Archive for October, 2012

31
Oct
12

You’ll like it whether you like it or not

A facebook friend apparently clicked “Like” on this picture today, and since I can’t seem to convince all of my fb friends to change their settings to “Friends Only” on all of their posts and comments, it showed up on my fb wall.

This poor young man. What a truly awful thing. I feel such sadness and regret for him, and fear that his father died fighting “for our country” in a situation in which maybe we didn’t belong in the first place.

I would like very much to show my sympathy for this young man, and respect for his father.

But do I need to be bullied into it?

First of all, I find the practice of “Liking” posts or pictures of sad, tragic, horrible things somewhat oxymoronic, if not simply moronic.

And then there’s the last sentence.

Keep scrolling to say I don’t care.

Seriously? Those are my only options?

 

31
Oct
12

Babysitting 101

Yesterday I received an email from my department chair informing me (among others) that I had not completed the participation confirmation for my students. (Is that ironic?) These are college students, mind you, college students, and this would be not the first time, but the second time this semester I had to log in to our faculty center and click into each course number that I teach and then click on little boxes next to the student’s name confirming that they were coming to class and participating fully.

Today Only Daughter brought me her social studies test and told me I needed to sign it, even though she had a perfect score.

Any chance these two things are related?

Now I understand, first of all, that she’s in 6th grade, and secondly, that teachers want to know that parents are paying attention, and thirdly, that parents of students who might not be performing as well on tests might be needing to pay more attention to whether homework is getting done, whether the child is studying for tests, etc.

But would it be too much to ask that teachers encourage students who are doing well by showing their trust, and allowing the students the opportunity to be independent and self-disciplined without the constant checks? Last year I had to initial her planner EVERY SINGLE DAY, whether there was something written on that day or not. Is this how we teach independence and self-discipline?

As a teacher myself, with students of all ages from kindergarten to college, the biggest problem I see is that students aren’t invested enough in their own learning. Some of them do the work so as to be able to say they “did the work,” by which they mean “put in the time,” without any attention to whether anything has been learned or accomplished.

Is this really what we want to encourage?

With a couple of students this week I used an example from earlier years, when I would have First or Second Son sweep the floor. They would sweep, the floor would still be dirty, I would tell them “I thought I asked you to sweep the floor” and they would reply, “I did.” I would then have to point out that the purpose of the exercise was not the act (of waving the broom around over the floor) but the result (the floor is now clean).

Second Son is a natural musician. He played percussion in the marching band in middle school, and could ace every test. His best grade, though, was never higher than a low B, because he didn’t practice. I understand that teachers want students to practice, but presumably this is so that they can master their part. I also think that students who practice and who are less naturally skilled should get some boost to their grade if they perform less than perfectly on their playing tests. But if the student can already perform the assigned skills perfectly, why are we requiring that they practice more? Should the teacher maybe at least make the extra effort to give them something that presented a challenge so that the “practicing” wasn’t just a matter of “putting in the time”? What kind of lesson are we really teaching here?

As a piano teacher I never tell a student how long they must practice every day. I do, however, give them clear guidelines in what and how they should be practicing, and an estimate of approximately how long that should take. I then compare what they have accomplished that week with how much time they claim they practiced, and make adjustments. If they are learning everything in less time, I give them more to work on, or make things more difficult. If they are practicing a LOT and not accomplishing much, we either talk about what their practicing looks like to make sure it’s productive time, or I give them less or things that are less difficult.

The point, always, is what we want to accomplish.

I can’t help but wonder if more college-age students would be more self directed and successful if they grew up with people who cared about and were invested in their success, but only watched over their shoulders when there was a real need. I can’t think of anything that encourages independence more than telling a child that you believe they can do it, and then stepping back and letting them.

Maybe it’s just me.

 

30
Oct
12

Those darn trickers. . .

So much for the either/or aspect.

Sigh.

25
Oct
12

do “they” just not get it, or don’t I?

Apparently, there are a lot of women, (the NY Times cites them as being white, not-college-educated,) who are having difficulty deciding between voting for Obama or Mitt Romney.

This woman is described as representative of the sample:

She voted for Barack Obama in 2008 but is now torn. Mr. Obama has not lived up to his promise, she said. “My husband and I both have to work full time, and we’re just getting by.”

But she is not thrilled with Mitt Romney either. She said he would set women back because he did not understand their needs.

“Women worked so hard to get where we are today and to take our rights away from us is — no,” she said, shaking her head.

Behold the coveted female swing voter of 2012.

Let’s see: You have to work full time to pay your bills. (Um, btw, so do most of us, as we did before Obama was president, and will certainly have to do after Mitt’s president. Or does she think Mitt’s going to chip in to pay the cable bill?).

But Mitt doesn’t understand women’s needs.

Why do I not see these as equally valid, equally weighty arguments?

I must be missing something, because apparently this is not just this one person, but a measurable trend across the country.

Can somebody explain it to me? I don’t get it, and, actually, (believe it or not,) I want to understand.

25
Oct
12

what say we just ignore them?

I’ve seen a lot of posts on facebook in the last couple of days by people linking to a number of the vile things Ann Coulter has been saying.

Not unlike the whole Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke (whose name Rush, I’m-quite-sure-not-unconsciously, pronounced Fluck) imbroglio.

And I have a proposition for all of you.

Instead of quoting them, or linking to newspapers which quote them, or to youtube videos that display them, etc., etc, we just ignore them.

They make the ridiculous amount of money they make because they are hired by people who don’t care what they say, as long as they get people to listen.

How about we just stop.

Nothing shuts someone up quite like being ignored. And it doesn’t mean we’re burying our collective heads in the sand, or allowing their propoganda to pollute the world, because we’re just turning a deaf ear, and going about making sure that that which really matters is done, and that which really matters is heard, and seen, etc. etc.

Join me?

Boycott the ridiculous, unless your paying attention to it can somehow change it. In which case, rock on and peace out.

How about it? Can I count you in? Let’s see, if we just stop paying attention, if that makes them all go away.

24
Oct
12

Richard Mourdock’s “Intentions”

So Republican candidate Richard Mourdock “struggled” with himself over this, and this was his conclusion.

As I read the first sentence, I convince myself that it’s not without a Zen kind of logic — you know, trying to find or make  something good out of something bad, stuff like that. And then I get to the next sentence. And now this is God’s intention. Allow me just to say that if his God thought it was appropriate to cause someone to be RAPED so as to create a child then this is a God I want nothing to do with.

There has to be a better way.

Click here to sign a petition telling him what an idiot he is, to keep on struggling, that rape is violence, and not some form of divine intervention.

Ugh.

23
Oct
12

Paying attention to the issues

Just the kind of attention to policy that makes this country great, and our voters so well informed.

Guess I should be glad they at least had it on?




Reader Appreciation Award

Share This

Share |

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 181 other followers

Follow me on Twitter: sheriji1

Blog Stats

  • 110,032 hits