Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tuesday morning things

* It feels so much better to be back in a "sane" schedule. (Summer classes move too fast and are too tiring). Also, this fall, for the first time in quite a few "regular" semesters, I am not teaching (much) of an overload: I have 13 contact hours (12 is the minimum; at 16 they are supposed to start paying us extra unless Financial Exigency). For the past few falls, I've taught somewhere around 14-15 and yes that extra hour makes a difference, especially when it's a two-hour lab for which you get one contact hour's credit. (People who teach lots of labs get the shaft - they put in more hours in the classroom. Granted, teaching labs is *fun* but unless it's the big gen-ed labs where you have a TA, it's also a lot of grading and a lot of set-up/break-down). I only have one afternoon lab per week which hopefully means I get a lot of research stuff done this fall.

* It finally got cooler. We got very little of the promised rain (we need it, badly - I saw lots of burned patches by the roadside on my trip to Sherman last week) but at least it's not in the trip digits right now. I'm hoping that it's late enough in the season and the weather patterns have changed enough that we won't see triple digits again this fall, but you never know.

* Working more on Raven. I'm about half finished with the detail on the back - this is "traveling stitches" of a sort, where you do carefully placed increases and decreases in the ribbing to make a broad "V" shape, which I guess is supposed to be reminiscent of folded wings. Then it's the sleeves, which should be simple (just ribbing).

I do want to work up the volition some time soon to start the second sleeve on Hagrid. I know where everything for it is, I just have to dig it out and do it.

* I verbally acknowledged something I've been thinking about for a while. We have to put Title IX and non-discrimination statements on our syllabi. (There have been some.....issues....on campus in the past. Not in my department, but still). And I mentioned it, and went through the list of protected groups, and told the students this was so no one received poor treatment because of who they were, and if they had concerns there was somewhere they could go to talk to someone....and then I added, "I hope I never say anything that offends you in that way. I try not to. I'm awkward sometimes and things sometimes come out wrong. Please come and talk to me first because it was probably a misunderstanding or me being awkward." And I admit, part of that was a C(my)A statement - I don't want to get called on the carpet because someone misheard - but also, I do tend to think that unless someone is openly hostile to you, it's best to come to THEM first rather than going over their head.

I dunno. It seems of late stuff has got a lot more tense. There was a story in the news this morning about a young woman at a high school a few towns over who allegedly was called a racial slur (probably the ugliest one you know) by another student. And a posse of kids got together and beat up the student who made the slur. And yeah, okay - the beating up part was not OK and apparently everyone involved has been suspended in some way. But I can only imagine how tense that school is right now.

I think I've mentioned before that one of my operating principles in life is a casual re-telling of The Golden Rule - in other words, "Don't be a jerk to other people" and intentionally using slurs about them is pretty much the textbook example of Jerk behavior. (And honestly, there's also a strong streak of "Don't start nothin', won't BE nothin'" in my emotional make up....that is, I often bite my tongue in situations where maybe I could - maybe even I SHOULD - say something, because it will lead to upset or perhaps even unfair retaliation (e.g., telling off an administrator for saying something to me I perceive as rude))

I don't know what it is with people. Maybe it's just the bad old "people under stress behave gracelessly" and we're seeing particular examples of that coming out.

And an aside: one of the reasons I make sure my butt is in church every Sunday morning? Because I need the reminder that (a) I belong to God and that means something and (b) The way I behave affects other people for good or for ill, and I want to behave in ways that affect people for good. The week wears me down and drains me but that hour and a half or whatever it is builds me back up. Maybe there are just a lot of people out there who need regular building-up of some kind. I'm not saying "herd everyone into church regardless of their beliefs" but I do wonder if a lot of people just seem to see "negative, negative, negative" all week long with no respite, and that does something to them. Or maybe they just never learned how to treat other people. Or, I don't know.

I also think maybe I need to make myself a tiny sign - maybe the size of a business card - that says "You belong to God" in a nice typeface (or at least the neatest handwriting I can do) and stick it up somewhere on my desk where I will see it. (Yes, I can do that, despite being at a 'state' university; we are allowed some level of free expression in our offices). Both to cheer me up when I get to feeling like I'm the spare giraffe lined up for the Ark (being single can be hard sometimes) but also to remind me that the way I treat other people matters.

1 comment:

Kucki68 said...

Totally not related to your post, but the little doll reminded me of you: