Six Word Saturday, Thankfulness Challenge, Uncategorized

Six Word Saturday – Thankfulness Challenge Day 28

Today I am doubling up with a Six Word Saturday post that will focus on the Thankfulness Challenge as well!  So, without further adieu…

Three weeks until Winter Break 2015!

Today, I am thankful for the realization that Winter Break is only a short, three weeks away.  Now, that could be a negative since I still have a boatload of grading to do.  But, I am choosing to focus on the BREAK that is coming.  Last year, I taught a Winter session class and this year, I won’t be doing that.  So, there will actually be a period of weeks when I will have the mornings to myself while my DD is at school.  I will have some major prep to do for classes in the Spring, but it will be nice to not have classes, grading, etc.

Thankfulness Challenge

365 Days of Thankfulness – Day 6

This will have to be a relatively quick post tonight.  I had the Great Debate tonight (which was pretty Great – if you’d like to see what I do, you can watch the Youtube video here – it starts about 10 minutes in and I am the emcee for the evening).  It went very well I think, but I was exhausted, should have eaten dinner before going and the room was really warm which accentuated my exhaustion and gave me a headache.  But, I felt great about the event, so overall I was pleased with the evening.  Unfortunately, I came home to a sick DD.  She got her flu shot today, so it may be that, I’m not sure.  Her heart rate was only 61 in the pediatrician office today (it has been very low, which is why she ended up in the hospital a while back).  Tonight is was 120 and she was running a fever.  I know that sometimes the flu vaccine can cause a little bit of a reaction, so I gove her some Tylenol, she ate some tummy crackers (Saltines) and went to bed.  I’m hoping it is a reaction and she’ll be good in the morning because we’re supposed to do Nut Sales at Lowe’s for Daisies (Girl Scouts) tomorrow and she has been looking forward to that forever!  We shall see…

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Tonight, my thanks is for something a bit strange, but related to the Great Debate tonight.  One of the women in the debate had lost her husband about eight years ago in a random violent crime incident (he was ambushed because he was a police officer by a young man who thought he was making a political statement and said during trial that he would do it again given the chance).  The woman was a great representative of the pro death penalty side of things, which I don’t agree with as a matter of policy.  But she personalized the issue without being overly emotional.  She pointed out the difficulty of knowing the person who commited the crime was guilty and admitting guilt, but still was forced into a system that required him to go on trial.  I definitely found it to be compelling.

So, tonight, my thanks is for all those police officers who go out and put their lives on the line each and every day.  Because even if there isn’t a random attack on them, there are those who would take an officer’s life without a second thought.  There are those who place officer’s in harms way because of their own personal conflicts.  I know that not every police officer is a “good guy”.  That is obvious from the recent news.  But, most ARE good people trying to do a good job and protect people.  And now they not only have to go out and face those committing crimes, but they also have to face increased scrutiny and distrust and resentment and frustration based on the behavior of others.  That has to make an already difficult job much more difficult.  Much more.

So, thanks to those who do their jobs despite the negativity.  Those who treat others with respect, even when they aren’t being treated in the same way.  Those who truly live up to the words “protect and serve”.  There are so many of them who aren’t making the headlines because they are just doing their job – day in and day out.  A job that requires them to be ready to put their lives on the line for strangers at any time.  I am thankful there are those willing to do that job.  May we find a way to show them the respect they deserve and may we find a way to get rid of those who shouldn’t be in that job to allow those who are meant to be there to do their jobs better.

 

 

Thankfulness Challenge

365 Days of Thankfulness – Day 4

Well, today has been an interesting day.  Some good, some bad.  But, since I’m focused on thankfulness, I will focus on the good in this post.

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Tonight, I am thankful for my job.  Sometimes my job is overwhelming and I’m definitely tired a lot of the time. I’m behind in grading and I think that “just” teaching, rather than having to teach AND coach speech and debate would be so much easier and simpler.  Then, I have a night like tonight.

We are getting ready for one of our major on-campus events this week.  This event, called The Great Debate, brings together community members and students in a public debate on a controversial public policy issue.  Tonight, I was able to sit in on a meeting between one of our community members (an 81 year old, former professor at our University) and one of my students.  The community member was amazing.  At 81, he is still serving as an expert witness in many very public profile cases (our topic this semester is the death penalty).  He had so many great stories and so much information and he has had the most amazing experiences and we got to sit and chat with him and listen to him tell us stories about the cases he has served on (Oklahoma City bombing, Boston bombing, Nightstalker case, and the list goes on and on).  He started our University’s CLIC program, a wonderful program for students interested in the legal field that recently celebrated its 45th anniversary.  He is working on a couple of cases right now, at 81!

I want to meet up with him for coffee every week and just listen to him tell me stories!  I realized tonight that I get to meet fascinating people with an array of backgrounds and that I have been able to develop a foundational understanding of the legal system, our political system, our educational system, etc., etc. all because of participating in and coaching debate.  I also listen to things like NPR that lend me a deeper understanding of random things than I might have if I just listened to music in the car, etc.  And I’ve watched my fair share of documentaries and such.  But, most of my knowledge comes from debate.  And I am so thankful that I’ve been able to do this activity for so long and in such a way that has given me so many friends, my husband (!), so much knowledge and such a variety of individuals with whom to interact.

So, today I’m thankful to be a speech and debate coach, despite all of the extra work it is, I feel like I get so much more out of it than I have to give to it.

Thankfulness Challenge

365 Days of Thankfulness – Day 3

I was going to try to stay up late and get some grading and cleaning done tonight, but after waking up around 4:30 a.m. this morning, it just isn’t going to happen.  The time change has really thrown me and I’m afraid my sleep patterns are really off.  I am exhausted tonight, so I’m hoping to go to bed early and get up early and get some grading and cleaning done tomorrow.  But, before hitting the bed tonight, I wanted to be sure to get my 365 Days of Thankfulness post in (and my 3rd day of the Nablopomo as well).  For my first two 365 Days of Thankfulness posts you can go here and here.

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Today, I am thankful for enthusiastic students who really enjoy learning.  I tend to get caught up in the drudgery of grading and prepping and just getting through classes and I don’t take enough time to really connect with students and their interests.  I realized today that by teaching that way, I miss out on a lot that students have to offer.  Not all students bring a true enthusiasm and interest to learning, but the ones that do make up for all those who do not.  This semester, I’m teaching the writing class for our major and we are just starting on the final papers and the students are coming up with their topics.  Some of them are really excited about their topics and that excites me.  When I was a student, I loved doing research and learning more about things.  I sometimes feel like my students don’t have that same enthusiasm.  But, some do and I need to figure out more ways of giving them the chance to really explore those interest areas.  I also want to make them lifelong learners, so teaching them how to find information, how to interpret and then how to use that information is really important.

So, today I am glad that I did not cancel my class (like I thought about all afternoon) and instead was able to talk one-on-one with some students about their topics (while having them do some peer feedback groups).  I am glad I was able to see the enthusiasm in their faces and hear their interest in their voices.  And I am excited about some of the emails I have received about their topics.

Teaching is a very social activity, but too often, I let it become a somewhat isolating activity.  I need to get more social and get to know my students and their interests and their likes and dislikes.  That will make me better at what I do and also more enthusiastic about my own job.

 

Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday

First week done, only sixteen more.

When I say it like that, it doesn’t sound like such a long time.  And really, it isn’t.  Halloween will be here before I know it and then Thanksgiving…then the semester ends and Christmas is here.  Yikes!  But, really it is four whole months.  Isn’t it funny how a smaller number makes it sound like a longer time?

I am much, much more prepared this semester than I have been…well, probably since I started teaching.  I think I’ve finally (16 years later) figured out what (1) I am capable of doing well and (2) my students find to be engaging and educational and (3) what I can realistically let go of during the semester.  And, I’m really looking forward to this semester and giving my students my best.

I’m sure there will be weeks when I fall behind and/or get frustrated with the students or myself or my home management skills (that often are distracting me from my work responsibilities) or am exhausted from traveling with the Speech and Debate team (which is huge starting out this semester).  But, I am hoping I can manage those frustrations and delays much better than I have in the past.  We’ll see…

How about you?  What is your Fall looking like?

Stray Thoughts Sunday, Uncategorized

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Stray Thought Sundays

How is it Sunday night already?  Seriously.  I feel like it was just Thursday and although we’ve done a million things since then, I still feel like I’ve lost a day somewhere in there.

Grades are due today.  As usual, I am pushing it to the end of the line, literally.  Grading is the worst part of my job by far and the end-of-term grades are the worst of the worst.  Some students work so hard and have very little to show for it.  Others have hardly worked at all and still come out okay.  And it is hard as an instructor to not want to show that in some way.  But, all we get is a letter grade.  A single letter.  No comments.  No real way of showing what’s been done.  But, it is what it is and I have to enter them and let it be.  I get very few complaints about grades, so I feel like I’m pretty fair (other instructors complain about their students complaining and groveling all the time, but I don’t really get much of that), but it still isn’t pleasant.  And it seems so permanent.  It is a psychological thing.  But, once it is done…it is summer!  🙂

Regina Brett Summer Quote