lunadelcorvo: (Summer light)
So, I will try to inaugurate my return to LJ not with a meme or quiz, as has been my wont, but with...just life. Here we go!

I'm done with classes for the summer. I got me evaluations, and they are pretty good. My numbers are still above national, institutional, and departmental averages. As far as comments, it's a mix, as it usually is. And it's rarely a surprise, either. There will be one or tow disengaged students that will whine about too much reading, too much writing, too hard, etc. Welcome to college! I'm a big pussycat compared to some of the best instructors I had; count your blessings, you lazy sots! The enthusiastic students will be complimentary, and occasionally offer legit critique or advice, which I actually welcome. The rest can barely be bothered to fill out the eval at all, and therefore refrain from comment. All my peer faculty assessments are glowing, so I'm tickled, all in all!

I'm doing this thesis thing (again!). Still not 100% sure WHY I'm putting myself through the thesis process again, but it's gong well, if slowly. I'm trying to use COMM theory to analyze early illustrated manuscripts of Dante's Divine Comedy. COMM theory is resisting. I'm (slowly) persevering. Good news is, once I beat the theory into submission, the rest is cake; I can talk Dante all day long!

I'm teaching the Photoshop summer camp for the third year, and I seem to have picked up two more, as well: websites and movies (egad! wish em luck on those; I know how to do both, but necessarily how to teach middle schoolers!). But it's quick and easy money, so no complaints!

Otherwise, I am chilling and enjoying the summer! Rather unlike many parents I talk to, I am actually thrilled when my kid is out of school; I hate sending him back in the fall! Although, we are really excited about this fall. He's going to a very small private school that bases its educational framework on classical education and Socratic method. They are amazing, and I am hoping this is what the Niblet needs. He's SO damned smart, but he hates school, largely because he sees he's getting crap for education. Here's hoping this gives him something to sink his teeth into!

So that's it. I'm relaxing between wrestling matches with the thesis, gaming a bit, doing a little Latin and Art with the Niblet, and just living. I like summer. :)
lunadelcorvo: (Can it be A time now?)
This is sort of out of nowhere, but it's actually a long comment I left in response to a poll by "templeghosts" over on LJ. I ended up spending a bit of time on it and thought I'd share. I'm also curious as to your thoughts on this generally.

- I think everyone should go to college, if for no other reason than (here in the US, at least) elementary education has become astonishingly dumbed down. My son has been lucky enough to get into some of the best schools in our area (largely because of where we live; he is still in the public system), but the education he has received throughout has been rudimentary and shallow. As a professor, I also see freshman every year, and their lack of basic reading, writing, and thinking skills together with their overall lack of cultural literacy is appalling. The "basic education" one used to get by the end of high school now requires college. Someone mentioned an MA now being considered the benchmark that a BA used to be? Given the dearth of actual education students receive by the end of high school, that makes perfect sense.

- I also think that there should be some kind of mandatory waiting period BEFORE going to college. Nobody knows themselves well enough at 18 to decide the course of their own lives, and they often don't have a clue about how the world works. Make them go live on their own for a while, travel, practice being a self-sufficient proto-adult, THEN college.

- I do think tuition should be if not free, then affordable. The ways in which universities bilk students for ever more money makes me see red, especially in light of the cash cow that is college sports. Too often, the "academic side" of a university never sees a penny of that sports cash.

- I also think that NO degree program should be without foundational humanities/gen ed content. Yes, pre-med students DO need philosophy, pre-laws do need art, business majors (maybe more than anyone) need history. Maybe Plato and Napoleon have no direct bearing on performing surgery or negotiating a corporate merger, but I don't want to trust my body or my economy to myopic 'vocationally trained' automatons that have never heard of Plato or Napoleon...(or cracked a work of literature, or studied a painting in context). The same goes for basic science, literature, composition, logic, etc. The lack of education in these broad, general, culturally foundational areas is why we have politicians who have no clue what evolution is, or how climate change works, or how women get pregnant.

- No, I have not 'pushed' my son towards college. With two professors as parents, both of whom have completed at least one degree in his lifetime, I think it's inevitable; he sees, first hand, that education is its own reward, and already observes the disastrous lack of education in our public figures. He's also painfully aware of how little actual education he's getting (and he's even in the advanced program, which I note not to brag, but to point to the lamentable state of education at large), and is often frustrated by it.

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Things I need to remember:
• Asking for help is not, as it turns out, fatal.
• Laughing is easier than pulling your hair out, and doesn't have the unfortunate side effect of making you look like a plague victim.
• Even the biggest tasks can be defeated if taken a bit at a time.
• I can write a paper the night before it's due, but the results are not all they could be.
• Be thorough, but focused.
• Trust yourself.
• Honesty, always.

Historians are the Cassandras of the Humanities

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