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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Oxblood and Speeches: Fall

Well, Hello there, October.  Can I just say that I am glad that it is October?  For most of the month of September, I thought that it was October.  I kept seeing dates that were 10/whatever and I was thinking that I either had something coming up or had missed an important meeting or event.  And, not to mention that September is a hard word for me to type fast.  I misspell it, a lot.

Tuesday my students delivered their first set of speeches.  I was so excited and anxious to hear them– I really had some high hopes.  But, as soon as the first student started I was reminded that these are beginning speakers and this is their first time.  The mistakes were plentiful.  I wouldn’t be so upset by it if it wasn’t things that we had covered and discussed.  They have a time frame of 5-6 minutes and the first student talked for over 11 minutes.  I have never had that happen.  I had decided that at 15 minutes I was going to stop him.  Luckily, he stopped himself.  This, and their uncertainty about what to do as the speaker and how to fill out the evaluation forms quickly negated my excitement.

I have to remind myself of all the things that they did well and remember that it is their first time.  So, let’s take a positive approach.  First, all 5 of the speaker’s that went on Tuesday made it through their entire speech without fainting or having a heart attack.  Secondly, many of them voluntarily dressed up and used presentation aids– which wasn’t required, so technically they were going above and beyond.  Third, all of them had their note cards and revised outlines.

I know that the speeches that the remaining students deliver today will be much stronger because they got to see their peers go and they can learn from their mistakes.  Sometimes, I just have to remind myself that no one is perfect and the reason why they are taking this class is to become better public speakers.

Black cardigan: Target. Printed ruffled tank (black): Target. Sunglasses: unknown. Red earrings: unknown. Black and red bracelet: gift from sister. Pandora bracelet: gift(s). Red leather bracelet: souvenir from Niagara Falls. Oxblood cropped pants: J.C. Penney. Black pointy-toed shoes: Shoe Carnival. Silver watch: Fossil.

Plus, I am just feeling stressed out because I got behind on my schoolwork– grading, preparing handouts to go to the printer’s, and prepping for lectures.  And, one week from today I have the regional bartender flair competition that I will be competing in.  And, (of course) one of the full-time teachers in my department is coming to do my annual teaching evaluation next Tuesday.  So, I have a lot on my plate.

On Sunday, which was date night with the BF, we went on a short shopping trip.  Last week we washed laundry and some mysterious red substance ended up ruining several of our clothing items.  Some of them were saved after a $75 dry-cleaning bill, but others were not salvageable.  I felt bad that my BF lost two dress shirts, so I wanted to go to J.C. Penney to see what they had on sale.  I scored big time and we found two dress shirts for him–one with a tie, on clearance for a total of $15!  I also bought myself something while we were there.  I was telling my BF that I wanted a pair of cropped pants and I was blabbering about oxblood being the “it” color for Fall.   And then we came across these pants.  He was a little unsure of them, but I knew that they were winners.

I liked these pants and was excited to wear my new ruffled printed tank top that I purchased from Target a while back.  At the time I didn’t have burgundy pants so I had planned on wearing them with black pants and a royal blue cardigan or a magenta button-up shirt.  But, once I added these pants to my wardrobe I saw an entirely different option for this tank top.

What do you think? Do you find yourself following certain trends? Did you go crazy for orange this Spring/Summer because of Pantone?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

-Carla

Friday Duplicates

Sometimes I come up with multiple styling options for one piece of clothing.  It’s a fun rainy day activity to take a piece of clothing and see how you can manipulate it to work in different outfits.  Can you tuck it in to make it look and feel different?  Can you wear it in a different type of outfit than it is intended–work wear, casual, day vs night, etc.  But sometimes this works against me!

I have so many ways to wear one piece of clothing that it is all that I want to do– wear my new creations.  But, I can’t do that.  People frown upon the idea of wearing the same piece of clothing everyday.  I can get away with wearing the same outfit or piece of clothing twice in close proximity if I know that I am not going to see the same people, but other than that it’s a no go.  People will think that you don’t wash your clothes.  And then they will think that you are gross and make up mean nicknames behind your back.

And let’s face it, I have an entire closet full of clothes so I don’t need to be wearing the same item over and over again.  That’s the story behind this dress.  The last time that I wore it I brainstormed two or three additional ways to wear it for the upcoming Fall/Winter season.  And I’ve practically been counting the days until I could wear it again.  I thought that I wore this dress on a tuesday/thursday but I just figured out that I wore it on a friday!  It’s a good thing that I waited three weeks before wearing it again.  (I told you that I was having a rough week.)

Jean jacket: Wal-Mart. Feather earrings: Charlotte Russe.(?) Black flowered dress: Target. Black v-neck shirt: Target. Bubble necklace: E-bay. Brown belt: (thrifted.) Green socks: Target. Brown boots: Old Navy.

I really liked this outfit, but the dress felt short.  I don’t know if it was because I had bare legs (except for the socks), or what. I thought about wearing my bubble necklace– I even took half of my pictures with it on, but it didn’t read the way that I wanted it to.  I thought that the necklace would match the green in the dress and the green socks a little better, but they were two far off in my opinion to look right.  So, I went without the necklace this time around.  I’ll have to come up with a different outfit to wear my bubble necklace.

My Friday class is behind my T/TR class in some things, and ahead of them in others.  It mostly has to do with the number of speeches and requirements that dictate what chapters we cover and when.  In my Friday class we talked about introductions and conclusions and presentation aids.  It’s a requirement for my Friday class that they have a presentation for their first speech but not for my T/TR class.  I also duplicated the funny question game in this class, as well.  They were a little bit more receptive to it, thankfully.

Now that the week is done, I have a stack of outlines to grade, a handful of quizzes, lecture to prepare, and items to prepare for the printer’s.  Oh yeah, and working at my other job most of the weekend.  Ahh, I must remind myself that I am grateful and blessed to have two jobs– especially when some people don’t even have one.

-Carla

Professional or Waiter?

Friday morning I wore the “super-duper” professional outfit that I had planned to wear on Thursday, but didn’t.  I wanted to wear something that looked nice, but that was also comfortable.  And, to be honest, I didn’t shave my legs so pants was a good option.

Class was good; we covered the chapter on organizational strategies and informative speaking.  My Friday class is just now getting to this chapter.  I covered it earlier in the semester in my T/TR class, which I think made a little more sense, but hindsight is always 20/20.  For my Friday class, it ended up being a nice review.  Some of the things in the chapter they knew and were spot on, but then there were a few things that had slipped their mind.  So, all in all, it was good.

Blue button-up: J.C. Penney. Pearl drop earrings: J.C. Penney. Black vest: unknown. Black dress pants: J.C. Penney.  3 Strand pearl bracelet: Elder Beerman.  Silver Watch: Fossil. Pandora bracelet and charms: Gifts. Black reversible belt: Wal-Mart. Gray and black shoes: Payless.

After my students took their quiz over last weeks chapters and I lectured over the two chapters for this week, we had a little bit of time left.  I was able to show them some video examples of informative speeches.  I was glad that I was able to do this because next week we have 3 chapters on the syllabus to go over and I am pretty certain that there won’t be any time left to spare.  For my T/TR class, however, we will be watching video examples on Tuesday since we only have one chapter to cover.

It’s a little difficult having a different schedule for each class, but when I was planning the syllabus there were reasons why I chose to have different schedules.  I am pleasantly surprised that my Friday class is doing so well.  During the Spring semester my Friday class struggled a lot with the material.  That is the driving force behind the reasons why there are a different number of speeches in my Friday class and my T/TR class.  But, this group of students is on the ball and seem to be taking the time to read the chapters and do their homework.  Only time will tell.

What do you think? Do you like this outfit? Does it say professional or waiter to you? I also debated with the shoes. Originally, I had planned this outfit in my head with my black booties, but then I thought about my black oxford-esque shoes. Ultimately, I chose these gray and black shoes because the heel height was right and I thought they looked nice.
Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
-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

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