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The Late Teacher

Late teachers come in three varieties ranging from disoriented to disconnected. Here’s my take on teachers who can’t tell time.

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Professor Rat’s Nest

 

This teacher looks like they crawled out of a clothes dryer before the fluff cycle beeped.  With a pencil or two stuck in their hair and piles of crumpled, coffee stained papers, you wonder how they got through college.  If you really want to freak this professor out, encourage your fellow students to change seats every class. Don’t worry – since Prof. Rat’s Nest comes late, you’ll have plenty of time to execute this strategy.

 

Professor Paparazzi

 

This teacher thinks they might be famous. They are soooo busy living their pseudo-celebrity life, they couldn’t possibly be expected to arrive on time. Any you, the lowly student, should feel honored they’ve shown up at all. Here’s a quick way to deflate Professor Paparazzi’s ego. Pick a day and have the entire class show up exactly 30 minutes late.

 

Professor Dude

 

This teacher thinks it’s the first day of class every day of the semester.  They tend to saunter aimlessly across campus as if the college had rearranged the buildings over the summer. If you are walking faster than a toddler, you often pass them on the way to their own class.  Professor Dude is likely to peek into the class first to see if they recognize anyone, and then Professor Dude will check the door number more than once. My suggestion – about halfway through the semester, change the door number and act surprised when they poke their head in.

 

Doodling Is Dead, Texting Is In

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I have a new policy this semester. Texting is allowed. In fact, it’s encouraged. Maybe I should be more specific. I’m begging you to text in class because it solves the age-old problem of whispering to your neighbor. There’s nothing more distracting to a teacher and a class than two students gabbing it up in the back row. But now, thanks to modern technology, you can relieve your boredom without disturbing the rest of the class.

 

It’s a win-win.

 

Under this new policy, students are required to exchange cell numbers with their friends in class. When the urge to chat arises, think fingers not mouth.

 

Does it bother me that you’re texting? As entertaining as I may think I am in class, I’m going to bet that most students need a few minutes of down time. I used to be a master doodler when I needed a break, a silent activity designed to give the brain a rest. I never got in trouble for it. Maybe texting serves the same purpose.

 

Bored in class, what are your tricks?

Are Summer Courses Easier?

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As a teacher, I certainly wouldn’t want to imply that corners are cut during a summer course. However, maybe I can help put things into perspective by considering what can reasonably be accomplished in a five week span.

Here are FIVE things I CAN’T do in five weeks.

  1. Train for a marathon.
  2. Learn a second language.
  3. Write my memoirs
  4. Find a new home and move
  5. Plan my future

Here are FIVE things I CAN do in five weeks.

  1. Watch all seasons of Breaking Bad in a Netflix marathon
  2. Learn Pig Latin
  3. Find my diary from 6th grade and the tiny key that goes with it.
  4. Clean my apartment
  5. Take a summer class

Don’t even get me started on three week winter sessions.

 

Dear Virtual Student,

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I’d like to congratulate you on being a number, that meaningless array of digits your school has provided to ensure you don’t stand out in a crowd. Most likely, we’ll never meet in person and I’ll never hear the sound of your voice. Sure, we’ll exchange some emails concerning course requirements. You’ll be polite and I will return your concise questions with my own professional responses. Years from now, I’m certain you’ll never mention me as your favorite teacher and I’ll never remember that day we didn’t meet.

 

Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m loving our virtual relationship and here’s why. I’d much rather grade a student based on what they produced than be swayed by how they performed.

 

A physical classroom setting is a platform for theatrics where a vocal student can easily outmaneuver an introverted peer. By now you must be thinking –“That’s not fair. How much you talk in class shouldn’t make a difference.” Really? If your syllabus includes participation, then that’s exactly what it means.

 

Luckily, stage presence is not a factor on-line. In a virtual classroom, you are what you submit. I’m not impressed you’re wearing a suit. I’ll never know if you have a sweaty handshake and I’ll never know if you’re lounging in your pajamas and drinking a beer while taking an online quiz.  All I care about is whether or not you answered the question.

 

So make it good. And I mean really good because that’s all you’ve got.

 

 

Comments about your experience with online teachers are welcome here!

 

 

 

An “F” in Fashion

I had a nice conversation recently with a student about the image of women in advertising. It’s a great classroom topic that stimulates much discussion about the influences of advertising on our lives. From an academic standpoint, the topic is flexible enough to cover in a history, marketing, psychology, art or sociology class.  Personally, I like to wake-up my 9am Advertising class by showing image after image of half-naked women in pop-culture ads. This ensures everyone is shocked into consciousness and slightly uncomfortable. I employ this technique at the end of the semester when students have just about had it with me.

As many times as I’ve taught a lesson on the portrayal of women in advertising, it always gets me thinking.  Am I influenced by what students wear – female and male? Do my interactions with a student change with their changing attire? Am I more generous with my grading based on a student’s ratio of fabric to exposed skin or jeans to exposed boxers?

I’d like to think I’m fairly immune at this point as I’ve seen a closet full of fashion disasters in my classroom. Students have worn everything from pajamas, costumes, shorts and a tank top in 30 degree weather, baggie pants hanging mid-thigh and tube skirts no wider than a Band-Aid.

Here’s my take on classroom dressing. If you feel awkward, I feel awkward. If you are constantly tugging something up or down, I notice and so do the other students. A suggestion to consider – college might be a good time to test the concept of presenting yourself professionally to those who are evaluating you on your brains.  I’m not asking you to wear a suit. I just don’t want to be able to read the fine print on your hidden tattoo.

shutterstock_151294550   Now a question for students – do you judge teachers by what they wear?

Millennial ‘Speak’ Strikes Again

If it weren’t for Millennials and their ‘all about me’ conversations, I’d have nothing to post on this blog. Just when I thought I’d run out of millennial material, I had an exchange with a recent college grad that left me scratching my head.

 

 

Recently, I offered a small, freelance opportunity on a college job board. The job entailed reading a large document for major content errors. I figured the project would take 7-10 hours and I offered $100 for the project or $15 to $10 an hour depending on reading pace. It’s not a ton of money, but none of the resumes I received showed any expertise in content editing, hence the low rate. None-the-less, I offered the job to a student who, at the least, had some interesting, although unrelated internships.

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The student turned the job down which is fine. Not every job is a perfect fit.  It was the wording of their decision that left me speechless.

 

“A $100 does not seem worthwhile to me. Had I been a fan of yours, I might have reconsidered. It’s up to you to convince me otherwise.”

 

My first thought was that if I had fans, I wouldn’t be posting a low-paying job on a college job board. Had I been famous, people would be begging me to sweep the floors in my office for free. Here’s the deal. Neither of us are famous, but we have made a connection and that connection is the first step to networking. (Think LinkedIn) Maybe this is not the right job, but in six months another opportunity that pays more, may arise.

 

If you are lucky enough in this economy to turn down a job offer down, I recommend doing it in a way that leaves the lines of communication open. Hey, you never know. One day, we might both be famous.

 

College Procrastination

shutterstock_156983240(1)Welcome Guest Blogger Giovanni Peguero!

Procrastination must be a drug because once you do it you can’t stop and when confronted about it by someone else you get defensive. We know it’s a downward spiral, but we can’t seem to stop.  My dream job is to write a procrastination script for a commercial that follows the DIRECTTV 2012 ad campaign. It would go something like this…..

 

When you have college work to do, you procrastinate.

When you procrastinate you lose sleep.

When you lose sleep doing work, you go to class sleepy.

When you go to class sleepy, you sit in the wrong class.

When you sit in the wrong class, you fail the final exam for a class you are taking the next semester.

Don’t fail the final exam for the class you are taking next semester.

Get rid of procrastination and upgrade to doing work early!

 

Now back to studying 🙁

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Wats Up?

Txt blog postWELCOME Guest Blogger Mayira Rodriguez!

 

I’m not a blogger. I’m not a writer. Just saying that straight out so don’t expect this to be poetry. Just a regular student wondering about a topic.

Texting.

As young adults with cell phones we’re always texting, which isn’t bad. In fact, it’s amazing! I can’t even begin to wonder what life would be like without my thumbs pounding on my screen and cursing at spell check for correcting “mistakes” even though I still won’t turn it off because I know I can’t spell worth cr*p. Excuse my French.

So texting does kind of annoy me especially when people do it at the worst times.

And I don’t mean in the classroom, cause let’s face it – we can’t focus for a few minutes on the board, but our attention is always entranced by the miraculous cell phone screen.

No, I mean when hanging out with friends or family at dinner. Someone always has their cellphone on their lap or worse….on the table. So whose attention do they have? Neither the friend speaking nor the one texting back has this person’s full attention. At this moment, the person is literally talking to two or more people at once.

Don’t we usually hate that? Is it alright even if the words don’t have sound?

For some, it can cause insecurity, knowing that they don’t have your full attention. They may be thinking, “am I boring?”, “would my friend rather talk to that person?”, “who is more important here?” “would you rather be hanging out them?”

And yet others are perfectly satisfied sitting at a table with a group of friends and no one uttering a word …. so awkward.

Still, there’s always that one person on Facebook because they want to appear busy like everyone else on their phones and thinking “omg! You people are boring!”

So like I said – texting is amazing but can be annoying. Anyways so yea ttyl!

 

 

 

The College Geek – The (Un/Re)discovered New Norm

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WELCOME! Guest Blogger Pablito Carrera

It’s official. Geek is now the new norm for college students. College students might be living a geek filled life and the best part? Some are none the wiser about it. But, what of the student that already knows?  Well, they might consider it to be a curse. The past could have something to do with it. Society used to define the word geek as a derogative term. However, the unwritten rules of social normality have changed with the times. The word geek has evolved to be a compliment and even a fulfilling lifestyle.

So what makes someone realize that they are in fact a geek? Having love for your studies isn’t the only deciding factor. Our enthusiasm for hobbies can also allow us to become geeks. It’s not surprising that our interests can even create our own little world for us. As crazy as it might sound, we also go out of our way to live up to the standards of our interests. Essentially, everyone ‘geeks out’ when they do the things they love.

Society’s view of geeks has drastically improved over the years. We live in an age where being a geek is no longer defined by liking sci-fi or fantasy anymore, although the stereotype is still running strong and is used heavily in the media. The popular television show, The Big Bang Theory, has popularized the characters for who they are. Nobody in the show is ever afraid to show their true self. How sad is it when we hide in our true identities because of what others might think?

I wish more people could encourage others to study harder and have integrity for everything they enjoy. No one should ever be criticized for being the way they are. Its not our fault – we didn’t choose to like the things we enjoy. It even gets to the point in which students are criticized for having love for their studies. Nobody should ever feel bad for wanting to be better than who they are right now. The fact of the matter is, everyone is little geeky in some way – whether we like to admit it or not.

In praise of our geeky idols, please post your favorite television geek.

 

1. Policing Papers, Verne, 4/14

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There’s nothing I dislike more than ‘policing’ term papers.  According to Deirdre Verne, “Policing papers is an investigative act performed under duress by instructors fed up with blatant plagiarism.” (“Policing Papers”, Verne, 4/14­1)

 

I recently read a paper I suspected had not been penned entirely by a student’s own hand. I reviewed the student’s citations, reading each reference carefully to identify where the student had lost their way. After an exhaustive, but fruitless, citation search, I felt as if I were an “instructor under duress, fed up with blatant plagiarism”. (“Policing Papers”, Verne, 4/141)

 

I quickly shifted gears and began “the investigative act of policing a paper” (“Policing Papers, Verne, 4/141).  Since my valid citation search hadn’t yielded the source of the student’s paper, I Googled  ‘free college papers’. This search brought me to StudyMode.  Ha! Found it.

 

So how does StudyMode work? Students can submit papers for the purpose of sharing with their peers. It’s like a study buddy. Unfortunately, in an academic setting, sharing answers is the same as cheating.  What if you have nothing to share? You can still cheat by simply purchasing another student’s papers. In this case, the topic I had assigned was available for about $90.

 

My solution. To avoid policing papers in the future, I’m going to assign a topic, write it myself, submit to StudyMode and wait for my own work to cycle back to me. I’m hoping this will reduce my “duress caused by the investigative act of policing papers by instructors fed up with blatant plagiarism.” (“Policing Papers”, Verne 4/141)