Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Coolest Professor"

This weekend I went to Homecoming festivities for the university where I work. This year, rather than random events planned by each college, "tailgating" was determined to be the thing to do. In previous years, my college had done a "wine and cheese" event that was sparsely attended at best.

We don't have a football team, so any type of homecoming revolving around a game of any kind has to be basketball or baseball. Basketball it is! Consequently, homecoming is in February. Feels so incredibly odd to me. And, since it is February, you never know exactly what the weather will be. Cold, usually. Last weekend it snowed.

This weekend, however, was a balmy 66 degrees in the afternoon.

I wasn't sure that I would make it to "Tent City" - my ex-husband was a bit late picking up the girls, and I had some other things to take care of, but around 1:00 I headed over there thinking the event would be winding down. I couldn't have been more wrong! Hot dogs, chips, drinks, and a handful of my colleagues were at the College of Education tent. I spent the afternoon kicking back with my colleagues, eating, drinking beer, and just enjoying the fabulous weather. I even got sunburned? Yeah. I did. I took off the sweater I was wearing over my camisole and soaked up the sun for several hours. February! Who knew?

We didn't have a huge alumni turnout, but some of my students came by, including a group of seniors and a group of juniors. The juniors asked me to get in a picture with them, and I was highly amused when I came home to find that the picture had been uploaded to facebook and the caption was "Coolest professor ever... hands down." The seniors [not in my cohort] and I had a grand time talking. And one of them, after awhile, asked, "Do you have a tattoo?" To which I said, "No, why?" She then replied, "Of all of our professors, you seem most likely to." My response was, "Really??"

Basically, though, from conversations I've had, etc, this particular group of students sees me as real.

And I find that intriguing.

Why wouldn't we be real? There's still a power differential, certainly, but shouldn't there be an effort on both students and professors to get to know one another? Don't we teach about the importance of relationship and knowing the community where we teach? Why wouldn't I do the same thing?

On the other hand, while I've had students tell me how "good" I am, etc (although I would venture to say that cohorts PRIOR to these groups have a different view of me - no way I would have had a tattoo in their eyes), since I began teaching here, I do worry about the line. We're all available for our students, and we all care about our students, but it does seem that I get more invested in them than a number of our faculty. I worry sometimes that I get "too" invested. And I don't care about being the "coolest" - in some ways that implies "slack," and I know that isn't the case.

Meanwhile, this "cool"/"real" professor loves her job. How could I not?

And no. No tattoo. Yet.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Since I was in college, I've practiced giving up something at Lent - it's not something required by any religious denomination I've ever been a part of... it's just something I've chosen to do. The girls and I talk about it, too, and it always intrigues me what they give up.

DD1 has decided to give up lip gloss? Wow, has she become a tweenager. Last year she gave up chocolate.

DD2 can't decide yet, but I THINK she's going to give up leaving her room messy. She cracks me up.

As for me, it's been a hard call. Last year I gave up soft drinks and chocolate, but gave myself an out if I had a migraine. Sure enough, with 3 days to go I had a migraine, so I started downing coke trying to kick it.

I believe I've finally settled on sweets, desserts and candy - all of which I eat way too much of. I thought about giving up facebook, but decided against that because it is the main vehicle my students use to communicate with me. It has become a horrible temptation at times, as I have a tendency to follow bread crumbs with people and what they are willing to put out for public consumption, particularly at night when I'm allowing inertia to win rather than go to bed. It has caused me some unnecessary grief, exhaustion, not to mention hours of time in front of the computer that I don't need to be spending. Anyway, instead of giving it up entirely, I'm limiting my time on it as well as news feed prompts and my profile only. Sounds crazy in some ways, but makes perfect sense in my little world.

We'll see how it goes. Tomorrow.

Not tonight. :)

Today's Favorite Quote

Came across this in my reading today:
But I think we have an obligation to empower those we teach to understand that this democracy is very much a work in progress and that if they can't achieve the skills to take an active role as citizens in struggles to bring progress in their grown-up years, the injustices they suffer now will never change. (Jonathan Kozol, Letters to a Young Teacher, p. 155)
If that doesn't put into perspective the importance of education, I don't know what does.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Day!

What a strange, but glorious day!

I knew before I went to bed last night that the girls' schools were closed, so I turned off DD1's alarm prior to going to bed. I pretty much figured I would still have to work today, and turns out I was right. I had hopes of sleeping until 7:15 or so prior to my 8:30 class.

6:25 this morning, she comes into my room to ask why her alarm is off.


As I was finishing getting ready for work around 7:42, DD2 comes into my room and asks why we aren't leaving for school, because "it's time." Never mind that she's not dressed.

So, I taught this morning while the kids stayed home and watched tv/played on the computer - great teaching day, btw - and then went to Kroger with the rest of the crazies around noon. My main reason for going was to buy a whole chicken - the one thing I neglected to buy with my earlier grocery shopping this week. Of course, I also bought popcorn, chocolate chips, eggs, and the obligatory milk. Necessities during a snow storm, no?

Once I got home, I channeled my inner domestic goddess and started boiling a chicken for soup and baking bread for tonight's dinner. Meanwhile, the girls were full of anticipation. They kept waiting on snow to start... which it finally did, around 4:00. AFTER they would have been home for the day from school. Whatever.

The snow started, the girls went outside and STAYED outside for a good three hours. OH, what fun! I went out a number of times, mainly to take pictures, but didn't stay out - they had stolen my gloves and my cold weather shoes so I didn't have the proper gear, but this is a legitimately good snowfall, particularly for middle Georgia.

They came in around 7, after extensive snowball fights, snow people creation, and all around good fun. I love how they think - they used peppermint patties, suckers, and twizzlers for buttons, eyes, nose, and mouths of the snow people.

Shortly after the kids came in, both the soup and bread were ready. How's that for timing? The kids were ravenous, and they devoured both and talked about how fantastic both were. Yes, they pushed the right buttons - and my favorite sense of pure bliss that emerges from time to time just engulfed me.

The Olympics are on, and the girls and I have curled up - them with the cat, me with a large glass of wine, and other than my trip outside to wipe the snow off the satellite receiver when we lost reception a few moments ago, we are settled, happy, and content. I'm looking forward to a weekend of snow, Olympics, movies, and all around savoring my children.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Heart Hurting

I went to the gym this morning in pretty decent spirits. For the first time in a long time, I've been able to get four days in a row of exercise, so mentally and emotionally I'm feeling pretty good.

Except for one thing. I saw a friend of mine at the gym this morning, and his countenance just wasn't right. A little later I was talking to a mutual friend and found out that my friend and his wife are getting divorced - hence the countenance being a little off. I didn't see this one coming, as I see both of them fairly frequently, and from what I gather, I don't think he did either.

As a divorced woman, I really and truly can empathize with what they are going through. And while I've been in the wife's shoes (fairly sure she is the one who initiated it), my heart just hurts for them. The kids, their friends, the two of them... not a thing about the situation is easy. I don't think anyone decides to get divorced on a whim. And it's certainly not anyone's dream to get divorced.

Love is a beautiful thing, but when it falls apart, particularly after so many years, it can be brutal.

Meanwhile, I'm keeping them and their family in my prayers.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Education Reform

It is rare for me to agree so passionately with something I've read, but this article nails what education reform should look like in elementary schools. I highly encourage folks to read and share. I wish with my whole heart that students experienced this on a daily basis. The problems that would be solved in schools would be unbelievable. Discipline problems, boredom, teacher burnout - how wonderful would this world be without them on the scale we have now!