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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Clothing, False Perceptions, and Talking

Last night was not everything that I hoped it would be. It started out o.k., but ended on a slightly sour note. Let me explain.  I woke up feeling like a touch of the flu was coming on.  So, I made myself an Emergen-C cocktail (no booze!), and spent most of the day on the couch trying to get over that general feeling of lethargy.  I read the newest edition of Cosmopolitan, caught up on an episode of Rookie Blue, and petted my adorable orange cat, Cosmo.

Eventually, it was time to shower and get ready for school.  After I showered I did take a few minutes to compose some outfits for the coming week– expect lots of Fall-ish colors.  Then, I got ready for class, packed my lunch, and took my outfit photo’s for the day before I headed off to campus.

Once on campus, I went into the adjunct faculty room where I hold my “office hours.”  The problem with this is that this room is absolutely freezing.  Not exactly what I needed when I wasn’t already feeling too hot.  I made a quiz for next week and reviewed my notes for the evening and then I decided that it was just too uncomfortable in there.  I took my lunch bag and ate my dinner outside.  It was much more comfortable out there.  After a while I packed up all my stuff and headed down to my classroom.  There was a class in there before me, so I didn’t get the chance to go in and set up as much as I would have liked.

In the ten minutes before class began, a few of my students were already in the room.  I usually announce to them that “we are having a quiz, and even though class hasn’t started now is a great time to ask any questions that you may have about the quiz, the syllabus, or class in general.”  But, they usually never ask any questions.  They don’t even usually talk to each other.  It’s very quiet and awkward at times.  One student, whom I will call, Eric asked me “if I like quiet before class began?”  I shook my head “no.  I don’t care if you talk.  It’s a public speaking class.”  And still, no one talked.

Once class actually began, I again announced that if anyone had any questions about last week’s material that I would be happy to answer them before the quiz.

No one talked.

Eric asked a general question, “Are we doing well on the quizzes as a group?”  It was a good question.  To which I responded, “Some people do very well, 9’s and 10’s.  Some people do not: 3’s and 4’s.  But, everyone seems to be consistent with themselves.  The students getting 5’s and 6’s get the same score nearly every time.”  I went on to explain to the students that the quizzes are not meant to be a torture device, but a way to measure whether they are grasping the material, or not.  And they can use them as a barometer.  If they are not getting the scores that they want they need to ask themselves, why not?

Are they reading the chapters, carefully?  Are they coming to class and taking good notes?  Are they asking for clarification on terms and concepts that they may not understand?  Are they reviewing the material and studying for the quiz?  Are they focusing on the right material from the chapter– can they identify the most important material or do they focus on the lesser important content?  And lastly, is there something that they need me to do differently?

No one talked.

And then I handed out their quiz.  After I collected the quiz I lectured over chapter 3: finding resource material.  After chapter 3, I started on chapter 4: identifying and evaluating supporting material but we didn’t get to finish the chapter.  We got about 3/4 of the way through.  I always seem to be running out of time in the class.  Truth be told, I would like to forgo the quizzes because they take up valuable class time!  There is so much more that I would like to give to them in the classroom, rather than taking time away for quizzes.  Perhaps I will make their next quiz a “take-home” quiz.

Back to my story.  After class was over, one of my students informed me that he would have to miss Thursday’s class due to a family matter.  He asked if he could take the quiz early.  I explained to him that there is no make-up work, that you have to take the quiz at the time that it is given.  He made some good points, that he wanted to put himself at a disadvantage and take the quiz early, not late.  He also stated that he didn’t think that he should be punished for having to miss class for a family issue.

I tried to explain to him that regardless of whether he wanted to take the quiz early or late it would be at a different time than the rest of the group, and I would have to make that an option for all students and it just gets too difficult to do that and be fair.  I also tried to explain to him that it’s not meant to punish him, that it isn’t a policy that is just for him, but that it is for everyone.  And, I can not play judge and jury on whether one student has to miss class for a good reason or someone else has to miss class for a bad reason.  So, we have the blanket policy that will cover all events.  But, I do appreciate that he genuinely cares about his grade and having to miss class.  But, I think that he is putting too much emphasis on one 10 point quiz, when there are over 1,000 points for the whole course.  One missed quiz will not cause him to fail the class.

He kept going on, even trying to jokingly offer me money, and he finally gave up.  At that point, Eric said to me, “I want to talk, but I feel like you will be mad at me.  You seem very strict.”

I assured him that I would not be mad at him, that I want the students to talk and participate.  I also added that I am strict, but I am also a pretty easy-going person.  To which the other student replied, “So you should let me take the quiz!”

“I said I was easy-going, I didn’t say that I was a push over.”  And then we had to part ways.

This whole exchange makes me feel a little deflated.  First of all, I want my students to take me and the class seriously– I want them to put in the time and effort that this class requires and not try to cut corners.  The quizzes are designed to make sure that they are reading the material and coming to class prepared.  And, if they don’t there is the consequence of doing poorly on the quiz.  But, I do want them to feel comfortable talking and answering questions and letting their personalities come through.  I have to find more ways to engage them in the classroom.

I always just feel this pressure to stand up in the classroom and lecture over the material using Powerpoint.  I do hope that playing Pictionary with them on Thursday will help break the stigma.  I have been wanting to incorporate this for a few classes now, but we keep running out of time.  Pictionary is one way that I help them meet and interact with some of their classmates, and a way that I get them up to the front of the room without focusing on being up there in front of everyone.  It is a very helpful tool in beginning to eliminate speech anxiety.

I also feel that I can help achieve this goal with my clothing choices.  Maybe instead of focusing on being professional and all business-like, I need to focus a little more on outfits that make me seem more accessible.  For me, I think that translates into wearing pants and flats.  And, adding in accessories with more personality.  I think that if I start to show them more of my personality they will start to show me more of their personality.  At least it’s worth a try, right?

Sorry for the long story, but that comes from the writer in me!  But, without further ado, here is the outfit that I wore last night:

Black and grey dress: J.C. Penney. Black belt: borrowed from blazer. Pandora bracelet and charms: gifts. Silver watch: Fossil. Black tights: Target. Black booties: Dillard’s. Black blazer: not shown here (thrifted.)

This is the big blog debut of my booties!  I purchased them about a month ago, and after breaking them in by wearing them around the house, I wore them to a meeting on campus.  The first time that I wore them, it was only for a few hours but my feet were very sore.  I was very upset.  These booties are by Antonio Melani and cost $100.  This is the most that I have ever spent on a pair of shoes, but I was looking at them as an investment piece.  They are made from leather– which is a big plus in my book.  After wearing them to teach in last night, I have to say that they were more comfortable than the first time that I wore them, but I am still not convinced that they were worth the major investment.  Only time will tell, I guess.

I wasn’t as comfortable in this outfit as I would have liked to be.  First, without some sort of cinching around the middle, this dress is waaaaay too 70’s mod/ maternity looking.  I thought that just the blazer would be enough, but I was a little too warm in it, so I knew that at one point I would want to take it off.  I took the fabric belt from the blazer and tied it around my waist so that the dress would look o.k. with or without the blazer.  The other reason why I was a little uncomfortable was because of the length of the dress.  It is longer than fingertips, but it still feels so short!  Even paired with the dark tights I felt like I was showing a lot of leg.  And it just made me feel a little self-conscious. I think that this dress is better with an opaque tight or even leggings.

What do you think? Are there outfits that are “appropriate” by all the standards and rules, but just leave you feeling uncomfortable? Do you have better days when you feel completely comfortable in what you are wearing? Maybe it was because of the impending sickness, the outfit, or a combination of the two that came across to my student that I would be mad if he talked. Whatever the reason for that perception, I want to figure it out and change it, fast!
-Carla

50 Shades of Grey

I left my first day outfit up to chance and asked all of you to vote.  Sadly, the outfit that I thought was the best first day outfit did not win, but that didn’t deter me from wearing it on the 2nd day of class with my T/TR students.

The 2nd day of class was good.  It’s very hard to get a good read on people the first couple of days– everyone is trying to get situated.  I was sad to see that after Tuesday’s class I had 3 students drop.  Coincidentally, all 3 of the students sat in the front row the first night of class.  (I swear that I brushed my teeth and wore deoderant.)  I am trying not to take it personally, though.  I try to give my students and honest and realistic snapshot of what the class is about and the expectations for the semester.  It is better for students to drop right away if it’s not what they thought that it was, or they discover that now is not the best time to be taking the course.

The course is very demanding with writing the outlines and delivering the speeches, so I always tell students to take an honest assessment of their other classes and lives in general.  If they have another class that they anticipate is going to be very difficult, or they have a lot of responsibilities outside of school–work, family, etc., they really need to be honest about their chances of success.  And, that is the goal– to succeed.

The second night we talked about The Informative Speech process.  This new textbook breaks it down into a 5 step process.  It is also a good overview for the process of writing a speech.  It starts to get them familiar with some of the terminology that they are going to be learning: general purpose, specific purpose, central idea and the steps that they are going to take to complete the process.

The other nice thing is that it creates some redundancy.  They have heard me say some of this information from the Overview chapter we covered on Tuesday and the Informative speech chapter on Thursday.  They are also going to hear it again when we talk about Selecting a Topic and Purpose.  I hope that this redundancy means that they are going to retain this information!

I liked this outfit.  I did add a 3/4 sleeved black cardigan, but my camera battery died and I didn’t get any pictures with the cardigan on.  Oh well, maybe next time!

Grey dress: (thrifted.) Silver hoops: J.C. Penney. Pink belt: Target. Silver watch: Fossil. Grey pointy-toed slingback pumps: (thrifted.)

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, why yes that is a 1980’s style banana clip that I am rocking!  Yes, you can still by them new.  Check out your local Wal-Mart.  I took a side shot for you so you could see my banana clip in all its unbridled awesomeness.

What do you think? Do you have a more favorably reaction to this outfit now that you’ve seen how I styled it? Or, are you sticking by your original number 1 pick?
-Carla

Colorblocking and Oral Presentations

On Thursday my students were supposed to give oral reports based on a group project that they completed in class on Tuesday.  Since it was somewhat of a carefree day, I dressed a little on the casual side.  Also, because I was cold when I woke up that morning.

Class that day was a little rough.  I thought that my students would welcome the opportunity to do a group project, but they didn’t seem to like it as much as I thought they would.  Well, the group part they seemed o.k. with, it was the oral presentation part that they didn’t seem to like.  Even after all this time and all these speeches, they still have some difficulty organizing their content.

This outfit is a good example of color-blocking.  But, I felt like the pieces were too disparate.  Luckily, I have this scarf that perfectly ties these colors together.  Actually, this outfit was created around this scarf.

I was going to wear my brown boots, but the last time that I wore these blue cords I wore my brown boots.  So, I opted for these gray ones, instead.  Also, because they pair very well with my gray peacoat.

After I thought about it some, I realized that my students were all in a tizzy because they had gotten their outlines back. Although I didn’t think that the grades were bad, I can see how some of them may not have gotten the grade that they wanted. Many of them received the same percentage grade on their third outline as they did on their first and second, but that doesn’t mean that they are not improving. Each time around the requirements increase–as does the point value. So, by getting the same percentage they actually are improving!

Thrift Store Gold

Last week after class, I stopped by the Goodwill store in search of some specific items.  Woah! did the thrift Gods smile upon me!  Here are the goodies that I got:

Grey pants: Ann Taylor (thrifted) $7.50

Grey pants: Ann Taylor (thrifted.) $7.50

I can admit that when I go to the thrift store, I like to look for brand names.  I figure, how the heck else am I going to acquire such top notch pieces?  I looked these pants up online and nearest that I can deduce they retail between $78 and $148.  (I’m not sure exactly which style they are.)

Blue blouse: Banana Republic. (thrifted.) $3.50

Blue blouse: Banana Republic (thrifted.) $3.50

This abstract blue silk blouse caught my attention in a sea of short-sleeved blouses.  I immediately knew that I could pair it with my blue blazer.

The other perk of shopping for brand names, or brands that you are familiar with, is that you know their sizing.  For example, at Old Navy I wear a size 4 in their denim and a size 6 or 8 in their twill or dress pants.  This is helpful when I am shopping secondhand stores.  Sometimes they don’t have a fitting room.  And sometimes I just don’t want to try the clothes on before they have been washed and dried and smell like my fabric softener instead of thrift store sterilization.  (What is that stuff, anyway?)

Speaking of Old Navy, I bought this pink button-down to go with a brown corduroy pencil skirt that I have in my closet, so be on the lookout for that pairing soon.

Up close view of the ribbon detailing

Also, I couldn’t resist the sweet ribbon detailing around the cuffs and down the front placket.  Or the price.  It was tagged at $2.50, but it was the color of the day, so it was half-off.  That’s right, this little number cost me $1.25.  I’d say that’s a steal.

Remember this tweed blazer that I was coveting?  Yeah, the one that cost $518– which is more than my rent!  Well, my main purpose for going to the thrift store that day was to find a tweed blazer.  And I did.

Pink tweed blazer: (thrifted.) $ 6.00

This one has the blazer-like construction of the too-expensive version that I liked.  It also has a two-button stance.  It is pink-ish, but not the pepto-bismol pink of Jacqueline Kennedy’s tweed suit.  So, I put it into the cart.  However, I had some resevations about whether or not it was what I wanted.  Also, there was a question of size.  It is a size or two bigger than I normally wear.  I tried it on in the store and looking down at myself I couldn’t see any major fit issues.  Plus, it was also the color of the day– meaning, it was $3.00 instead of $6.00.  Into the cart it went.  And alongside it went this two-piece set:

Brown tweed suit: Ann Taylor. (thrifted.) $8.00

This one is name brand: Ann Taylor, but the jacket lacked that blazer construction that I was looking for.  Although, I did like the color better than the pink-ish one.  And, it was my size.  The fact that it came as part of a set was a bonus– I don’t anticipate wearing both pieces together.  But, I can see myself wearing the skirt and the jacket separately in several different applications.  At $8.00 this was the most expensive item that I bought, but I thought that it was worth it.

My total for the shopping excursion came in at just over $20.00 for a new pair of grey dress pants, a silk short-sleved blouse, a 3/4 sleeved button down shirt, a tweed blazer, and a 2 piece tweed suit.  To me, it was all worth it and I can’t wait to add these new pieces into my wardrobe.