2/52: Portlandia

Week 2, and I’m still here. With the added challenge of vacation in Portland, I’m a bit surprised. I got a call saying that we’re in at the new place. We just have to put down a deposit. Yay.

It’s been a busy week at the Macphersons. I absolutely love Portland. The girls went out last night, so today is guy’s night out. Looking to see if I can find good mexican before we leave.

I did have my interview at Providence, but didn’t get the position. They said lots of positive things: that they felt I had a strong call, that I was mature and patient, that I was more open than a lot of 60 year olds, that I was bright and articulate. They had only one negative—that I need to further “integrate my past.” I didn’t quite understand all she meant by that, but her description was kinda like, “You should try to do some therapy to understand the ways you were negatively affected by your past history.” She’s right. I don’t tend to dwell on ways I’ve been wronged or given the short stick. I think she was trying to see how woundedness would help me in my ministry, but the things she was asking me about were not the things that have really wounded me in life. I’m much more wounded by the loss of recent friendships than the loss of my father. But she had mentioned that she was affected in several ways when her father left her—things like a sense of abandonment. I never had a sense of abandonment. Anyway, something I need to explore.

We’re going home tomorrow, and hopefully we’ll get in town early enough to get our deposit down tomorrow.

Okay, good enough. 50 more weeks to go.

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Great quote…

One of my colleagues came by my office to ask the time as her watch was off by seven minutes (Daylights Savings Time mishap). After fixing her watch, she said, “I used to think my teachers were all crazy. Now I know why; sometimes, I feel crazy.”

Touché.

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Classroom Conversation of the Day

“Hey, you decided to show up. You know we meet more than once every two weeks.”
“Why do you have to say that? I show up.”
“You have 14 absences in a class that’s only met 24 times.”
“But I have excuses for 3 of them!”

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Ouch

In class today, each student had a peer partner “grade” their paper based on certain criteria. In each section, students gave a grade of 0-4, which corresponded to F-A. One student, gave another student a 1/0. If you know anything about algebra, his response upon getting his paper back was pretty funny.

“What the heck? She gave me an ‘undefined.’ I should have given her a negative pi.”

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Which Office Character Are You?

I asked a colleague recently what Office character she thought I was most like. She thought for a couple of seconds and said, “Stanley,” and in a deep voice, said, “I don’t care.” I related this to Rachel, and she replied, “You are kinda like a Stanley,” and in Stanley’s voice, said, “I like Pretzel Day.”

ULM makes Drudge Report

So, it looks like some students here made the news by re-enacting the Jena 6. sigh

Update: A letter from ULM’s President was sent out today, and apparently, we’re going to have a forum on diversity tonight, followed by “educational opportunities focusing on cultural diversity and racial sensitivity, including special programs that will be included in the freshmen orientation process.”

Of course, I teach first-year orientation, so that will be a fun, late-term addition. Oddly, the first-year orientation course is the least diverse class I teach.

I have to wonder if we want all this negative publicity. Are we trying to send a message, “Hey, we’re ignorant racists; don’t come here!”

First, the Jena 6 debacle. Then, the Jena 6 re-enactment. Then yesterday, a first-grade teacher decides to demonstrate how to use a noose on a student to teach the class about “black history.”

Are we brain dead down here?

Tuesdays drive me insane

In an effort to staff our writing center, the dean has asked faculty to serve at least two hours in the writing center. If we volunteer four, we can write off a few hours from our ten required office hours. It’s a good tradeoff, and I’ve decided to put in all my hours on Tuesdays so that I can have Fridays off and can leave earlier on the other days. At the beginning of the semester, there are very few students in the writing center, and I’m pretty much going insane from boredom. I can spend an hour or two prepping for classes, and then I’m done with all I can do. I can read, but none of the chairs are comfortable. Quite frankly, it’s torture. After I volunteer my four hours, I have to teach a night class. For the last three weeks, we’ve been on the Puritans, which is pretty torturous to read. I mean, it’s interesting stuff, in a sense, but page after page of Puritan plain style and stories like Samuel Sewall’s courtship of Madam Winthrop, and I’m ready to bang my head on the wall.

I’ll end this on a positive note. I did come across a neat story last night in Cotton Mather’s biography of John Winthrop in Magnalia Christi Americana:

And there was one passage of his charity that was perhaps a little unusual: in an hard and long winter, when wood was very scarce at Boston, a man gave him a private information that a needy person in the neighbourhood stole wood sometimes from his pile; whereupon the governour in a seeming anger did reply, “Does he so ? I’ll take a course with him; go, call that man to me; I’ll warrant you I’ll cure him of stealing.” When the man came, the governour considering that if he had stolen, it was more out of necessity than disposition, said unto him, “Friend, it is a severe winter, and I doubt you are but meanly provided for wood; wherefore I would have you supply your self at my wood-pile till this cold season be over.” And he then merrily asked his friends, ” Whether he had not effectually cured this man of stealing his wood?”