ,

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Teaching Woes

h/t to Elle for topic, title, and an uplifting sense of not being alone.

Here's the thing. I'm teaching three classes this term, one in my specialty and two (the history of everything sequence) that is new to me. I'm coming up on my first batch of evaluations, and I've been thinking about the progress of each class. The two history of everything courses are doing, if I do say so myself, quite well! One is incredibly vibrant and the students are already telling me FREQUENTLY that it's their favorite class. The other one started out rough but they're coming around, and I've managed to get close to 80% of the students talking during class discussions. And the topics get pretty heated (and humorous) at times. So I'm happy with that, too.

Then there's my US History class. I am a US History specialist. I have taught this class before. I was tremendously prepared. And yet, the class isn't gelling together. I simply can't get the students to talk, and I can't put forth the sort of energy that I am contributing to my other two courses.

  • I'm dedicating so much energy to not looking foolish in my other courses (where I don't know the subject matter that well) that I'm neglecting this class.
  • It's the biggest class, which makes it harder to incorporate discussion.
  • It meets TTh, so I have not "set aside" particular time in the syllabus for discussion. [Every Friday is discussion day in my MWF classes]
  • It meets for 2 hours at a time. We're all just exhausted by the end of that.
  • It's got lots of young, first term students, who may be anxious about talking in a college setting.
  • It's a state-wide requirement, so the students are taking it because they have to.

    So lots of reasons why this may be happening. But how do I fix it?

    I'm thinking of implementing discussions for the second half of Thursdays. I'm also thinking of doing some small group work (give them a discussion question and let them work it out in a group) to get them used to talking, if not to me, at least to each other.

    Other thoughts, o wise teacher folks on the internets?

    Labels: ,

  • Tuesday, October 02, 2007

    What's So Amazing About That Sweet Glazing?

    Thanks to Dr. Corndog for the post title, which is perhaps the best thing ever.

    I've been super busy with the new job, keeping my head above water teaching two classes I've never taught before, and one I haven't done in a long time. But there's a bright side. Or two.

    1. I love it.

    2. There's a donut shop across the street from campus. It's the local chain that existed when I was a kid in my hometown... the one that my mom used to take my sister and I to every Sunday after church. It was like my sugary reward for surviving an hour of Catholic exposure each week.

    Perhaps I've found it, the donut connection.

    ps. Corndog: awesome new subtitle for your blog.

    Labels: ,