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Friday, May 29, 2015


I spent some time today working on the Betrayal and Fidelity chapter: I realized I needed to do what I recommend to students, which is to simply get ideas on the "page"--well, actually, page without the scare quotes, as I did print the bugger out: I very quickly get to the point where I can't see what I have unless I see it on paper, and even just a random bunch of jottings won't go anywhere until I wrestle with it in physical form.

But I'm still struggling with focus, concentration, so I turned my attention for a while to getting some stuff pulled together for my fall classes--mostly the 101s, which I am, as I have mentioned, revamping yet again. I find I'm having a hard time letting go of the idea of three papers, despite the fact that I want to spend a lot more time working with their papers in class--and do not want to ask them to read about one topic while writing about another: I think it's important that they can put all their time and attention into taking the information they already have and continually refining how they write about it.

To that end, I've already changed the focus of their first writing assignment. I've always been frustrated that I see their initial self-evaluation as a little, simple homework exercise, but they see it as an ESSAY--but it occurred to me that the students have actually presented me with a great opportunity: I can use that initial "essay" as the springboard into their first real essay (in my terms). So the first thing they write is going to be a personal response to an article I'll have them read, how it relates to their own experiences. It's an article about education, and expectations--and we can use those responses to gradually shift into actual academic writing.

But reconfiguring all that is going to be more complex than I realized before I started working on it. Similarly, my brilliant idea about having them track their grades numerically--subtracting from a total as the semester goes along--is going to take not only some careful thinking through of assignments and how I've weighted those assignments in the past but also the simple math of the thing. I still think it's a good idea ("brilliant" may be an overstatement), but making the shift is going to be more challenging than I anticipated.

I hope I can get some work done tomorrow, too, and Monday (Sunday is "life maintenance" day), and that I can make myself stay at the office and work after my meeting and tutorial sessions, learning the online platform. It's important to me to have some of the class stuff worked out before I head out of town at the end of June, so I'm not utterly frantic in August.

Now, however, I have to go be a student of equitation. It's a gorgeous day to be on horseback, beats hell out of sitting at a computer, so off I go.


  1. The "Brit"May 30, 2015 at 9:30 PM

    Hello, just thought I'd pop in and leave a comment as I was reminded of you recently. (Though I'm unsure if you check for comments).

    I was reminded of an observation you made on this blog on the pitch of my voice on my Voicemail. At the time you noted that it was lower in person and that it seemed I was lowering my pitch in an attempt to mask the way I sounded. Which is the very reason a strange occurrence brought me here.

    Recently a friend of mine mentioned to me that my Voicemail recording sounded a bit strange. Now I'll admit I don't use phones often, but I didn't think I was quite this bad. As it turns out, my Voicemail recording was from around the sixth or seventh grade. I've apparently had the same recording for all this time. Which would explain, I suppose, why you assumed I was lowering the pitch of my voice. Funnily I had absolutely no idea that I had left it the same for quite so long.

    Just thought I'd share this inconsequential fact as I felt uncommonly compelled to as you may find it humorous. I certainly did.

    I hope things are well, or well enough at least, and I wish you luck in your endeavors.

    1. The realization about your voice-mail message is indeed interesting--and amusing. I also have to say that your photo on the photo roster looked much younger than you look in person: you may well be changing much faster than you are aware, since you're an adult, albeit a young one. You may be amused to know that I often get comments on the way my voice sounds on my home voice mail: it's been variously described as "perky" (gag) and "cheerful" (I can stomach that). My family are amused by how "professional" I sound on my office voice mail--though some colleagues have given me a hard time about the content of the message (as I request that people leave their names and numbers "slowly and clearly," a request my colleagues find hilarious).

      Mostly, I'm delighted that you're still reading the blog from time to time--and I love getting comments (and am automatically notified when I do). So, comment away, with whatever strikes you.

      Thank you, too, for the good wishes. All is indeed very well for me, on all levels. It was a pleasure having you in the class. I hope all's well--and I'd love for you to keep in touch from time to time, let me know how you're doing. I hope you're set for a wonderful summer, and wish you all best.