Saturday, September 17, 2005

The school year

As we enter the 2nd quarter of the semester, it's amazing how fast it is all going. I don't feel as rushed in grading this semester and that's primarily my approach more so than a less hectic schedule. I'm also expecting students to follow directions after only one or two false starts instead of those approaching the double digits. The intent is to encourage them to develop the skills they need to survive not only in the real world but in the world of teaching into which most of them are going. And, although it's taken awhile, I'm also learning more quickly how to quickly distinguish those that always give excuses and those that are really trying. Online classes especially require following directions exactly. We use Blackboard and it gives a confirmation of a successfully submitted assignment - which is much better than a barrage of student emails asking if they did something right - again too much reliance on someone else instead of themselves.

As result of this modified approach, I also have more energy to focus on creative teaching and enhancing what students are doing in classes versus the mundane details of students not paying attention. While students like to complain about unorganized professors, I'm not sure they always like it when you are organized enough to expect them to be organized.

This week we have a grant workshop at the Liberty Memorial and then I will stay overnight in Kansas City before going to Boston for an author's meeting for a Houghton Mifflin US history survey text. This is my first time to attend this particular meeting and it should be both enlightening and productive.

This time last week I was finishing up a state grant application to assist two teachers with a local history project. There are also some other numerous projects I need to catch up on but I'm sure I will before I leave the house on Tuesday morning for Kansas City.

We have finally left summer weather behind although I'm sure we'll have the occasional warmer than usual day. The main thing is that it is cooling off at night. It seems to energize me when I can walk either in the morning or the evening without fighting the heat. And, although our straw mites apparently reappeared, they haven't kept me out of the yard like last year.

And, no, my Halloween costume will not be Daisy Duke. . . . .

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