Sunday, September 21, 2008

Compelling New Evidence that I'm a Total Geek

Next week I'm teaching a chapter on adjectives and adverbs, so today I'm writing a test that includes a number of sentences containing misplaced and dangling modifiers, and they are cracking me up. Some of my favorites:

After washing the car, my dog wanted to be walked.
Excited about my vacation, the plane took off soon after I boarded it.
Having not eaten for hours, the sandwich looked delicious.
At dinner I would indulge in a giant lobster tail watching the sunset.
Last year, my sister bought a car from a neighbor with no backseat.

Ha! Lobster tails watching the sunset! Now that's comedy!

I'm afraid this may be a very embarrassing week for me.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Getting Out My Telescope

The better to see the silver lining.

The class I taught today was for me largely an exercise in patience and crowd control; culpability, embarrassment, and humility; and understanding and authority.

The answer key for a quiz and I made a joint mistake, and then I went on to make some more all by myself. When I promised to regrade the quiz, a student argued that some of her classmates may have taken the opportunity to change their answers (true), and a tiny riot nearly broke out. It was not an exemplary day of teaching.

Except that I believe I handled it with grace, firmness, and respect toward everyone in the room. I've devised a solution to the problem that I'm confident will at least acknowledge each point of view that was (loudly) voiced, even though I don't expect anyone to be overjoyed by it.

Today I did what an instructor does when careful planning fails.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

It's My Pity Party and I'll Cry if I Want To

Those of you who subscribe to this blog have probably figured out that I bumped the keyboard shortcut for "Publish" (what are the odds?) while I was typing the title of this post. You will have been notified that I posted something about self-pity, which turned out to be blank. So even if I decided to write this for pure catharsis value and then not publish it, some of you would know I was emotionally wonky. This being the case, I figure I owe you an explanation of what's been making me sad/angry/frustrated lately (aside from the fact that I'm a careless typist):

1. The class I'm teaching went amazingly well for the first week, and then went promptly into the shitter. Case in point: when teaching a chapter about locating subjects and verbs, it's best, as the instructor, not to have to admit in front of your students that you aren't really sure what the main verb in that sentence is. Being groggy from a long weekend cannot fully excuse flamboyant stupidity.
2. Aside from that, I thought I was doing pretty well, and that the students were, too, until I graded the first test. Not good. Not good at all. While this probably has more to do with test anxiety than my teaching skills, I'm afraid a certain amount of self-blame is just part of responsible teaching.
3. Due to some ill-timed government nonsense, I'm pretty sure we're driving around in an unregistered car.
4. I'm thrilled that the loud sex neighbors are now shrieking with orgasmic delight over someone else's head at 4 A.M., but we're still stuck with the neighbor directly below us, who has a recording studio in his bedroom (I swear I couldn't make this up), and likes to work in it after midnight. When he wakes me up, one of us goes down to complain and he falls all over himself apologizing, but feeling bad only goes so far when he's too clueless/inconsiderate/forgetful to make it more than a few nights without doing it again.
5. Because I want to limit my complaints to when it really matters (at night when I need to be sleeping), I feel unable to go down and pound on his door right now, while the volume on his stereo is up so high our whole apartment is vibrating. I don't recognize what he's listening to now, but the other day I was startled awake from a nap by "Don't Worry, Be Happy." Just like if Bobby McFerrin had been in my living room.
6. Also, he thinks my name is Erica, and calls me that every time he sees me. It's too late to correct him.
7. A very good friend moved to Washington this week.
8. Most of the friends I'm left with are casual friends from work, or Eric's friends first. A lot of them are single men.
9. Last night, while we were trying to make plans with some of these friends, one of them suggested going to a strip club. I think a strip club could be fun, but only if there were other women in the group, and there weren't. The guys briefly surmised that they didn't want to "choose between boobs and Amber," then unanimously chose boobs. I was left home with the cats and a rerun of Saturday Night Live.
10. Sad calling, it turns out, is not entirely unlike drunk dialing. Sorry, Emily.

Whew. I think there's room in my head now for the work I need to do. Thanks, Internet.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Having a Celebratory Beer

While we were out of town for the weekend, the loud sex neighbors moved out. Boy(s) currently moving in upstairs. Cheers.

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