Thursday, April 30, 2009

'Arry, yer a wizard.

I'm spending my entire week grading, so here is my new favorite student writing:

"I think that the Harry potter books are really ok for your children to read as long as you let them know ahead of time that it is not ok to do the spells at all"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

You watched one too many X-Files as a kid.

I keep meaning to post some post-operative pictures. I keep thinking that my mom would like to see them (Facebook seems a little too public for that).

But I am not at home, so instead I will tell you the story of a student.

I'm having individual conferences with one of my classes this week. It's draining. And most of the time I read their papers and am just like, "I am never assigning an argument again!" But this student came in, sat down, and said, "I can't get more than 5 pages on this paper." I started to suggest some things, and my main suggestion was that he set up the conversation that is taking place around his topic. So he began to describe to me the conversation around legalizing marijuana.

Suddenly, in the middle of explaining this conversation - decriminalize or legalize - he looks up and says, "But you know, I rolled out of bed this morning, and realized that the reason lawmakers don't want to legalize marijuana is because they realize that all of our current industries will be replaced by hemp. It will be absolutely catastrophic for the American economy because we have built it so much on other things. Like corn." So then he went on and on about the uses and values of hemp.

But it was great! I make them do a little bit of research and now I have a conspiracy theorist!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

You are scum, between my toes.

Carla, you made me laugh and laugh with your post-it.

The break-up is done. Accomplished. And it seems to have gone fairly well, and now she is back to hiding in her room. (Have I mentioned that I think of her as a cave dweller? She goes into a dark room, and doesn't come out...).

My method was really unexciting. We were chatting, and I asked if she is still going to Utah for the summer, she asked what I am doing for the summer to which I responded summer school. She said, "Are you still thinking about buying a house this summer?" I said, "Yes, and I don't think we should live together." She looked surprised and said, "Oh I know." "Ok, I just felt like it needed to be said, so we are both on the same page." She responded, "I knew you wanted to move out." And I was like, yeah, and you said you would go with me.

So it was very weird, and she acted all abrupt and like she had never made any plans. But it is done! Yay!

I went and saw a few houses yesterday. I liked the realtor, but the houses were absolute nos. They were right on the major highway, and in a very commercial area. Weird.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Of schools and ships and sealing wax. Of cabbages and kings.

What a strange day. All day I had to work to convince myself that it is actually Thursday. Ok, that's not an unusual problem, as I frequently get my days mixed up. But today, I have been convinced all day that it is Wednesday. That is what made it strange, I am usually jumping ahead in days, not back.

I think the main reason for this is because I couldn't go to the gym yesterday. I had to go back to the dermatologist, because the spot of cancer that we are treating with cream got infected. The funny part of this story is... oh, I should explain, this is my original dermatologist, who diagnosed the spots, my surgery was performed by a different dermatologist in the practice. So my dermatologist hadn't seen me since the surgery, and so he commented on my wound. (Really I'm not sure what to call it. It's not a scar yet, because it's still too gross, but wound just sounds gross and weird, and it's not really that gross, although I seem to think that it is). Anyway, he commented that it looks really good, and asked how the surgery went. I said, "Well, the surgery itself was fine. They had to take out three layers." "WHOA! Wow!" was his response to that.

I just looked at him. And then I thought, yeah, everyone else did a much better job of presenting that like it's no big deal. Way to go, buddy.

Um, so that's skin cancer... One of my nurse students asked how it was healing and if she could see it, so I showed her. She also said it looks good, but then told me it will take at least 2 months for the site to feel completely normal. Maybe by then my hair will be a couple inches long.

In other news, everyone is still ready for the end of the semester. I decided there was too much complaining. And I think my reactions are entirely inappropriate. One of my friends complains about her students, and I just say, "You are way too nice. If they said that to me, my response would be 'Too bad. You should have been paying attention.'" But she accepts the blame that they place on her. I hope I don't do that.

And the last thing that is going on in my life is I am looking at houses tomorrow. With a real estate agent and everything. I have been worrying for the past week about how to break up with my roommate. I have told her of my intention to buy a house this summer, and she somehow invited herself to live with me. I thought I was scott free when she said she was going to move back home and marry her pseudo-ex-boyfriend. And then he dumped her. So her plans automatically changed back to living with me. Even though I never invited her to.

What's your favorite way to dump someone?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I do not believe in fairies. I do not believe in fairies.

Yay for me! I just finished writing the final exam and study guide for class #2.

I am enjoying the Facebook commentaries among all my teacher-ly friends. Apparently everyone is to the point where they are just ready to be done. My students who love to misinterpret the meanings of our class readings would say it is "the tipping point." Just to be clear, it's not.

Some of the comments from today:

Friend one: wonders when "assignment due in class" changed to "due whenever the student feels like." Apparently I missed that memo when I spent 3 hours writing my syllabus.

1. yeah.. I also love how the attendance policy seems to not matter the last three weeks of class... silly rabbits...
2. It also matters very little to me. I'm terrible at this.
3. why do i want the little turds to succeed? why can't i just let them FAIL like they deserve...
4. Today a student showed up to class empty-handed and said "We have until 3:00 to turn our papers in, right?" I'd like to know from whence he pulled this arbitrary time when nothing has ever been due at anyt other time except in class.

Friend two: Student Quote out of Context: "I have changed my topic from the differences between light and dark beer to the ethics of abortion."

1. Awesome! That type of statement is a good portion as to why I teach college freshmen.
2. Uh, I would prefer to read the former. I never allow my students to write on abortion.

Which just reminds me. When I assigned the argument paper for my class, one student asked, "Can we write it on any subject?"
I responsed, "Yes, I've been letting you choose your subject all semester, and it says right on the assignment sheet to choose your own topic. So yes."
The student said, "Well, I was just wondering, because I've had teachers tell me that if they had to read another paper on some topic they would just fail that paper."
Student #2 chimed in, "Yeah, like abortion or lowering the drinking age."
Me, "Ah, yes. And I totally know why. So I will say this about your topic. Think very carefully about whether you have something interesting and new to say on the subject. If you do not, you will not get a good grade. That is all."

My favorite teacher-ly rant of the day though went a little something like this. My office-mate and I were sitting in our office, and then my boss came by to talk to my office mate, teacher #3 came by to exhult, and teacher #4 couldn't resist getting in on the conversation.

Teacher #3: I have modified my online class instructions. Here, let me tell you: "At the end of the submission period for all online work, the Blackboard fairies sprinkle fairy dust and close the submission. This makes it impossible for me to receive and grade late work. Late work will not be accepted, because the fairy dust cannot be undone."
Teacher #2: Oh no, mine is better. When they come to me with some story of some terrible calamity that prevented them from turning in their work I say, "Wow. All that happened? God must really hate you." Then the student says, "Will you accept this?" And I say, "No way! God hates you, but she's all right with me at the moment. I'm not gonna mess that up!"
Teacher #1: Yeah, with all the calamity and death that happens around here, I think we rival Sunnydale. Our town must be invested with vampires.
Teacher #3: I just liked my fairies.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I can't feel my toes. I don't have any toes! I think I need a hug.

I want to have several titles for this post. I need options.

I chose this quote from Shrek because I kept thinking about it this week. My other top choice(from A Cinderella Story):
"You don't look upset."
"Oh it's the Botox. I won't be able to show emotion for another hour."

It's been a week, so I guess it is time for some funny surgery stories. Perhaps telling them will make the whole experience funnier.

I went in for surgery last Wednesday. The surgery actually took place in the dermatologists office. Let me describe it for you, in case you have never been. Dermatology practices are the most luxurious doctor's offices imaginable. Mine is a sprawling two-story building, with a rounded staircase and a water feature in the lobby. But when you walk into the waiting room, it is filled with old people. Allow me to be a little more specific, lest you think I am age-ist. I am not talking the 50-60 year old crowd, I mean the 90+ year old crowd. The kind of people that you look at and wonder "why bother having it removed?"

Given the clientele, it is understandable that the nurses and doctors I see always comment on my age. This time was no exception. The doctor walked in, "Well, you are my youngest patient today! As I'm sure you could tell by the waiting room." She hastened to reassure me, "Not my youngest patient ever, just my youngest today." So I took the bait and asked, "How old was your youngest ever." "18." And then we said at the same time "Tanning beds." So she told me all about their "Pasty by choice" campaign.

When I went to get my stitches out, I got to see one of the posters for this "Pasty by choice" campaign. I agree with the idea, and support any type of skin cancer awareness. But, of course, the model on the poster was an absolutely gorgeous blonde girl with perfect porcelain skin. It didn't make me feel any better about my flawed skin. Not only is it not tan, but it's just not pretty.

But back to the surgery, it was an outpatient thing, and I was fully awake the entire time. Perhaps you know how creepy that is. In order to keep me calm and distracted, the doctor and nurse kept chatting the entire time.

Before they started stitching me up, the doctor had to trim a little of my hair. She said it was no big deal, but my hairdresser would accuse me of being a five year old, and still cutting my own hair. But, there's no way I'm letting anyone get near my head for the next several months. So it probably won't even be noticeable.

As they were stitching me up, the nurse commented, "Oh could you give her a widow's peak?" So I said, "Actually I wanted a lightening bolt scar." The doctor chuckled and said, "I never read Harry Potter."

The cancer was deeper than they thought it would be, so the surgery actually took more out. The scar is quite long, and after they finished sewing, I said, "It's really pulling, how long will it pull like that?" The doctor said 3-4 days, because they basically gave me a mini-face-lift. According to her, "You'll look two weeks younger!"

Let us simply skip past the parts of laying on my bed in pain (because the couch is too uncomfortable for good laying), and the sickness, and the changing the bandage, and canceling classes. Those parts are not funny.

I returned to work on Monday. First, I chatted with the fam on Sunday night. It becomes more and more apparent to me, at times like this, how much my family are storytellers. We all accuse my mom of being an outrageous storyteller (and foolishly, at times, in our younger years, we accused her of lieing in these stories), but we are all storytellers. So as the phone got passed around, they all began to ask, "What are you going to tell your students?" I had to cut off the tales they wanted to suggest, because it hurt too much to laugh (see the above quote on Botox). But finally one suggested that I have the students tell stories about what happened to me.

So I did.

Here are the funniest:

On Wednesday, Emily went to the doctor. As she was walking into the doctor's office, she saw an old man feeding the birds. She thought this was filthy, so she decided to shoo the birds away, and said some not very nice things to the old man. Upon seeing the old man so meanly treated, the birds formed an attack. They chased Emily all the way into the building, pecking at her head.

Thursday morning, Emily got up and decided to go running outside, because it was a nice day. As she was running, she heard someone coming up behind her. She glanced over her shoulder and saw a man dressed all in black. She got a little freaked out. So she ran a little faster. The man in black sped up too, closing the gap between them. As Emily kept looking over her shoulder to avoid the man, she ran straight into a tree.

Emily finished her classes Wednesday night, and decided it was time for some fun. So she called up a friend, and they decided to go to a party down at UMKC. Emily dressed up as a bunny, and her friend dressed up as a magician. After a while, they decided the party was lame. So they decided to go parachuting. They jumped from the plane, aiming to land in what they thought was an empty field. But it turned out to be the KC zoo. Emily landed right in the lion's cage. The lions moved toward her, ready to attack, but Emily made quick work of them with her kung foo skills. Only one got close enough to give her a single cut across her head.

Emily was leaving work in a hurry Wednesday evening. She grabbed her things, locked the door, and headed down the hallway, absorbed in checking her belongings to make sure she didn't forget anything. As she rounded the corner, she ran smack into a man, colliding heads. Emily fell to the ground, unconcious. She awoke later in the hospital, and seeing a handsome man sitting beside her asked, "Who are you?" "I'm the man you ran into," he responded. "Please, can I sit with you until you are better?" And that is how Emily met the man of her dreams. [My comment: That is a pretty short dude if he can hit heads with me!]

There was another really clever one about ninjas and pirates and kung foo, but it was involved. What I remember is that I was kidnapped by ninjas, married to their king, became super rich, then was attacked by pirates and returned home, but am still super rich.

The end. The best part of letting my students make up the stories is that they got really involved and engaged in their stories.