My friend Summer Hanford has a short story available on Amazon. It will be free on December 25th and 26th.
I talked to someone who is working part time and claims he is under employed. He’s spending more than he’s making. At one point in the conversation, he mentioned getting a bottle of water. I suggested a drinking fountain, which was actually closer than the machine selling water. No, he wanted a bottle of water. I realize this is not a major issue, but if I were short on money, I wouldn’t buy water.
She asked me if she could observe my class. I am not supposed to let anyone in who isn’t registered, but I was tempted to say yes. Why not? It wouldn’t hurt. But instead of giving way to temptation, I told her I wasn’t accepting new students. Three weeks of class passed. It was late to start.
She said she was already registered for another section of the class and she just wanted to change sections. What she did not tell me revealed more than what she told me. She did not tell me she had a conflict with work or child care. She did not give me a reason for her desire for a change of section. She was not going to ask me to accept her as a student until she observed me.
She was teacher shopping. I don’t want someone who was teacher shopping. They tend to be picky. If it took her three weeks to find out the teacher was bad, it wasn’t because the teacher’s foreign accent wasn’t understandable. It could easily be because the student had a bad grade or did not understand the material.
Another student asked me to let him join my class after two weeks of class. When I told him it was too late, he started to explain. “My psychiatrist said” were the first three words of his explanation. I don’t want to deal with a student whose psychiatrist is telling him something that makes him not follow the rules. The rules say one should register before the semester starts, not at the end of the second week of class.
I did give permission for one student to come in late. It was a student I had in a previous semester and a work conflict made him have to change sections. This student had two things going for him: I knew he wasn’t a problem student and he had a good reason for the change in sections.
I can’t keep problem students out of my class if they register on time, but I no longer invite them in when they want to come in late.
The community college where I work is going to restructure. If I go by the comments of the faculty, most of the faculty objects to what is being done. I certainly have misgivings about the department chair covering all three campuses and not someone who is in the department. I like having easy access to the chair and having someone who still teaches being the one who makes the decisions as the chair.
I haven’t paid much attention to the arguments in favor of this structure, although they were available online. In the opening meeting, the college president said we were going with this structure. Over the next couple of days, I heard quite a number of people saying very vague things in support of it. There is only one argument that I heard repeated: Good people will make any structure work.
I am pretty sure that I didn’t hear the same message that the people who were supposed to support restructuring were trying to send. I heard that there is little justification for the changes, but we can make it work. Maybe I’ll retire before it does too much damage.
It took me a long time to learn it, but the best apologies often come from people who need to apologize most often. Of course they know what makes a good apology. They’ve had practice.
A while back, I dealt with a student whose anger was disruptive to the math lab. This happened before, and he returned the next day with apologies. While I appreciate the earlier apology, I would prefer if the student changed his behavior. An apology for behavior that will be repeated sends a different message than is intended. It tells people that he knew he was doing something wrong, but had every expectation of continuing to do it.
I once heard a definition of being convinced of something: If a person is convinced of something, he will change his behavior to accept that reality. The student may think he is sorry for being disruptive, but he isn’t genuinely sorry if he does it again. I would rather not have an apology and have a change of behavior.
We always assumed the letter carrier could read our postcards and could notice the return addresses on envelopes. Not that I really suspected them of doing it. They were probably too busy to care. But I never assumed that these things were private. Some items came in plain brown packages so no one would know who was receiving them. Oddly enough, I can’t remember what those items were, but I know I read ads for them.
People talk as if there were a constitutional right to privacy. Aside from it not actually being in the constitution, I don’t think people really thought about it in the terms we do now. Before the invention of railroads, the vast majority of people lived in rural areas where they were well known. Strangers were watched and distrusted. Anonymity existed in cities and large towns, but most people lived in the country. In 1790 in the USA, farmers and other agricultural workers were 90% of the labor force. Local support for farmers probably added a couple of percent. Farming communities needed blacksmiths and harness makers.
People living on farms or in the small supporting communities rarely traveled long distances. Travel was very expensive in both time and money. The result of this was that people didn’t have privacy as to where they were. The chances were high that someone who knew them noticed them.
Anonymity is a modern invention. As long as human hands held the envelope, someone would know who was writing whom. As for telephone information being private by constitutional rule, the telephone was invented long after the constitution was written, and until the mid twentieth century, most phone calls were handled by human operators.
Making the assumption that NSA is telling the truth and they aren’t listening to our phone calls or reading our emails, we have no complaint. It has only been a short time in history when those things were genuinely private. If terrorist plots are foiled by this lack of privacy, it is a small price to pay.
I know someone who kept being asked to do volunteer work connected with her children’s school. She made the assumption that people spread the work among the parents and she was asked when it was her turn. Eventually, she realized she was asked because she agreed to do the work.
I’m near retirement. I’m old enough to retire, and could retire immediately. I’ve been trying to cut back on my non teaching duties. For the last two years, I was on a committee which was time consuming. I’m finished with that committee and thought I would have an easier time this coming school year. I got an email from my department chair asking me to take another job. This is the third time she’s asked me to take on a major time-consuming project.
I realize she keeps asking me because I say yes.
On the first day of summer school, a student wanted me to arrange for a quiz to be taken early because of a doctor’s appointment. The quiz was for the next day. I refused. I was told appointments were only available when class met. I still refused.
Quizzes are five percent of the grade and I give at least eight quizzes and drop two of them. Individually, they aren’t important. This grade is very unlikely to have any impact on the student’s grade. It would not be difficult for me to arrange for the quiz to be taken, but I didn’t want to set a precedent for this student or for the rest of the class.
The student did not show up for class, even though the doctor’s appointment was for 9:45 and class went until 1:05. Maybe it was a long appointment. But I can’t help thinking the student didn’t put a high priority on class. That is all right. I don’t expect math class to be important to everyone. I do expect the student to understand there are consequences for the chosen priorities.
We have gridlock in congress. We aren’t electing moderates, but ideological extremes. I think one solution is to eliminate gerrymandering.
When districts are gerrymandered, the party that has the majority in the state tries to put all the people of the opposite party into as few districts as possible. This means that the people who are elected in those districts are running from the center of their party, not the center of their state. The majority party has safer districts, meaning that they do need to appeal as much to the other party.
The center tends to make both sides unhappy. Nevertheless, I would like the country to be run from the center. Real issues can be addressed, without the fringes vetoing it. Sometimes both fringes will kill a reasonable compromise. I addressed gerrymandering before in a post. I will give an alternate solution.
If a straight lines that connects two parts of a district encloses parts of other districts, those parts are defined as “Places that should be in the district.” If the “places that should be in the district” exceed one fifth of the district, than the district is not acceptable. Maryland is clearly gerrymandered by this definition. Note: the Chesapeake Bay isn’t in another state, and thus doesn’t count, but parts of Virginia and West Virginia are on the left of the image and Delaware is on the right.
A woman who was more than a dozen years my senior told me that she always understood that she would look old, but didn’t realize she would feel old. I realized I would feel old, but I didn’t realize how much time it takes to be old and stay healthy.
I don’t have the demands on my time as when I was the mother of young children. Also, our better financial situation means that I can pay for things to be done that I used to do myself. Our condo association arranges for the snow to be shoveled. I can buy convenience food or eat out. My husband is retired and does a lot of the shopping.
It takes more and more work to attend to my health. I take more medicine just to stay healthy. Two different doctors have given me a program of exercises they want me to do daily. That comes to more than an hour a day of exercises, if I include my cardiovascular exercise.
My doctor sent me to two different specialists in the past year and my dentist and ophthalmologist each sent me to a specialist. The routine things take longer. One of my fingernails keeps splitting. I have to take care of it. I move slower and tire easier than I did years ago, which means the tasks I do take longer.
Yet, I am healthy. I took only one day of sick leave this past year, and that was the first in years. Today my husband and I took a walk to a Subway restaurant, bought lunch and returned home. The total distance was about three miles. That isn’t impressive, but I’m pleased I can do it in my late sixties. I work full time, which means generous vacations, since I teach at a community college. But I like to teach. I’ll be teaching second session summer school, which is optional.
I suppose too much leisure is not really good for anyone, but I didn’t realize that I would be spending so much time trying to keep healthy.