Swept Under

If it seems like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth, don’t worry I can assure you that I haven’t.  But, it does sort of feel that way.  I’m at the point in the semester where things start to move faster and the first big assignment is due.  My students dread it and so do I!  It kind of feels like getting swept off your feet by a big wave.  You can see it way out there and as it gets closer you try to prepare yourself for it, but sometimes you just can’t jump high enough and you get swept under.  That’s how I’ve been feeling this past week.

Some how, some way I’ve been slowly getting behind on things– prepping lectures, making quizzes, getting the next big speech assignment packet sent to the printers, blogging, etc.  And it’s not even like I don’t have time– it’s that I don’t have motivation!  I seriously spent like 5 hours catching up on the Fall premieres of Dancing with the Stars, Castle, Criminal Minds, and a few other shows.  I know in a sense that I probably needed that time to just sort of veg out– I can’t shake that nagging feeling that I should be doing something more productive–laundry, dishes, practicing for the upcoming flair competition.  I’m just feeling so repressed by all of items on my iCalendar.  Everyday it’s something.  Tuesday nights I teach, Wednesday nights I close down the bar, Thursday nights I teach, Friday morning I teach and then work at the bar that night, Saturday morning I usually do chores and work at the bar, Sunday morning I open the bar, Monday night I close the bar and then we start all over.

After I get home from work (teaching or the bar) I try to spend a few moments of quality time with my BF.  Usually I have a day off from the bar in there somewhere– mostly Friday, Saturday, or Sunday and that becomes “date night” with the BF.  But, everyday it is something.  And on top of my work schedule there’s always extra meetings at school to attend.

In order to catch back up, you are going to get a two for one post!  This week has really started to feel like Fall and to me that means layering.  When I leave for school in the afternoons the sun is out and the weather can feel mild, but I know when the sun goes down that the temps are going to fall and when I come out of the building at 9pm its going to be a bit chilly-willy.

Black blazer: (thrifted.) Flowered print shirt: Wal-Mart. Coral earrings: (thrifted.) Red belt: (thrifted.) Black shorts: Target. Silver watch: Fossil. Button ring: self-made. Black booties: Dillard’s.

I have an entire Pinterest board filled with “Winter Shorts.”  I don’t know why, but I love the look of wearing shorts with tights and booties.  So, I thought that it was time that I re-created this look (again.)  I wore these shorts last Spring in an off-season way, but I wasn’t entirely in love with the look.  This time, I wore sheer black pantyhose instead of opaque tights and I think that it turned out a lot better.

When I got home from class my BF said, “You’re wearing shorts?!”  To which I responded, yes.  But if you think about it, wearing shorts is sort of just like wearing a skirt in the Fall.  And nobody thinks twice about a woman wearing a skirt.  Class that night is sort of a blur at this point.  I remember that we talked about evaluating speeches and watched some video’s, but that is about all.

Thursday is a little bit more memorable in my mind. Again, it was a day with Fall weather and layers were in order. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to wear, but I knew that I wanted to wear a dress and “Fall-erize” it. I tried on a few of my dresses and added layers underneath or over, and in the end I ended up with this purple maxi-dress. Underneath of it, I have a long-sleeved light purple shirt. This is to give a little more coverage in the bust, and some additional warmth. Then, I added the brown jacket and the scarf that I tied to make it an infinity scarf. I was o.k. with the outfit, but I can’t say that I really loved it. I just sort of ran out of time and had a heaping mound of clothes piling up on the bed. Oops.

Purple maxi-dress: gift. Light purple scoop neck t-shirt: Old Navy. Purple scarf: Wal-Mart. Brown jacket: unknown. Bronze hoops: Charlotte Russe. Gold Watch: Wal-Mart. Brown boots: Old Navy.

Thursday night was not the best night of the semester.  Apparently, there were two questions in the online activity that the computer marked wrong, even though the students gave the right answer.  I had one student e-mail me to tell me about it, and then another.  I looked in to it and discovered that these two students were correct.  I responded to them both via e-mail and asked them not to mention it to the other students– I was curious to see how many of them were really paying attention and caught the mistake.

But, neither of the students had read my response e-mail and one of them came into the class blabbering to everyone about the mistake.  This got other students in on the bandwagon and had everyone whipped up into a frenzy before class even started.  And, they were all worked up to the tune of a total of one point.  The questions are worth 1/2 a point each.  Now, in the course there are a total of 1,775 points on the table.  So, 1 point is .08%.  It’s not even one percent of their overall grade!  Anyway, all they wanted to do was to focus on this and not on the lecture material.  They finally forced my hand and I had to address it at the beginning of class, rather than during the lecture when we covered the material that the questions were over.  I was thoroughly annoyed.  And, I didn’t hide my annoyance very well.

I also had an activity planned for them to practice impromptu speaking.  I come up with random questions like, What did you want to be when you were little and why?  The students go up to the front of the classroom and pick a question at random and then take a few minutes to answer the question.  All the questions are pretty silly and funny.  Mostly, it’s designed to give the students some practice with impromptu speaking and get them a little bit used to speaking in front of the class before their first speech on Tuesday.

But, they were all in a complain-y mood over the two questions on the online activity, so they were being sourpusses and didn’t want to play the funny question game.  One student in particular who went up there got a question about dressing up for Halloween and he gave every excuse as to why he couldn’t answer the question.  I mean, he totally could have just made something up, described a friends costume, a costume that he would really like to do, etc.  But, instead he wanted to be a stick in the mud and take all the fun out of the game.

It was just one of those nights that takes all the wind out of your sails.  I have them every once in a while.  What do you do on days like that?  Are you good at hiding your annoyance?  I can’t imaging what teachers of crazy hormonal teenagers do in situations like this!

-Carla

(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

#4 for Day One

Hey there!  Welcome to the beginning of Fall semester 2012.  Oh, wait– you’re not one of my students.  Sorry, I’ve been in “first week mode.”  Let’s get right down to it, the winner of the poll was Outfit 4.  If you didn’t get a chance to cast your vote, so sorry, but the poll is now closed.  I, personally, thought that Outfit 2 was the best first day outfit, but majority rules.  Side note: My dad voted for Outfit 2.  He said Outfit 4 made me look 10 years older with the sweater.  Thanks, Dad.

So, after that “endorsement” of Outfit 4 I wasn’t entirely thrilled that it was the winner, but I felt that I would somehow be letting down the handful of you that voted if I didn’t follow through and make good on my end of the deal.

Blue cardigan: Target. Ruffled printed tank: Target. Dark khaki skirt: (thrifted.) Blue and gold earrings: Target. Shell bracelet: Jewelry Superstore. Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Nude pumps: Target.

It was a good outfit for the first day of class.  I am glad that I wore the cardigan because even though it was mild and sunny outside, inside my office it was freezing.  I even put on another lightweight jacket that I grabbed on my way out the door.  My classroom was a little warmer, but not by much.

I had a full class (20 students) on my roster, but I only had 16 attend the first day of class.  But, I am really excited.  Oddly, I have twice as many guys as I do women– which is an anomaly.  So far, from what I can tell, I have a good group of students and it is going to be a fun semester.  I am super-duper excited to be teaching on main campus– it is a dramatic change from the satellite centers– it was a hustlin’ and a bustlin’ Tuesday night!

I did also want to share my new school bag with you. I picked it up a while ago for a measly $10! (Actually, that was the price on the tag, but I feel like it was less than that.) Anyway. It is a professional looking faux-crocodile (?) bag. The only concern that I have is that it is smaller than my old bag and may not be able to fit everything else that I cart to school with me (water bottle, lunch, walking shoes, etc.). We will just have to see!

What do you think? For those of you that voted, are you happy with your choice? For those of you that didn’t have the chance to vote, what do you think? Does this outfit say “Young Professional” to you?
-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?