lunadelcorvo: (Default)
So, real life entry! Been a pretty good week, actually. This is my last full week of uni classes (thank goodness!) though my HS/MS classes will go through the end of May. 

The yard is pretty much stabilized, so if I can keep up with the few weeds/vines that pop up for a few more weeks, I think I will have a good handle on it not becoming a jungle again! Imagine: I might even be able to USE my patio! Who'dd'a thunk it???

The niblet is in the Chamber Choir at his HS, and last night they did an amazing rendition of Gabriel Fauré's Requiem with the choir and orchestra. There were a few squeakers from the orchestra, but it was a really good performance, especially for such an incredibly complicated piece! I'm so proud of that kid I could burst sometimes. Of course I was geeking out all over the place that they did it in Latin...LOL

Otherwise, I'm just waiting for the weekend! I have a pretty big stack of grading to do, but I should have a good bit of downtime, too. And we should be back to our D&D campaign, which is a lot of work (I'm the DM, and it's an all-original campaign), but a heckuva lot of fun! Mostly, though I'm looking forward to sleeping!

I adore my HS/MS teaching; the school is amazing, the kids are fantastic, I can throw pretty much anything at them and they will tackle it head on. But OMG, I am so not a morning person! At least they start a bit later than Niblet's school, but I still have to get up to get him up, and even so, it's not by much. :( *yawn* Sooooooo sleepy.....
lunadelcorvo: (Summer light)
...and with, Spring Fever!

My students were positively insane today! It doesn't help that I have them for the last class of the day in Friday. I adore them, but OMG, there were a few I wanted to stuff in a sack!

These are my middle schoolers, BTW, and they are amazing and smart and inspiring, but also wiggly as hell....

Doesn't help that I'"m not immune to the spring fever myself. I am pretty over this semester/year. Oh, and then there is that other spring fever, also known as hayfever.... *achoo!*

Still, I love spring here - I fall in love with living here all over again every spring, and every fall. (Which is a good thing, since the summers nearly cook me, and Jan/Feb just suck in general....)
lunadelcorvo: (Tea Spell High art)
Not much going on, but trying to stick to my (oft-repeated) determination to actually be here!

Classes are going really well; I've just begun to shake up my students, which is always very rewarding. In Utopia/Dystopia, they are having to come to grips with the idea that America is NOT the be-all of a perfect society! It's great when I can lead them to realize this in in their own - that's how minds open! And in Dev. of Christianity, we have just dealt with how little evidence we have outside of the bible for Jesus ever existing, and how very dodgy the biblical 'evidence' really is. Then we went right into an overview of 1st-3rd century heresies. It's funny how easily they can spot the logical inconsistencies there, compared to if I started them on contemporary stuff. But by the time we get to 20th century, they will be used to thinking critically - that, again, is where minds open. So good stuff all round!

Getting the countertops installed tomorrow! Yay; no more temporary counters of old cabinet doors! Of course this means I have to unhook the sink (again) and will need to re-plumb the new one...*sigh* Hopefully no more than one (maybe two) days of no kitchen sink.... First world problems again, I know. LOL

OK, geek moment: Picking up Diablo 3 for Xbox today (been playing on Mac for ages). Whee! Also SO totally psyched for updates on all my favorite games: D3 Reaper of Souls expansion, and Fable Legends both look *awesome!!!!* And still hopeful for Dragon Age: Inquisition - I adored Origins SO, SO, much, and DA:II just really didn't do a thing for me. (Maybe if I'd played it first, but it was a piss-poor followup to the awesome that was Origins...) SO yes - much squeeing for this little geek girl!

Oh, and tea. I'm in a huge tea phase right now - just got a big batch of Jasmine Dragon, and mixed up a new batch of my black tea/berry blend. Gonna float away at this rate, but what the heck - tea is good, right?
lunadelcorvo: (Medieval Scholar)
Well, almost. I have one stack of exams yet to grade, but I'm done with classes themselves, on both sides of the desk!

I had some amazing work from my students this term; I'm really proud and very impressed by a number of them! Who said you can't teach theory to freshmen? Then again, I had more people just blow stuff off than ever before! Whole research papers without a single citation, students not bothering to turn in research papers (20% of final grade! WTF?) or just taking half the semester 'off' and showing up for the exam. Weird. Still, on balance, a very satisfying semester teaching-wise.

I managed to pull off As in both my own courses, somewhat to my surprise in one case. You may recall the 'difficult' prof I mentioned earlier? The arrogant one, who also threatened to take a letter grade off because of my 'absences' a.k.a. going to and presenting at professional conferences. Um, hello? Isn't that kind of central to the business of academia, and THIS is why you want to dock my grade? Like I turned in any bit of work that wasn't an A.... Oi.

The other course was Comm Theory. On the one hand, it was pretty easy; I've studied half this stuff before in the context of the original theories, like Foucault, Sartre, Baudrillard, etc. On the other, it was kind of hard for me to take some of it seriously, more or less for the same reason. "Oooh, you figured out that people choose what to reveal and what not to reveal for reasons of power? That's nice; Foucault did that 20 years before you did, and did it better." On one of my essays RE this theory ("Privacy Management Theory") I attached a few pages of Foucault's chapter on confession and the perpetual spirals of power and pleasure. Arrogant, perhaps. The program seems to keep falling over itself at having an 'academic' in the program (the vast majority are business folks taking this as a first graduate experience for the sake of advancement in their jobs), so the professors I've worked with tend to appreciate that I take a different, and decidedly more 'academic' perspective even where I call bullshit on some of what they are teaching. *shrug* Works for me, I suppose.

I'm getting PhD hankerings again. Oi, again. LOL. First thing is going to have to be Latin - I really need to get my shoddy Latin up to snuff to even be considered most anywhere I want to go (options for which are severely limited by my location). Anything I do will involve a commute of some kind - the question is how far, and how often. So we shall see. No hurry, I can keep chipping away at this COMM MA for now, while I explore the possibilities.

Meanwhile - summer break! w00t! What the heck am I going to do with myself all summer! (OK, try to brush up Latin, but OTHER than that.....LOL)
lunadelcorvo: (Medieval Scholar)
Just got my official notice of classes for fall, and I picked up an extra for this coming semester, which is always a boon to the pocketbook!

So, for Spring I'm teaching (freshman) Theories of Religion and Development of Christianity (wherein I more or less throw the whole kit and kaboodle right under the bus!)

In Fall, it will be (freshman) Utopia/Dystopia and Development of Christianity, and (junior) Self, Place & Culture.

And for my own courses, I'm taking another foundation course, Comm Theory, along with an advanced topics course called "The Movie is the Message," dealing with social and cultural messages in film. I suspect I can do all sorts of interesting things with that! The theory should be...interesting. I have my misgivings about rampant theory-using generally (as I discussed a while back here), but I still tend to be far more conversant in theoretical areas than the "social sciences" aspects of communication as a discipline. However, the prof is as purely social science oriented as you can get, which should add some spice to the conversation.

Combine that with the tendency of Comm to kidnap theory from other disciplines without ever owning up to it, and my own tendency to recognize from whence the ideas have come ("Hey, wait a sec! That's Sartre's intersubjectivity!" or "That's Foucault's perpetual spirals pf power and pleasure!" statements have so far been met with rather blank stares...), ought to make for a really interesting semester....

Tally ho! Off to write my syllabi!
lunadelcorvo: (Xmas Cocoa)
No, actually, it's going really well! In my classes, I turned in the 'Giant Research Prospectus from You-Know-Where (TM) and gave the accompanying presentation. Got my grades back, and perfect scores on both! Ah-boo-yah! Finished that class with 359 our of 395 possible points! I guess I can handle this COMM stuff after all! One more grade to get in my other class, but I have no real concerns there, either. Last class for that one meets at the professor's house, which should be very nice!

I am buried in papers to grade for my own classes though! Final total will be something like 40 8-10page research papers, and as many essay final exams. (Maybe I need to look into scantron exams after all.....) But I'll get through it, and overall, my classes are wrapping up really nicely! I've had a lot of students tell me they've enjoyed it, which is always a real bonus for an instructor!

Enough of that - off to grade, and then to turn in course proposals for Fall '13! Egad! Cheers!
lunadelcorvo: (Badass is in!)
And some of them are awesome! I got another class for fall, and the chair told me it was up to me if I wanted to just do another section of the same course, or, in his words "try something different." (That kind of trust and freedom is why I LOVE LOVE LOVE teaching at this university!) So I gave it some thought, and decided to try something completely new and different. Here's the 'official' course description:
Literature is full of imagined worlds, some appealing, others terrifying. In this course we will survey Utopias and Dystopias from a variety of sources ranging from Greek myth to Thomas More’s Utopia, the plays of Henrik Ibsen to George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four. We will also look at selected examples of utopia/dystopia from popular film and television. The emphasis will be on critical reading of literature, and a thoughtful, unbiased cultural interpretation of utopian/dystopian fiction as revealing social commentary.

In terms of contemporary relevance and critical thinking, we will consider both what an ideal world might look like (and whether such a thing is possible) and what the dystopian visions we encounter tell us about our own fears and the dangers of the societies we hold dear.

In addition to extensive in-class discussion, and several short response or reflection essays, students will apply research skills, thesis selection and argument formation to the completion of a research paper. The research project will include the preparation of a proposal and presentation of their work to their classmates in addition to the final paper.
I haven't quite decided what sort of film/TV I will bring in yet, but I am thinking Blade Runner and The Matrix for film and Dollhouse and Firefly for TV are all top contenders. For Ibsen, I think I will do either A Doll House or Hedda Gabler together with The Master Builder.

The chair said it sounded wonderful, and I am really quite psyched - these are some of my favorite works, so I am totally jazzed to be teaching them! So yeah, sometimes, life is grand!
lunadelcorvo: (Default)
Well, I had my chair in to evaluate my teaching today. *collapses in nervous heap* I wasn't really too wigged about it before hand, and class went fine, but I find I'm a little wound up now, after the fact!

I think it went well. We ended early, but we were reviewing for our mid-term exam, so not much to do about that. It's hard to leave time for students to ask questions, but at the same time, be sure to use all your time.... But my reviewer said he understood, and he seemed pleased. He asked some questions about how the students participate, but said it was good that they were asking questions, and didn't seem afraid to do so. He asked if I had any that just wouldn't talk, and I said there were a few that had only piped up occasionally. He asked if I would pick a student that hadn't talked, and I said I didn't think it was my place to put anyone on the hot seat, but that I would say something like "OK, anyone but these three" or whatever, if I kept getting answers from the same few students. He seemed to like that a lot, too.

Given that the topic is religion, he asked if I was surprised at their (lack of) background knowledge. I said I was sometimes quite surprised, and had had to make some adjustments on that basis. Then I told him I had had them write a mini-bio first thing, and I was really pleased to see that no one had been at all judgmental, but there was a lot of exchange going on between students of different backgrounds. I think he really dug that. He also said he saw good signs (asking questions, taking notes, looking back in their notes in order to offer answers, that kind of thing). He also seemed to like the way I structured the exam, in that I tried to focus on having them make connections in material over just regurgitating facts.

So, I think I've done the best possible, and I shall simply have to wait and see how it comes out in the written report.... (And I'm clam as can be about it. Really. I am, honest....)
lunadelcorvo: (My brain hurts)
So, I know I haven't been saying much. Part of this has been complete, utter, unbelievable end-of-semester/MA-almost-finished overloaded/tired/burned out like, whoa. Add on assorted family drama, and a nasty fall for allergies, and it's a miracle I've hauled my butt out of the house the last few weeks.

Not much left, though - one last test (Friday), one final (Wednesday), a short paper (7 pages - oooh!) and a brief essay (due the 9th). Well, and major revisions to the MA From Hell™, but those I actually have some time for. Really, it's not quite as much as it sounds like.

So, provided I can claw my way through the next, say, 6 days, I think I'll make it. Promise to post all the gory details then. Right now, though, solo un po 'più italiano prima di andare a letto. Auguratemi buona velocità, buoni voti, e tanto sonno! Buona notte!

P.S. I had my new faculty orientation today! I are a professor now! *squee* *yawn* (Well, a tired professor, but still...)

P.P.S. Er, when the heck did it get go bloody cold in this house! WTF? *shivers*



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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