Friday, February 19, 2010

Without Fail

I rarely get angry at people. Sometimes I get frustrated with people, but rarely do I get angry. Recently I got angry at a professor. Instead of yelling or defacing his car, I took the higher road - blogging.

Every single time I get angry at people I inevitably get called to repentance immediately. One example is the time I got super angry at my brothers and verbally raked them over the coals right before the priesthood session of general conference. First talk - President Hinckley speaks on anger. I took the time to repent.

The other day I blogged about my professor always using powerpoints and the last two classes he has lectured exclusively from the chalkboard. LOL. During that lecture he also explained the concepts in greater depth. They were good lectures.

After class, I talked to him about his e-mail and my test and he said the e-mail was not meant for me. He had regraded 46 tests that were for a difference of 1 point. That would have driven anybody to the brink. Again, I took the time to repent.

I might not agree with the way my professor teaches, but I no longer think he is a worthless savage.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

War Path

I'd like to take a moment to discuss a heinous method of teaching: the minimalist approach (I just made up that phrase). This is the reason I've been on the war path. I won't name names. I'll hate the sin...not the sinner.

Grievance #1: I have a professor who comes to class and lectures based only on powerpoints. He hasn't made any revisions in his slides nor made the effort to remove the slides he tells us to cross out. He took the pre-made slides from the publisher and has been using those ever since. I. Hate. That. Lecture slides are useful to a point. Chalkboards are my preferred method of teaching. Also white boards. They induce people to take notes.

If your teacher only says what is already written in your book then your tuition should be dropped down to the price of the text.

Grievance #2: This teacher shows up late every single lecture. The other day I walked out of class to get a drink just before class was supposed to start. As I was walking, I saw my professor saunter on into the building dressed in his winter gear. He was just arriving. Some professors take time before lecture to actually prepare. He didn't even start class until five minutes after the hour. That is a regular occurrence.

Grievance #3: This is the big one. I asked him twice about looking at two of my questions from our last test. He delayed until finally telling me to just turn in my test for him to look at. I did so. Later that day he sent an e-mail telling students he reserved the right to review the entire test to make sure he felt "comfortable" with all questions that were graded. He advised against submitting for a regrade because students might end up with lower scores than they were originally given. Wait, what? Is it just me or does it seem like this guy is trying to discourage people from asking questions. In his defense, maybe he's working on beating his personal best at solitaire during his office hours.

He is not a powerful teacher. I hate that I payed to get a letter on my transcript and an expensive book on my shelf. I would rather have learned something.

Also, if he lowers my score I won't be held responsible for the things I say...after the final.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Casual Suggestion

I tend to be on campus a lot. Sometimes "a lot" means until 3:00 am. Sometimes it means I spend 6-8 uninterrupted hours in the library. I don't think I am crazy and I think that a lot of students do that on occasion. So, I do things to avoid going crazy.

I have two favorite ways of taking breaks in the library:
1) I use my ID card to check out a pair of headphones and every time I feel my brain beginning to wither I pull them out and listen to some of my favorite tunes. Today that has meant the soundtrack from the new Pride and Prejudice. Say what you will about the movie, but I love that music.
2) I use the aforementioned headphones during the aforementioned periods of brain withering to watch mormon messages on Youtube. If you have not gone to the mormon messages page I suggest that you do so now. One of my favorites is the one about a story President Hinckley's dad used to tell. They are uplifting. They are inspired. They are our resource.

If I happen to be in my laboratory on one of those late or long night I consult my dear friend pandora for needed sanity. If there is nobody else there that means I can turn it up as loud as I want. I might even dance on occasion while waiting for my stuff to finish. Good thing there are no cameras to document that one.

Whatever the case, I find that there are ways to keep my sanity well in hand. Though, I guess that depends on whether you think I'm sane in the first place.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Shakespeare and Mice

Today I may have met the next Shakespeare. I tutor kids who are below their reading level. Right now I am working with an eight year-old named Sebastian who has great plans for the future.

We were sitting there talking about our lives when I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He leaned back in his chair, looked me square in the eyes and spoke as though his plan were more structured than the empire state building. He said "I'm going to do two things. I am going to be a helicopter pilot, and a writer." I was obviously intrigued. I asked him what made him want to be an author. He said " I've got ideas for some books I'm going to write. I'll tell you them. The first one is called 'The Alligator and the Mouse'. Then I'm going to write 'The Alligator and the Mouse 2'. I'll probably keep going through about 10 of those. Then I'll write 'The Ground Hog and the Mouse'. They all will have to have a mouse in them."

I would like to point out that I didn't laugh once. Not once. After that he told me who he was going to have illustrate the books and talked about what he would do once he was rich and famous. I get the feeling I am going to really enjoy working with this kid. Who knows, maybe he will be kind to me someday when he is super rich and ultra famous for his mice books.