Friday, September 30, 2016

Well, at least...

I am getting some stockinette stitch knitting done, courtesy of New Rule. Working more on the current "simple socks," and then last night I pulled out a cowl I've had on the needles for something like a year and a half - it's just all stockinette, knit of Kidsilk Haze.

I read a few papers on Oklahoma prairie which give me some ideas for the talk, and last night read some on monarch butterfly conservation and now I also probably have a paper in mind for the next time I teach Senior Seminar and need to do a paper discussion. (In academia, sometimes you have to play the very long game).

I dunno. I guess I feel a little less dumb (or maybe it was dulness I was feeling). If I were better at fooling myself, I'd say I'd made progress.

I'm tired though and sick of dealing with people. I have people struggling in one of my classes. One is coming in to see me this afternoon and I don't know what I'm going to say to them about it; it seems to me almost to be the point where dropping the class might make more sense but there is no good tactful way to approach that.

The other person has been making demands of me. This is someone who, because of their background, seems to have been raised to think of themselves as special and deserving of extra-special treatment and of course a faculty member would come in in hours outside of normal class or work time to provide extra one-on-one tutoring.

Which I won't do, for several reasons:

a. In this day and age, it's a very, very, very bad idea to be alone in a building or even a room (if the door isn't open and other people aren't around) with a student. Too good a chance of someone deciding to say something happened that didn't happen.

b. I'm salaried. I get paid for just over 40 hours of work a week. I put in over 40 hours many weeks and I'm not going to put in CLEARLY extra.

c. I hold ten hours of office hours per week, and I am also willing to make (business-hours) appointments with people. The student in question is either in class or in practice during ALL the times (apparently) I am NOT in class between 7 am and 6 pm.

I dunno. Because, as I've said before, I'm so firmly in Guess Culture ("do not ask for something that seems to put the other person out, do not ask for things where it seems likely the answer is going to be no") I often wonder, when I have to say "no" to someone's request, if I'm being utterly unreasonable.

Of course, I can look at (a) above and tell myself, that because our world is (imho) currently fallen so far I am solely protecting myself....

But still, I get so tired some times of the level of expectation I hear. I had someone in another class ask me if I couldn't type up the stuff I say in class and distribute it (yes, instead of them taking notes). First of all, it doesn't work that way - I don't work from notes, I've been doing this too long for that, and sometimes I will use different examples each semester, and the time I would spend writing stuff up (even if I could remember exactly what I said in class) would take away from other things I need to do.

But secondly: there have been abundant studies showing that writing stuff down yourself (and WRITING - not typing, not recording) actually helps you learn and remember it. I KNOW this is true of me, to the point where I take notes when I am in seminars or talks even when they don't really have a lot of bearing on my own research, because it helps me to pay attention.

I don't know if this is a "times have changed" thing or a "people who become professors were oddball students" thing but I do see that occasionally - someone who fundamentally is saying, "Do all the work for me so I can get my diploma and get a job that pays better than the one you have"

I also had someone imply that my "review sheets" should be copies of the exam given ahead of time, rather than lists of topics to study or figures in the book that should be examined. I want to say, but don't, that when I was a student we didn't even GET review sheets - our notes were our review sheets. And anyway, it's totally dishonest to give a copy of the exam ahead of time....if I'm gonna do something like that, it's gonna be a take-home exam, it's gonna be long and hard and require outside research.

I don't know. I hope this isn't the semester that breaks me. I've got 13 years to go before I can retire with full benefits and I really need to be able to stick it out.

I also have to say, about cell phones: except for the fact that they're great if you're out in the field or if your car breaks down, I pretty much hate them. I had to hassle someone more than once to put away their cell phone this week. I know the usual argument about that is "If you were only more interesting...." but if I were interesting enough to compete with facebook or whatever it is, I'd be in an entertainment job where I'd be making at least five times what I do now.

I don't know what we'll do once they develop implantable ones. I hope I'm retired by then.

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

Do you allow recorders in class? If so, a student could bring a small recorder and record your lectures. Then they could review them at their leisure and take notes. Can they record on their cellphones?