Teaching and Acute Tonsillitis

Over the weekend, I wasn’t feeling very well.  Sunday was my day off from both jobs, which should have been Date Night with the BF, but instead it ended up being switch between sleeping on the couch and in the bed.  I felt terrible for being under the weather and not having a good date night with my BF, but he understood.

Monday I wasn’t feeling much better.  I debated on going to the dr.’s, but it is always a big decision because I don’t have insurance and I am self-pay.  I spent most of the day in bed trying to rest up and recuperate before I had to go to work that evening.  I even tried to get someone to cover my shift, but we are short on Bartenders and most everyone has a second job or school that restricts their schedule.

I thought about calling off, but that is not in my nature.  So, I put on my big girl pants and went to work.  Luckily, my co-worker was able to switch with me.  I still had to work a 6 hour shift, but it was much better than working the 8.5 hour

Tuesday, when I woke up I was still suffering from a major sore throat.  Since my mom is a medical assistant, I went to the clinic where she works to get checked out by the nurse practitioner.  Because I didn’t have any other cold or flu-like symptoms, she diagnosed it as acute tonsillitis.  She gave me a prescription for an antibiotic and sent me on my way.  She offered to write me a work excuse, but I declined.  There was no way that I could cancel class last night knowing that I was missing Thursday night because of the flair competition.  I did, however, e-mail the peer mentor that was scheduled to observe my class and ask him to consider coming another night.  Thankfully, he obliged.

Purple button up: Wal-Mart. Fall print scarf: gift. Grey trousers: Target. Silver watch: Fossil. Brown oxford shoes: unknown.

That took away a lot of my stress.  I also opted to have my students debrief after their first round of speeches.  I asked them all to reflect on how they did and assess what things they did that were successful and what things that they learned not to do for next time.  I think that it was a good activity.  I also finished lecturing on the presentation aid chapter before giving them the quiz over the material.  We had about ten minutes of class left afterward, so rather than starting a new chapter I allowed them to ask questions about their midterm.

One savvy student asked what type of answer that I expected for the essay questions.  We were able to go over two of the five potential essay questions.  I think that it was very smart that she asked that because I don’t have anything against reviewing the answer with them, or pointing out the exact spot in the book where they can find the information.  I just wish that we had more time to cover more material.

Some of the students were discussing coming to class on Thursday and having a study session with each other.  It makes me extremely proud to know that my students care enough to want to do that.  I know that several of them have class beforehand and are on campus, anyway.  I know that some of them will just take the night off, but I think that is o.k., too.  We all need a sanity break sometimes.

Sorry for the delay in posting.  Also, if you are experiencing any difficulties with the website, it is because I am in the process of migrating to another host and there are some bugs in the system.

-Carla

 

 

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(Fall)

Although I have been tagging pictures and posts “Fall” for quite some time now, it’s not actually Fall!  According to the calendar Fall doesn’t begin for another two days.  But, nonetheless in my mind Fall is synonymous with back-to-school.  Plus, everyone is always pushing ahead and talking about what’s coming next and not focusing on the here and now.  Look at Fashion week– they are debuting clothing lines for the Spring!  We haven’t even had Fall and Winter yet.  And not to mention my Pinterest was flooded with pins of outfits comprised of leggings, boots, and comfy cozy sweaters captioned I LOVE Fall two months ago.  So, please don’t fault me for the erroneous tagging!

Printed cowl neck shirt: Target. Red earrings: unknown. Magenta skinny belt: Target. Khaki pencil skirt: Target. Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Brown heeled boots: unknown.

And, since we’re only two days away, I’ll go ahead and say this.  It’s beginning to feel a lot like Fall.  This week we have had some near record lows.  The cool crisp air is very Fall-esque and therefore, I have started wearing some Fall-like layers.  First up, this shirt which with the mustard yellow and burgundy tones just screams “fall pile of leaves” to me.  And the khaki pencil skirt.  And the brown knee-high heeled boots.  I’m no mathmetician, but Boots=Fall.  I told you in my last post that my outfit consisted of different elements from my creative closet play session, and here it is.  First, the printed cowl neck shirt from all of the outfits.  Second, the skinny magenta belt which gives this top the illusion of being a peplum top– which are SO on-trend right now (but not in my closet.)  Third, the brown boots from another outfit.  Switch out the denim colored pencil skirt for a khaki one, add in thick nude colored tights, and a brown jacket and we’re good to go!

I really like the way that I created the peplum top illusion by tucking under some of the excess length on this top and adding the belt.  But, the one thing that I didn’t like is that my skirt was all wrinkly by the end of the night.  I think that a good coating of spray starch will take care of that.

In class we finished up the lecture over outlining and then talked about organizational strategies for main points.  I have tried to stress to my students the importance of their outlines.  I have walked them through the process step by step.  In week 3 I required them to turn in their topic for approval, their general purpose and specific purpose.  A few of them were off course and had selected a topic that would work better for a process or persuasive speech.  Some of them had a good topic, but had written a specific purpose that treated the topic as a how-to or persuasive speech.  And some of them didn’t write the specific purpose according to the guidelines.

After they turned in their topics, I told them that they should be out there researching their topics and gathering support material for their outlines.  This coincided with the two chapters on finding resources and evaluating and using supporting material.  I constantly reminded them that they should be starting the process of piecing together their outlines.  Last week we began discussing outlining.  We finished that up on Tuesday and their outlines are due today.

I’m always a little worried for some of my students– especially the ones who don’t heed my warnings and get behind.  I had a student approach me at the end of class on Tuesday and ask me if she could change her topic.  I tried to conceal the look of horror on my face as I explained to her that she should be on the outlining stage and not at the selecting a topic stage.  Selecting a topic stage was so 3 weeks ago!  I asked her if she realized how behind she was, but I don’t think that she grasped the severity of the situation.  But, there is a silver lining to this situation.  She expressed concern to me about how to study for the quizzes.

I took a few minutes to sit down with her and show her a few tips and tricks for figuring out which information is most important in a textbook chapter and which information is least important.  I also explained to her about the cues that a teacher gives to the students.  For instance, if something is not covered in class that means that it is less important than other information.  Idea’s that a teacher repeats is something that they want you to write down in your notes and remember.  The same thing with PowerPoint slides.  The information written on a PowerPoint slide is usually written in short key word phrases with the intent that a student will copy that information down in their notes and then elaborate with the other information that an instructor provides orally.

I’m choosing to focus on the positive aspect of the student reaching out to me for help on study habits rather than focusing on the fact that she is so far behind where she needs to be on the first big assignment.

What do you think?  Are there any other basic study tips that you give to students to help them figure out what to study?  Do you reach out to students whose quiz scores are lower than the rest of the class or do you wait until they come to you?  Please let me know your tips and tricks– I love learning from others.

-Carla

Friday Fun Day

Friday morning I lectured over Listening and Outlining with my students.  These two chapters were a little easier to present because I have already covered them in my Tuesday/Thursday class.  We started out with Listening since they are usually a little more awake and ready to pay attention.  As the class starts to wear on, they start to get a little stir crazy.  We meet once a week for 2 hours and 40 minutes.  I usually try to give them (and myself) a ten minute break somewhere in the middle just to give everyone a chance to stand up, move around, and get the blood flowing again.  They are always able to step out if they need to use the restroom or take an emergency phone call, but some of them do smoke or won’t leave during lecture.

I did announce to them at the beginning that we had a lot to do that day and there would not be a formal break.  This is how I bought myself some “extra” time to make sure that I could fit in the Pictionary activity with this class.  I started out by giving them a quiz on the material that we covered the last week.  My Friday students are doing slightly better on the quizzes than my T/TR students.  This is surprising to me.  Last Spring, my Friday students struggled a lot with the material and I attributed it to the meeting schedule.  I felt that the students didn’t have enough time to let some of the information sit and gel before we had to move on to the next topic.  Speech is kind of like math– it all builds on itself and if a student has trouble understanding addition that lack of understanding is only going to get worse when you try to teach them multiplication or division.

But, I think that since I had the predisposition that my Friday students would have a more difficult time, I stressed to them at the beginning how important it was for them to do their reading, study for their quizzes, and take an active role in class.  The other thing that I find interesting is that I gave my T/TR students a practice quiz to show them the types of questions that I would ask.  I did not collect it or even see their scores– so whether they did bad or good I will never know.  But, I did it as kind of a warning to show them that they would need to study.  I did not do that for my Friday class, and yet they are scoring higher (as a group) than my T/TR students.  There is the possibility that my practice quiz exercise actually backfired on me.  Anyway.  These are the types of things that I find interesting and turn over in my mind late at night when I am trying to sleep.

Mustard cardigan: Target. Gold earrings: J.C. Penney. Brown Tank top: Old Navy. Layered necklaces: Target. Plaid dress: Old Navy. Brown belt: (thrifted.) Brown boots: Old Navy.

I liked this outfit well enough.  It does seem very fitting for the Fall season with its color palette.  But, the dress is a linen material and has a strappy top.  This can make it difficult to wear it to school.  I always have to put something under it and/or over top of it to make it appropriate.  Plus, this sort of feels like I just put on random layers in a sense.  And, this is extremely similar to the last time that I wore this dress, just with a different colored cardigan, basically.  (I think I may have liked it better the first time around.)  And while there is nothing wrong with wearing the same outfit twice, I feel that it should be a good outfit and this one is just so-so.  And then there’s my hair.  I have noticed that when I don’t like the way my hair is in a picture I tend to dislike the outfit.  Weird, right?

There are so many girls who can make a casual ponytail look cute and really good.  I just don’t think that I am one of them.  Truth be told, I didn’t wash my hair this morning.  I washed it the night before for class and had planned on wearing it pulled back or up.  I don’t wash my hair everyday–I usually wash it everyday other day.  I think that  I would have felt better if I had washed my hair and styled it differently, but there wasn’t time for that on Friday morning.

But, I still feel like I am doing o.k. in the challenge to make my Friday outfits as good, if not better, than my T/TR outfits.  Just because it’s Friday I don’t want to feel like I am giving up or dressing too casual.  What are your thoughts?  Do you like this dress better the first time or second time that I styled it?  Does something like your hairstyle make you like an outfit more or less?  Please leave me a comment below!

-Carla

Everyday I’m Shufflin’

Hey there!  Sorry for the slight delay in posts– I mentioned last week that I had a tinge of the flu coming on, so over the weekend I tried to relax and get some extra sleep.  However, that is a little easier said than done!  I teach Thursday evenings and then have to get up an’ at ’em bright and early on Friday morning for my 9:oo a.m class.  Luckily, this past Friday I was off from my other job and my BF and I had a fun date night that evening.  (More about that in a minute.)  I did have to attend an early morning work meeting on Saturday, and then be back at 5 p.m. to work until 1:30 a.m.  And, that wasn’t the end of it– I worked Sunday morning from 9:30a.m.-5 p.m.  So it was a weekend of quick turnarounds I guess you could say.

But, don’t feel bad that I didn’t blog my Thursday and Friday outfits– I neglected other stuff too, like grocery shopping, getting an oil change, cleaning the house, and laundry.  Guess what I get to do today?!
Let’s get right to it!  On Thursday I wanted to wear something that made me a little more accessible to the students, so I toned down the overt professionalism and went with something a little more casual: a short-sleeved brown turtleneck sweater, khaki pants, and a brown plaid blazer.

Brown plaid blazer: (thrifted.) Gold earrings: Wal-Mart. Brown turtleneck sweater: unknown. Khaki trousers: J.C. Penney. Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Brown oxford shoes: unknown.

There is something about a brown plaid blazer that just says Fall and Professorto me.  Do you have the same connotations towards this item of clothing?  And, long time readers will also remember that I am wearing this brown sweater backwards because I like the three-button accent.  It sort of feels like a necklace for my shirt.

Thursday was a fun day in class.  Although we had to finish up the lecture from the previous day, I knew that I was going to give the quiz as a take home assignment.  I had the student on Tuesday tell me that he was going to miss class, then I also had a student e-mail me and say that something came up and he wanted to know if we were taking the quiz first because he was going to try to come for the quiz, and then another student told me that she was going to have to leave early to attend to a family member.  Now, I could just say, la di da, so is life, but one of the goals that I am working on as an educator is being more accepting and helpful towards my students.
And I think that one way that I can do that is with the clothes that I wear, but I also need to complete that cycle with my words and actions.  I mean, this semester alone, I was looking at potentially missing 3 instructional days of class, myself.  (One for regional bartender championship flair contest and two for a family vacation.)  I think in light of all that, I can bend my policies a little sometimes.

Not to mention that I have been trying to get to the Pictionary activity for at least two weeks and we kept running out of time.  Something had to give– and I chose the in-class quiz.  The Pictionary activity is one that I whole heartedly champion.  It is such a simple activity– it requires minimal set-up and about 20 minutes of class time (depending on the number of students).  But, what it yields in return is almost immeasurable!

  1. The students are broken up into two or three groups and asked to learn the names of each group member.  This allows them to being making those strangers into friends– and certainly helps them overcome beginning speech anxiety.
  2. Each person goes up in front of the entire classroom when it is their turn to draw, but because they are focused on playing a game and winning points for their team, they forget all about their nervousness and that everyone is “staring” at them.
  3. It allows them to see that I have a fun side and that I don’t want everything to be serious, serious, serious all the time.

So, after we finished up the lecture over supporting materials and evaluating resources, we played Pictionary, and then I started the lecture over outlining.  We didn’t get very far, but that’s okay because it ties in nicely with the chapter that we will be discussing on Tuesday.  Before, I would get all out of sorts if we didn’t get through the material on the day that I had planned, but now I am getting a little more comfortable and I try to remind myself that it is o.k.– we can just cover it the next class period.  There is no sense in rushing through the material or leaving gaps or holes in the information because the students are not going to understand it that way.  And then I acted surprised that we ran out of time and handed out the quiz and told them to do it for homework.

Here are a few shots of the outfit without the blazer. I always have to make sure that I have a layering or topper piece for my freezing cold office, but the classroom is usually a normal temperature and I don’t need the topper.
Overall, I felt good about the choices that I made: giving the quiz as a homework assignment and making time for Pictionary. Would you have done the same, or would you have chosen a different route? Please leave me a comment below, I love hearing your take on things.
-Carla

Copy Cat

 

Every semester starts out the same.  I am filled with many hopes and desires and feeling optimistic about the challenges that lie ahead.  But, somewhere in the middle, both the students and I start to wear thin.  Once we get to the end, we are just ready for it all to be over.  But, I have to start thinking about the next semester before the one that I am in is even over!  That is both good and bad.  Sometimes it can be all to easy to just give up on the current semester and turn your attention and focus towards starting anew with the next semester.  But, pulling it together and pushing through those roadblocks shows determination and perseverance.

I think that for Fall semester I am going to have to be more proactive and schedule a massage, or three, during those middle of the semester weeks that are particularly challenging.  I experienced the same thing with the Fall ’11 and Spring ’12 semesters.

Since Monday was the second to last day with my students I wanted to wear something that was a little more professional and classic.  And what better than a crisp white button-up shirt and khaki skirt?  The inspiration for this outfit comes from dual sources: Pinterest and my BF.  When I asked him what I should wear on Monday he said, “a pencil skirt and button up shirt.”  Which, is pretty much his standard answer.  (But that’s o.k., because it is one of my favorite outfit formula’s, too!)

I could have embellished with different jewelry, but since I’ve gotten this J.Crew knock-off bubble necklace I have only worn it once.  I wanted to wear it with contrasting colors of coral and salmon, but that didn’t pan out a few weeks back.  Although my outfit is very similar to the inspiration photo, it isn’t quite the same.  I chose to go with gold hoop earrings and my gold watch, while the inspiration photo pulls in more pops of turquoise with the bracelet and clutch.

Monday July 23, 2012
White button-up shirt: J.C. Penney. Bubble necklace: E-bay. Gold hoop earrings: Charlotte Russe. Khaki skirt: (thrifted.) Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Brown pointy-toed shoes: (thrifted.)

On Monday, I finished discussing Chapter 14: argumentation.  We discussed fallacies in reasoning and talked about how and why the textbook makes a distinction between persuasion and argumentation.  Then, I gave them a clean copy of a student’s outline and asked them to go through it and grade it using the same grading sheet that I use.  This is the activity that I tried a few week back that failed, miserably.

This time, it worked a little better.  Sadly, they finished the first one quickly, so I thought that they would have time to do a second one, but they were just able to finish it.  This way, each student received two peer-review sheets for their outlines and my preliminary grade sheet.  I should have left more time for discussion about the grading, but I think that it was still helpful–both for the students to practice giving and receiving feedback.  And, it was a dramatic improvement upon last time, so I am going to place it in the W-in category.

Wednesday will be my last day with these students.  Although I am glad that it will be over– it was a tough semester, it’s always a bittersweet ending!  They are required to dress professionally for their final speech, and I will be taking it easy in student wear–re: jeans and a t-shirt.  It’s a bit of fun little role reversal.

What do you think?  Do you like my interpretation of the inspiration photo?  Do you try to re-create outfits that you see on Pinterest, in magazines, or on other people?  Where do you draw inspiration from?

Salmon: It’s Not Just for Dinner

After a few rough days last week I really wanted to start fresh on Monday morning.  Alas, that didn’t exactly happen.  Instead, all of the tension that had been steadily mounting erupted into an overflow.  This resulted in a student speaking with the department chair about her frustrations and later that same day, myself going and speaking to my department chair about the situation.  And that is really all that I want to say about that!

We’ve had a break in the weather since last weeks unbearable temps of 95+ and have returned to our normal summer temperatures of mid-80’s.  And I am thankful.  Although those 90 degree days can be nice if you have nothing better to do than go hang out at the pool, they make trying to accomplish anything else–even sleep!– all but impossible.  And, I can’t deny that the decrease in heat and humidity is much better for my hair– I was having a great hair day on Monday which made me super-duper excited.

I decided to wear this aztec-y jersey printed tank top that I purchased a while back from Target.  I knew when I bought it that it was going to have lots of remix possibilities.  I’ve worn it several times and each time I’ve managed to wear it just a little bit differently.  (See here.) I love the color palette, the cut and style, and the fabric– it’s like wearing a super soft t-shirt.  Plus, I can dress it up for school, or just throw it on with denim shorts for a perfect summer look.  If I had to pick one piece that I think defines my Summer style it would be between this shirt and my printed khaki shorts from Old Navy.

This time around, instead of bringing out the yellow-gold hues, I played up the pinks and peaches.  I paired it with my blush colored trousers and salmon-y cardigan.  (For other ways that I’ve worn these trousers see here and here.)  I went with brown shoes and silver-toned jewelry instead of gold.  I also added my wooden bead-bauble-y necklace.  I was a little unsure about the necklace with the ruffle detail of the shirt, so I photographed it both with and without the necklace and (just like last time) I liked it better with the necklace.  It just feels like a more finished product.

Savvy readers will also notice that I have layered my necklaces, again.  This time I am wearing a silver rope chain in addition to the orangish wooden necklace.  This is a styling detail that I am really in love with right now.

Monday July 9, 2012
Salmon cardigan: Target. Ruffled tank top: Target. Wooden bead necklace: (thrifted.) Silver necklace: gift from grandma. Earrings: gift from bf. Blush colored trousers: (thrifted.) Brown pointy toed heels: (thrifted.) Silver watch: Fossil.


After class I spent some time talking to a faculty member about my class and then headed towards the main campus to speak with my department chair.  After a mentally exhausting day I needed to decompress.  For me, this meant stopping at J.C. Penney on my way home to do a bit of shopping.  I did pick up two new items, a sleeveless gold cowl-neck top and a silver cuff bracelet.  While shopping, I remembered that it was a co-worker’s last day at my other job.  I quickly texted another co-worker to see if she wanted to meet up and say a quick good-bye.

She was just leaving work for the day and agreed to meet me in about 30 minutes.  I made a quick stop to Wal-Mart to pick up a card and then met my friend at work.  Sadly, our co-worker had already left for the day.  But, it worked out fine in the end because my friend and I got to spend some QT together have a cocktail and an appetizer on the patio.

Since we have to wear uniforms to work, this was (possibly) the first time that my co-workers had seen me in dress up clothes.  It was fun to see their reaction.  I got a lot of compliments on my outfit, necklace, and shoes.  I would be lying if I didn’t say that it made me feel great–especially since I wasn’t really trying to go there dressed to the nines.  It just so happened that I was having a good hair day and looked polished and put together.

It’s times like these that make me happy that I put in the time and effort to pick out outfits and that I share them with you through this blog.  The idea that the way we dress does, indeed, make a difference is constantly reinforced.

How many times do you run in to an ex, old boss, or former acquaintance and say “Darn, I wish I didn’t look so put together and polished right now?” NEVER, right? It’s usually more like, “Darn, I wish I wouldn’t have ran out of the house looking like this!”

“Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda:” Time Wasters

The delay in this post comes from the fact that Wednesday wasn’t a great day.  And it kind of breaks my heart because it was speech day.  If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you will know that speech days are my favorite.  I get to see my little birdies fly on their own and really strut their stuff.

But, these little birdies did not.  To make a long story short, my students indicated to me that they were feeling unprepared for their first speech.  In my opinion, they wanted to push all of the blame on to me and say that I didn’t prepare them.  This caused an explosion of feelings within me.  First, I was angry that they could even think such a thing.  Then, I was feeling very attacked and defensive.  (I honestly don’t know how I managed to keep my composure.)

I suggested that we could continue watching video examples and push the speeches back to the next class period.  After about 30-40 minutes of debate my students opted to deliver their speeches that day.  Of course this outraged me even more.  One of my main counterpoints to them not feeling prepared was that it takes us soooo long to get through the lecture material that I cannot spend time doing other activities–worksheets, showing video’s, group work, hands on learning activities, etc.  It’s my thought that they don’t read the chapters and come to class prepared, so when I begin lecturing over the information they have a very difficult grasping it because it is unfamiliar to them.

And Wednesday was a perfect illustration of my point.  They spent all that time discussing their speaking apprehension and telling me all the things that they think I should have done differently and then they gave their speeches, anyway.  So, guess what?  After the speeches I had this whole lecture on MLK’s I Have a Dream speech planned that tied in their homework from the previous day.  But, we didn’t get to it.

My BF picked out my outfit.  When I asked him what I should wear he said “a pencil skirt.”  I took it from there, selecting which pencil skirt (my newly thrifted one), a top (a lovely burgundy silk top with tie neck), and accessories (bronze/gold to match the hardware detail on the skirt.)  My BF did, however, pick out which shoes I wore with this outfit.  Sadly, I really like this outfit and I hate that it was such a horrible day.  (Also, my long-time readers might notice that, for once, I didn’t opt to go casual on speech day.)  What a bummer!

Tie neck top: J.C. Penney. Bronze feather earrings: Charlotte Russe. Khaki skirt: (thrifted.) Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Gold shell bracelet: The Jewelry Superstore. Brown pumps: (thrifted.)

What do you think? Do you ever start out the morning feeling great and then just watch the day start to unravel right before your eyes?