Thursday, October 30, 2008

Teaching in the Gap

I had an epiphany today. Even though I teach undergraduates at a university, I am teaching to people with a completely different world view. When I was in school professors often opened the first day of class by explaining that everyone in the class was starting with a C and it was each student's choice to raise the grade to an A or B or let it fall to a D or E. You had to work hard to get a B and an A was going to just about kill you.

Now, my students are coming to me asking a very strange question: "How do I keep my A?" Um, what A?

It seems as though we are operating under two very different assumptions. I believe the A is there for them to earn. They believe it is theirs already and they must just maintain it. These assumptions are very different, especially in terms of the work ethic implied and the responsibilities of the professor and student.

What do you think? Am I just starting on my cranky old woman persona early (stay tuned next week when I get three cats and yell at kids to get off my lawn), or is this a legitimate gripe?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Favorite Four Letter Word

Ok everybody. Get your keisters out there and do it....

V O T E !

I took Little Mr. today. We waited for 30 minutes but it was worth it. I literally got a chill when we touched that screen!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Peeing in the Street

Background: For those of you who don't know, my grandpa was the best grandpa ever. He could beat up any other grandpa in the world (except, of course, my other grandpa. That fight would have ended in the cutest tie ever!). Anyway, his diagnostic abilities are legend in our family. Whenever you got gunk somewhere, such as Pink Eye, he would say, "You've been peeing in the street again."

Sunday morning Little Ms. Eris came into our room crying. Her eye was stuck shut. That's right. Pink Eye is back. This is a classic example of the First Principle of Eris's Law, which states:

"I. A Little Eris will only be sick enough to require medical attention or a prescription on a weekend or holiday, thus causing a $50 co-pay for a visit to urgent care."

This is what she looked like after we cleaned her eye out, skipped church (and the primary program) to get a steroid drop in there and went straight to Grandma Numi for a photo. It looked like we had punched her in the eye. Yesterday? It was in the other eye. Today, Littlest Ms. has it. And now, my eyes are itching. Awesome.

So, who's coming over for a visit first? We promise to wash our hands!

Monday, October 20, 2008

You're Kidding, Right?

Two weeks ago I taught two sessions in a quantitative methods course on Excel and how to make charts and graphs and junk. I taught these sessions because there is a homework assignment on using Excel and making charts and graphs and junk that is due tomorrow (Tuesday).

This was a quick, crash course leading to much frustration for my poor students. But I gave them a cheat sheet online. I gave them my email. I conducted two tutoring sessions on campus during Fall Break (yes, that was 6 hours of my Monday and 6 hours of my Wednesday). I gave them my cell phone number. All of this in the hope of helping them through this.

Cut to last night when I got 7 emails from students who just starting on the assignment. ARGH! Today, I have gotten 9 emails from similarly timely and organized undergraduates. I just got an email at 5:00 pm the night before the assignment is due from a student who still hasn't downloaded the damn thing! And finally, a student just called my cell phone to double check that they could create all the charts and graphs and junk by hand and turn it in....

Yup. I was just teaching you Excel to hear myself talk about something reeeeeaaaaaalllllyyyy boring for fun.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Eris Tris Hard

200 meter swim - 6 mile bike - 1.75 mile run. (Give me a break, it was a Beginner, ok!)

And here's how it went:

Time: 52:01 (That would be 9 minutes under my personal best).
Place in group (Beginner): 26th out of 57.
Place among women: 9th
Place in division (31-40 y/o): 4th out of 16.

Was it hard? Yes! Was it fun? Not until the end. Will I do it again? Hell YES! Come and watch on November 22 at WSU!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Full of Awe

Yesterday Mr. Eris and I took Little Mr. Eris to Body Worlds. It was amazing. Go to the website and take a peek - remember: these are real bodies, preserved so we can learn from them.

A couple of things that were particularly interesting:
1. The plastinate jumping a hurdle. This guy was cut into vertical thirds so you could see the various muscle groups at work. I am completely fascinated by the sciatic nerve. That thing is freaking huge!

2. The acrobatic couple. The woman had plates and artificial joints so you could see how science works with your body. Plus she had eyelashes! Stragely enough, that was when it got real, when I saw the eyelashes.

3. The balancing gymanst holding his own thoracic organs above his head. W.O.W.

4. Little Mr. Eris's favorite part? The room filled with barrels to represent the 1,800 gallons of blood your heart pumps every day. His least favorite part? The anatomical correctness of the plastinates. Vajay-jays and peni$es everywhere!

This exhibition was amazing, and I would go again. I hope they bring some of the other versions to SLC soon so I can see the pregnant woman, the man holding his own skin, and the man riding the horse. After seeing my body in this way, I will never think of my Body Pump class or the triathlons the same way. We are amazing machines!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I Can't Believe It Took This Long

Today I got my first piece of hate mail from a student. It was an email. Anonymous, of course. And naturally, it was referring to the past two lectures on measures of central tendency and visual displays of data.
Back in the good ol' days I couldn't just send my professor an unsigned email from a generic hotmail account and bitch at them - I had to bitch right to their face (right, Duchess?).

What I Do on the Train

Failblog makes me laugh every time I look in.

Numi, I am sending this to you, with love.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I am Inadequate

This is the link to a blog belonging to a friend at grad school. The woman is beautiful and sweet and smart.... now I find out she can bake and has this kind of talent, too? What will the rest of us mediocre people do?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Who'd a thunk?

Today I taught 90 undergrads about descriptive statistics and standard deviation. They loved it. Rolling in the aisles, I'm telling you.

Seriously, who would have ever thought I'd be a stats nerd. Thanks a lot, Duchess.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Happy Birthday, Numi!

There are many reasons I am glad the Numismatist is my mama. See yesterday's post for one thing.

Also, she is a good grandma. Correction: GREAT GRANDMA.

She is an amazing woman filled with spitfire and lots of attitude. I like to think of her as the fountainhead of bitchy-ness that Athena and I bare with pride.

She graduated from college in 5 years with two kids and a Nincompoop causing trouble all along the way. And she insisted on paying for every dime herself, even when the gods tried to intercede on her behalf. Now that's one fiesty feminist.

Today is her birthday, though, and I have found one more reason I am glad she birthed me. There is a Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator. I can't explain all the scientific principles involved here, although I am sure they are plentiful and rigorous, but I can tell you that I had been born to the Barracuda my name would have been:
Smoke Strapon Palin
Thank the lucky stars all I got was a mommy who didn't like e's on the end of your name.
Love ya, Numi! You ARE my favorite Mom!