Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Curious Little Monkey

My third class session isn't even until tonight, and already I've had the following cliched emails from students:

  • the long, meandering story about how he missed class because he couldn't find it even though he "wandered around" Ballantine Hall for 25 minutes looking for it--oh, and there was no capitalization of his sentences--???

  • the concise email consisting of four bullet-point questions asking about finicky little details in the five-point homework assignment due tonight

  • the stupid question that asks about the exact same thing that I said three times in class on Monday--no, there's no forum open for tonight's homework assignment, because you're turning it in during class!

Normally, I'm actually pretty fond of my classes--teaching isn't necessarily my life's dream, but it has purpose, and I consider teaching some of my fellow humans effective written communication skills to be something of a mission of service. This semester, though, I've just started off really twitchy from the beginning. I dread having to get myself and the girls ready for the parent trade-off, I really miss my family during the three evening hours three times a week that I'm gone, and the late-night bike ride home leaves me still exhausted the next morning. I've also been feeling twitchy about Will's preschool lately, too--Bloomington Montessori is such a terrific school, and Willow absolutely adores it, but it's crazy-expensive, and I'm not sure how well a school institution, even a cool one like Montessori, fits with my parenting values. So, yeah, it is completely impossible this year for me to renege on my teaching contract and pull my girlie out of school, but my reactions at the start of this new school year are something to think about...

Know who else likes thinking about stuff? Curious George!

This is the first quilt I've posted on etsy in a while, since I've instead been making a few for the house, but eventually, of course, I ran into my perennial problem when I find that I really like making something--um, how many T-shirt quilted wall hangings do we need?

With these little guys, though, and unlike with the bigger quilts, I loooove quilting. Can you tell?

I don't normally do a lot of quilting to my full-size T-shirt quilts because they're already so busy that I think more pattern is distracting, but with these single-image quilts it's much easier to quilt a really creative, elaborate design that only enhances the primary image. Yay.

Oh, and yes, the Star Wars quilt is off of my etsy shop--it's happily wending its way over to its new home right now. And no, I don't know when I'll make another. I can only make a full-size quilt after I collect several T-shirts, and that depends on Goodwill and the dumpster diving.


Anonymous said...

Umm...Ballentine is a big, tall, building but as far as I can recall the number system with the floors (0 is the basement, 1 is the first floor, etc) wasn't that complicated. *rolls eyes* students.

My husband teaches at Ivy Tech, and he gets the same crap that his high school students give him. You'd think by the time they get to college they'd have some level of personal responsibility. I guess I'm just expecting too much from them ;-)

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I bet I sent a few emails to my teachers asking fincky details about assignments. I'm a pretty avid over-achiever.

julie said...

I know--it's the whole grading concept that destroys me. Students should be students because they have the avid drive to achieve and the personal responsibility to accomplish it. Grades should just be the evaluation system of how well you're mastering a concept so far. I always offer the learning goals I want students to master in each assignment--you know, for this summary assignment I want you to know how to find and formulate an author's thesis statement, to be able to follow and recreate the flow of logic the author uses to prove the thesis, and to understand that an author's conclusion makes a broader point than the original thesis. That's what we practice in class, that's what I emphasize when I hand out the ten-point homework assignment, and yet then I have to field 15 questions that have nothing to do with the conceptual learning goals or the assignment itself, really, but instead ask, "Does it have to be a whole page?" "Is it due at the beginning of the next class or the end?" "Do you want us to double-space?" "Do we have to bring all our books to the next class?" It's so beside the point! I think it bothers me so much more this semester because I have these little learners at home who LOVE to learn, who couldn't care less about what someone else wants them to produce, but who are so immersed in their interests that they really do make incredible achievements. Ugh--I used to tell my students that they acted like four-year-olds sometimes; now I wish they did!