Sunday, September 30, 2007

by the numbers

number of miles I ran this week
score on my educational psychology test
number of papers I edited on Friday at work
number of individual tests I administered on Friday at work
my time in the 5k I ran on Saturday (slower than my previous time...which makes me think I heard it wrong and it was really 31:36)
episodes of Big Love we watched on dvd this week
number of grant proposals I wrote this week
number of research papers I am working on
surprise birthday gifts I received this week, more than a month after my birthday
(my boss bought me a Hastings College sweatshirt & Angela burned me a Sarah Sample cd and a live recording of Darrell Scott @ the RMFF and brought me flowers in a ceramic vase she made)
miles per hour the wind blew yesterday as we tried to eat a picnic lunch @ HC's homecoming
crawdads caught in the Platte River on Friday by Paul and the kids who had a day off from school
sack lunches we packed for The Open Table during Sunday School this morning

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Much to my surprise when I got the syllabus for my Literature of American Minorities class my professor pointed out the days she would be out of town--also knows as "the days Emily will teach class." I suppose this is what it means to be a grad student.

So today I taught class. We finished discussing Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine and began discussion of Sherman Alexi's This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona. I also had to give a quiz. Writing the quiz was hard. I wanted to make sure they read but I didn't want to ask anything too obscure. Knowing I had to teach the text I read it a bazillion times and sort of lost touch with how much a first-time reader would comprehend and remember.

There were two problems with the quiz. Okay, wait--there was ONE problem with the quiz. Question nine was too vague. There were two problems with the ANSWERS to the quiz. The movie Smoke Signals is based on the story by Alexi. I asked what a character looked like because there was a very brief, specific description (broken teeth, ratty braids). People wrote things like "he wore lots of denim" (which made me laugh out loud) or "he was a nerd." I think they are describing the character's portrayal in the film. Boo.

The other problem was what these students did when they didn't know the answer. Some people made crazy stuff up in hopes that they just might hit the jackpot and get it right. But my favorite thing at least three people (in a class of 12) wrote as an answer to a quiz questions was "n/a" or "not applicable."

WHAT? "I don't know"? Maybe. Blank? fine. But "not applicable"?!

I have two responses.

1. Oh, so you think this question doesn't apply to you? Everyone else has to answer it but not you?
2. Is this an indictment of my quiz? You don't think the question applies to the text you just read?
I was so amused.
School is going great. It's starting to get a little nutty. Work is picking up. I'm teaching one guy to type. I edit about 6 papers a day (that will definitely increase). I teach two sections of a Learning Lab twice a week. And today I taught my lit class.
Right now I am going to read my Educational Psychology text so that after the kids are in bed, Paul and I can watch Blades of Glory. See? I really am a college student.