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

 

 

Hindsight

Friday morning I had planned to lecture on 3 chapters: delivery, evaluating, and language.  I don’t really know what I was thinking when I planned that, though.  After seeing the difficulty that my T/TR class  had with the evaluation forms I thought that I should make some adjustments so that my FRI class doesn’t have the same issues.

I used our college communication website to let my students know that we weren’t going to cover the chapter on language.  Instead, after we covered the delivery chapter and evaluation chapter I showed my students some more video examples of informative speeches and then I had them fill out the evaluation forms just like they will be doing next week.  I hope that I will see a world of difference with their evaluation forms over my T/TR class.

Magenta button up: J.C. Penney. Silver earrings: Target. Silver watch: Fossil. Black belt: Wal Mart. Denim colored trousers: Target. Black oxford style shoes: unknown.

I also handed out their assignment sheet for their demonstrative speech and the outline grading rubric.  I cleared up some of the confusion that my T/TR class had with their demonstrative speech topics by going over the 3 types of general purposes, and reminding them that most demonstrative speeches use the chronological pattern of organization, and that a central idea should include your main points.

My outfit isn’t going to win any awards for creativity, but I went to school with clothes on.  This is a simple outfit of a button up shirt and trouser pants.  Even the accessories are minimal– just a watch and some earrings.  I think some days need simplicity.  I don’t think that I’ve ever worn this exact outfit before, either.  I know that I have paired this shirt with black dress pants and black pointy toed heels, but that’s as close as I’ve come.  (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.)

I passed back their outlines and we talked about the next step in the process. My FRI class only has to deliver 3 speeches while my T/TR class does 4. I made this decision based on my experience with my Spring 2012 once a week class. But, I’ve got a great group of students and I think that they could have handled doing another speech.

Part of me feels like I am short-changing them by only having them do 3. I think the way to combat this is to find a lot of different speaking activities to help them gain more confidence in public speaking throughout the course.

Does anyone have any really good speaking assignments or idea’s that I might be able to adapt for my course? I’d love to hear your comments.
-Carla

2nd Day Informative Speeches: Fall

Thursday we continued with speeches since we didn’t get through very many of them on Tuesday.  I am trying not to freak out about it too much, but that puts us behind.  I thought that we would only have 3 speeches or so on Thursday, but we had 6 speeches to go.  That meant that the time I had planned to be lecturing over presentation aids was just not there.  We were able to start the chapter and go over the first key idea–what are the different types of presentation aids, but that is all.

Now I am in a difficult spot because I have my evaluator coming on Tuesday.  There is nothing that says that we can’t finish up chapter 10, have the quiz, and then begin chapter 8 on language.  But, Chapter 8 is kind of long and I found this really good 5 minute video clip that I think will really segue us into a discussion about language.  I guess I am just afraid that my students will complain about having a quiz over material that we didn’t discuss in class.  On one hand I kind of agree, but then on the other hand I think, it’s in the book, it’s fair game.

I’m also nervous about my evaluator coming on Tuesday because I am going to be absent on Thursday because of the bartender flair competition.  You are not supposed to cancel class– you get paid to be there and to teach.  But, it was short notice so I didn’t really have the opportunity to get a substitute.  And it’s review, so I’m not sure how much a substitute would help.  I guess I thought that the students would be happy, but I have a couple of them murmuring their complaints.  Ahhh, who knows.  I hope that it will work itself out.

Flowered cardigan: Old Navy. Purple silk tie neck blouse: J.C. Penney. Purple earrings: unknown. Purple bracelet: gift from dad. Silver watch: Fossil. Blue corduroys: Old Navy. Brown Oxford style shoes: unknown.

Long time readers of this blog know that on speech days I tend to dress a little more casual.  I’ve worn elements of this outfit together before, but to my knowledge I’ve never worn these exact three pieces together before.  It’s nothing all that fancy– just a shirt, cardigan, and some pants.  But, I went to school with clothes on and I followed all (one) of our dress code rules: no jeans.  So, it’s a win.

What do you think?  Do you think that this outfit is too casual?  Or, is it appropriate because I am sitting down evaluating speeches and not lecturing in the front of the room?
Also, I’d love to hear your thoughts about whether I should finish the chapter before giving the quiz, or just give them the quiz first thing? I am nervous about my evaluation because I want to do well and I’ve never met this person so I don’t know anything about him.
-Carla

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

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

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

(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