Friday, September 16, 2016

Stuff I've learned

* I have real troubles with the "Future Perfect" in German - I just can't keep the order of verbs (and in most cases there are three) straight, and remember that the clauses go IN BETWEEN two of the verbs.

I really need to dig out my books and focus on sentence structure more: Duolingo is fun for vocabulary but it's awful for actually teaching proper grammar, and I am one of those pedants who wants to learn the underlying rules for stuff.

* Reading around on some of the edu-blogs today, someone quoted stats on special education and it was noted that kids receiving speech therapy count as special ed.

So, for a short time in seventh grade, I was Special Ed. Because my braces gave me a lisp and they tried to work that out of me. (Didn't work that well: I have been without braces for some 30 years and I still lisp slightly, especially when I'm tired. I also sometimes stammer a little when I'm tired or stressed or get two conflicting thoughts in my brain at once). And yeah, I admit I sighed bitterly and thought to myself "I got treated par-for-the-course for the Special Ed kids, too" (And when I got pulled out for extra work on penmanship. And my penmanship is STILL terrible. I print everything because even I can't always read my handwriting.) The thing is, both those things: they didn't help me function as an adult and they made me more miserable as a kid. I wonder what other special ed things are screwing kids up right now that will not lead to them being any more functional as adults?

(And I know from Special Ed kids: a couple of the girls, one of whom I *think* had high-functioning Asperger's and the other of whom had spina bifida, were among the only kids who would sit with me at lunch.)

* What might Neanderthals have sounded like? The "Mrs. Pepperpots" on Monty Python, a little bit:

* I guess I need to be extremely more explicit with instructions. I went over the guidelines for a paper that I handed out - verbally and on paper - and I still got papers that didn't in any way, shape, or form conform to the guidelines. Which makes me sad because (a) the students will be unhappy with poor grades and (b) they will ALLLLLLL be rewriting them (I have that as an option, because of Reasons*) and it means in two weeks I'll have to do this all over again.

(*Reasons: this is the first project of this nature some have attempted and I want to be all Kindly Brontosaurus and not Mr. C. Monty Burns about things and want to be all maternal and welcoming and junk and have it be good for Retention and the like.)

I can't tell if this is

a. "Wharrrgarrrblll I don't know how" (in which case, they should have come in and talked to me; I told them to do that)
b. "LOL, I can rewrite it" (but I'm averaging the two grades and a 100% and a 20% is still just a 60% average....and they knew that going in)
c. "She can't possibly expect that much" (Oh, Grasshopper. You have so much to learn).

I wish I could tell if it was people who were genuinely unprepared and panic-flailing (in which case there's maybe something I can do) or if it's people just, uh....demi-butting** their way through it.

(** the best euphemism I can come up for for half-@$$)

* Speaking of demi-butt, I saw somewhere - one of those random quotations - "If our butt crack was horizontal, our cheeks would applaud when we walked up stairs." I admit I was tired at the time but that made me giggle a little, as awful as it is.

*Could weather prediction be getting *worse*? It seems of late they will be like YES WE WILL HAVE RAIN AND COOLER TEMPERATURES NEXT WEEK and then when "next week" gets here, the predicted temperatures creep back up (we might hit 95 next week. Ice Bear does not approve) and the rain chances go away. Or is this just a freaky season?

* Are you a jerk?. Kind of interesting. And yes, I worry about exhibiting narcissistic (the whole "Am I invisible? I feel invisible, I wish people would notice me") behavior. But I guess I'm not particularly Machiavellian. (And I'm not an a-hole - and yes, there are a few rough words in that article). It is actually interesting in that the guy makes a distinction between jerks and a-holes and I've long thought there was one - that the jerk is more generally self-centered and "not seeing" the other person, but that the a-hole was more directed in how they acted, as in, they want to make a particular person miserable (e.g., like the waiter who, through being overworked, messed up their order, so they're going to make the poor guy suffer for it).

Sometimes I suppose I AM a jerk because I get wrapped up in my own head or my own problems but I do try very hard not to be an a-hole. (If a waiter who seems stressed messes up my order, I will probably send the order back, but will be cool about it, especially if he says, "Oh, wow. Sorry. I really screwed that up." My response is often something along the lines of "That's okay, no one's perfect.")

(Then again: perhaps being a bit of a jerk or even an a-hole is sometimes needed when you are not getting the customer service you need. I've had situations where I've been very sweet and polite and all "Oh, well, no one's perfect" and got no satisfaction - but if I push myself to be ever so slightly grumpy, people snap to. And I HATE that because I tend to think that honey, not vinegar, should catch flies, but I guess, like my old grad-school buddy used to say, "It doesn't TAKE all kinds, there just ARE all kinds..." and some people need a little bit of a cattle prod to get them to do what they aught....)

(And fwiw: the person taking up 2-3 parking spaces if it's close to a store or business: that's being an a-hole. Someone doing it at the tag-end of the lot where it doesn't affect others' ability to find a spot?  I don't care. Do what you will. I figure even with a new car eventually it's going to get dinged so I have never worried about it, but I know some people do. Just, if you're gonna straddle the line of a spot, do it somewhere far away so the poor guy trying to stop off on his way home to get the makings of mac and cheese for his three kids are home sick, or the woman who is trying to get her weekly shopping done before her evening meeting, doesn't have to walk halfway to the moon and back because you took the only three close spots)

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