29 August 2006

I survived the first day of teaching.

And it's official. I'm think I'm funnier than my students do.

My Carma Ran Over Your Dogma

"One the other hand my favorite word is Carma, I use it all the time and I strongly believe in how you behave towards others will eventually catch up with you wheather good actions or bad. My girlfriends and I always refer to Carma and that is why it is my favorite word i suppose."

Every semester, I ask my students to give their name, rank, etc... And to post their favorite word.

I'm about to implement a rule. If you can't spell it correctly, it can't be your favorite word.

Yes. It makes my baby Jesus cry.

(For those who don't know, the proper spelling is 'karma.')

26 August 2006

w00t

2 out of 3 powerpoints done.

One to go. Should be easier than the first one because now I have my sooper sekret way of doing it.

I wish I had the time and understanding to turn parts of my Eddie Izzard DVDs into video clips so I could include the riff on Stonehenge for the chapter 1 slideshow.

Next semester. Ah well, at least I have a PG-version of the slideshow for right now. I suspect that I'll be putting the ones with the Eddie clips under a "mature audiences" rating.*

Can't wait til I get into the Connections parts of the texts and slideshows. Again, I'll have to work out how to do the clips, but meh.

*nevermind that I should have a mature audiences rating... hush.

Heinleinean Approach to Teaching

I've discovered that I am involved in the Heinleinean approach to teaching.

Okay, I'm sure most of you are sitting here going "I know who Heinlein is. I've read some Heinlein, but what the hell is the Heinleinean approach to teaching? Do you create a commune with your students? Introduce them to a sentient computer? What?"

The Heinleinean approach to anything is as follows:
You are in a burning building. The flames are licking at your feet and death is nanoseconds away. There is a window. You are on the 17th floor.
The obvious Heinleinean approach is to jump out the window. Why? Though you may die, you are ultimately buying yourself 15 seconds to solve the next problem. As you go whirring by, there is a rope/levitation device/window washer platform. You grab that because it buys you another few seconds to solve the next problem. Rinse. Repeat.

What I'm doing now with the changes I have to do to my courses because of accreditation stuff going on this semester, because of the delay of some of my supervisors, because of people having issues with basic thought processes... Is the Heinleinean approach to teaching. I'm putting together PowerPoints because that keeps the students entertained long enough for me to identify and start working on a solution for the next problem.

Currently, the next problem is the pre-test for my courses, for which I have not received a solid answer. And the lack of any sort of syllabus for the computer course. And the recreation of a course that "oh, we've had people do this before..."

Now, I understand the desire to have your intellectual property protected, but if you're going to toss someone into a course with weeks before the semester, then you'd sure as shit better have something more than "here's the book, here's the labs, here's the CD, have fun!" And then later say "oh, I have a syllabus provided by the textbook company" (gee, thanks. Mightn't you have mentioned that before I started tearing my hair out over this while trying to get my first week of lectures sorted?) "oh, I have the WebCT shell for the e-course supplement also, would you like that loaded?" (No, I've only had access to the current shell for a day, and now it's 4 days before courses start. I love working under this much pressure. Fucker.)

It honestly amazes me at how the Heinleinean approach to life pops up, and it's usually because of some other person's poor planning or bad act.

Amazingly, it's not my students that piss me off about teaching. It's my supervisors and my peers.

25 August 2006

The hiatus continues...

Classes start on Monday. Is your intrepid adjunct ready?

Kinda.

The history courses are going well enough, and I'm trying to get the powerpoints for the first week's chapter all sorted out for those... The computer course I'm teaching... Well, let's just say that I suspect that the department that's in is run by monkeys. I just got an email saying "oh, there's more stuff that I wanted to go over with you at the insanely long meeting, because your classroom is special and you need to know all these things and I'm an ass because I'm dropping this on you three days before classes start. Glad to have you on board!"

Thanks. It took me a week to do development for the lecture. Now you've just set up my e-course supplement (which I haven't looked at yet - I'm afraid) today. Really. Thanks for being so helpful. No, I have no other courses I'm teaching. Of course your department is my top priority. No, I'm not taking any courses this semester, at least not any that are drastically important. I mean, c'mon, I'm here for you. Only you. Those four credit hours I'm teaching that, while outside my field, I am most likely overqualified to teach, are definitely going to cover my rent, food, and other expenses.

Fuckity fuck fuck.

I just want to say, "look, failure of proper preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine." But it's not true. It's like when I was working as a tech geek for the boatload of engineers. A screw-up on their part usually meant that I didn't see my bed until two in the morning. This is the same thing. I come in, hope against hope to be kept in the loop, knowing that I am the adjunct in that department that has any sort of clue, and then realize that I'm constantly on the verge of being screwed.

Now, I knew that the weekend before courses starting weren't going to be all quiet and mellow... But I didn't expect to have to rework the theory of relativity, either. As for now, this little peon is tired.

It's time for me to drag my little adjunct ass to bed and realize that it all starts again in the morning.

TGIF?

...Hardly.

17 August 2006

Hiatus

I am currently ass-deep in prepping lectures for Fall semester. Posting will resume when morale improves.