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An educated mind is an opened mind. An opened mind is a liberal mind. Teachers don't have to intend to create liberals, it happens naturally.
On the inside:
  • Looking ahead and behind
  • Links to other education stories.
  • As always, the topics will be whatever you want to discuss.
Door's Open...

Looking ahead and behind

Here is the month I hate the most.  August...feh.  Part of it is "vacation" and yet none of it is.

I'm going to be beginning my 31st year as a teacher.  In all that time I took off one semester in an unsuccessful attempt to find employment in Seattle.  This past summer was my first summer "off" except for the one I used to move to Jersey from Arkansas and find employment here.

August means it's time to survey the ground ahead.  What am I going to be doing in the coming year?  What things have to be done?  What things do I want to accomplish?  Is there any way I can weave those together?

For that matter, what did I accomplish over the summer?  It's time to summarize that.  I always make a list when spring semester ends of items To Be Done.  I never finish them all.  This past spring there were 11 items on my list.  I've worked on 8 of them and a few may even be considered to be done, though I find that highly unlikely.  But such is ever the case.  I figure maybe I'll be able to finish some of the items on any list I have ever created sometime after I retire.  Since my current retirement plan is, "Work until I die", that's not promising.

So, anyway, I'm going to be doing some listmaking today and assigning some priorities.  Does anyone want to join me?  You don't have to be a teacher to engage in this behavior. :-)

--Robyn Serven
--Bloomfield College, NJ

Education Round-up:  I've categorized.

Philosophy and PoliticsStories:  Ourselves and OthersFreedom on CampusNCLB/Standardized Testing/Department of EdMoneyAdvocacy, Information and Action AlertsPeople Teaching

I'll be hanging around most of the day, actively waiting for your comments (actually, I'll be working in another program, but I'm close by), so at least one person will be here to discuss whatever anyone wants to discuss.

The Not-so-many Rules
  • No general bashing of administrators, politicians, etc, just on general principles. If you want to bash them, have a point and a plan.
  • No bitching about students unless you're talking about what you are going to do to alleviate the problems you think the students have.
  • Introductions are encouraged, but not essential.
  • I have no investment in hosting the Teacher's Lounge. If someone else thinks they can and wants to do it better, cool.  I just want the space. And not for teachers only, but respecting the general theme of teaching and learning.
  • Teacher's Lounge can be "slow blogging" if you want it to be.  You don't get quality writing if you demand velocity.  It doesn't have to be the case that something posted today is dead by tomorrow. I would like it to eventually be up and active 24/7, but that may have to wait until I have developed an independent blog site.

Every Saturday I'll post a clean slate, between 10am and 11am EST.

Originally posted to Robyn's Perch on Sat Aug 05, 2006 at 08:40 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  But first... (7+ / 0-)

    ...I'm going to get something to eat.  :-)

    I expect that I can waste use more than a day doing this, and it is something I always dread.

    Robyn

    Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

    by rserven on Sat Aug 05, 2006 at 08:33:43 AM PDT

  •  about my diary that's listed (8+ / 0-)

    I have decided not to apply for any of those appointments.  I would not want to have to stop my political activity (the only things I could drop) at this point in order to do one of the educational appointments.  This election cycle is far too important.  maybe at some future time.

    And as it turns out the presentation I am making to the blue ribbon commission in the county where I teach?  I am the sole presenter, to a group of 14 fairly high powered people, including legislators, school board members, the superintendent, my principal, people from state dept of education ...    I think that is a big enough commitment right now.   I have a lot of work to do between now and Wednesday afternoon!!!

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Sat Aug 05, 2006 at 08:49:57 AM PDT

  •  rate my professor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cookiebear, rserven

    Actually, I am a big fan of "Rate Your Professor".

    here is why:  teaching tends to be judged by class visits (for the non-tenured faculty) and by reading teaching evaluations.

    A while ago, some of my slackers and whiners roasted me on RYP.  The potential slackers and whiners read the comments and were scared off.  Hence only the better students signed up for my class, and these students tend to give higher ratings to their professors on the end of the semester evaluations.

    What a racket! :-)

    PLF15's diaries:  I keep missing these; they are quite good.

    I use Sciword for LaTex and love it.  

    I also liked PLF's Cantor diary.

    When liberals saw 9-11, we wondered how we could make the country safe. When conservatives saw 9-11, they saw an investment opportunity.

    by onanyes on Sat Aug 05, 2006 at 09:01:25 AM PDT

    •  thanks! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cookiebear, rserven

      and thanks to Robyn for bringing them to your attention.

      Republicans worry about our souls and their bellies. Democrats worry about their souls and our bellies

      by plf515 on Sat Aug 05, 2006 at 09:08:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cogent point about RYP.com... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TealVeal, cookiebear

      ...helps spread the word.  Yes, I am tough and I do expect the students to learn in order to earn a grade.  No grades are ever "given".  

      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

      by rserven on Sat Aug 05, 2006 at 09:12:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  just one story (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rserven

        A few years ago, I had a calculus I class. I was a bit too easy on them the first semester.

        These folks signed up for me again.  Next semester, I was much harder on them and even barked at them.

        My teaching evaluations went down; not terrible, but not the glowing BS that is expected around here.

        My department chair told me to "cut it out".

        But you know what?  That second semester, that class that rated me down actually IMPROVED their grades by about 1/2 of a letter grade per person (especially on the final exam)!

        In other words, they learned more but liked it less.

        So I went back to being Mr. Sunshine.  The next class gave me great evals but did terrible on the final.  But hey, it was easier on me, my department chair was satisifed, and that year I was a "great teacher"!  Never mind my class didn't learn diddly squat.

        That is why I love having tenure. :-)

        When liberals saw 9-11, we wondered how we could make the country safe. When conservatives saw 9-11, they saw an investment opportunity.

        by onanyes on Sat Aug 05, 2006 at 12:18:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  tenure???????? (0+ / 0-)

          why do you need tenure? not sayin nothin now. just askin just askin bbbbbbbbbbb

          •  With tenure... (0+ / 0-)

            ...he can be a good teacher without having to worry about student evaluations, which are generally only reflective of what grade students expect to receive in the class, rather than factors like how much was learned.

            Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

            by rserven on Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 06:48:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I expect flames (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rserven

            but to be brutally honest, "tenure" in this day and age makes sense at large research places; that way a hot shot, once he/she has proven themselves, can take a swing at a large, as yet unsolved problem.

            It really doesn't make sense at a place like the one I teach at....not that I turned it down or anything. ;-)

            Yeah, the "please the customer NOW" is a big pain in the neck (I'd rather my students be pleased with me 5-10 years after they graduated than now) but I can deal with it; every job has its share of unpleasant aspects.

            When liberals saw 9-11, we wondered how we could make the country safe. When conservatives saw 9-11, they saw an investment opportunity.

            by onanyes on Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 10:00:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Having been through the tenure process... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              onanyes

              ...twice now successfully, I've got to say the second time was harder to take seriously.  

              Robyn

              Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

              by rserven on Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 10:50:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  yeah... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rserven

                my previous department chair (and also a friend) said that the main criteria for tenure was "getting enough votes".  Fortunately, we had a provost that listened to our department.

                For example, one member who is 2 years my junior came up for tenure and promotion.  He didn't have nearly as many papers as I or the previous person had.

                But one of his paper was of exceptional quality (frankly, better than any of mine); it was published by the finest research journal in his field.

                We went to bat for him; our dean shot his promotion down but the provost did the right thing and gave him both.

                When liberals saw 9-11, we wondered how we could make the country safe. When conservatives saw 9-11, they saw an investment opportunity.

                by onanyes on Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 02:49:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  The Journal of Polymorphous Pervisity (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rserven

            is a spoof of psychology journals

            One article was titled

            The effect of tenure on faculty publication rates

            the article was blank

            :-)

            Republicans worry about our souls and their bellies. Democrats worry about their souls and our bellies

            by plf515 on Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 05:39:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  My list in review: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shermanesq, cookiebear
    1. Erect personal blog - in progress at Robyn's Perch
    1. GNG blog:  some progress.  Awaits student input.
    1. Blogging course:  Designed and outlined, integrate with critical thinking
    1. Separate site for Teacher's Lounge:  Negotiations with possible money source, information gathering about technology.
    1. Critical Thinking:  attended conference.  integrate with blogging class and teaching/learning book
    1. Assessment database and analysis:  erm
    1. Math and gender paper:  erm
    1. Teaching/learning book:  outline stage.  integrate with critical thinking
    1. Multimedia project (content):  see personal blog and Gender Workshops
    1. Multimedia project (design):  moving right along
    1. Multimedia project (programming):  pending completion of #9 and #10

    erm translates into wtoml? = Was that on my list?...except that I have known they were on the list but have been procrastinating with them because they are not necessarily the fun part of a summer.

    Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

    by rserven on Sat Aug 05, 2006 at 09:28:38 AM PDT

  •  the myth of the break (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shermanesq, exmearden, rserven

    what i wouldn't do for a real one

    now i did take the past week off from school duties to do some stuff around here. but even though i was positively diligent, there's still so much to do. and tomorrow or the next day, i have to start preparing for Fall Semester.

    ugh. not ready at all.

    besides, come tomorrow, i start back on my new job quest., i applied for a mess of them over the summer  --- was offered two but the pay was horrible, although the experience would have been ideal.

    in any case, i discovered a few days ago my current job has a conflict of interest policy, meaning they don't readily grant permission to take other jobs (say what??) or  look kindly on anyone looking.

    which wasn't a problem for the jobs i was offered --- they weren't education related, requiring entirely different qualifications and skills.

    but it may be a problem for the jobs i haven't heard from ... because they specifically asked if they could contact the school (i said yes) and the jobs themselves specifically depend on this present job.

    ugh redux

    so i'm back at square one which is making the preparations for fall an even more daunting task.

    as for my general plans (given it's pretty much a certainty i'll be at this same job for the semester) ... the past year, i hammered all my classes on source credibility. your conference, however, lit a fire  under me to specifically incorporate critical thinking into source credibility. granted, what i've been doing is teaching them critical thinking, but i want to make the process explicit.

    it's all still very unformed and general, but my mind is working on it and i do feel a plan shaping up.

    •  'Ready' has never been a real option for me... (0+ / 0-)

      ...since I always change things as I go along.  I've developed an extra problem with preparing for the coming semester in that I've got to teach Programming II for the first time.  I've got to try to remember back to last summer when I taught myself Java, which means going back over a lot of stuff.

      That sucks about the "conflict of interest policy".  When I was trying to get out of Arkansas, I encountered no such resistance, but then, they wanted to get rid of me somehow.

      My brain is still messing with the critical thinking immersion, making doing other stuff more difficult.  I've gotten a response from Carolyn that I will respond to later this afternoon.  

      Robyn

      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

      by rserven on Sat Aug 05, 2006 at 11:01:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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