ifeelbetter: (H50 - Danny's face)
I do love my roomies, heaps and oodles, but one of them is a Boy (in the most boy-ish sense of the word) and he just interrupted my conversation with another roommate about how much my students' papers are Not Fun to grade to tell me how to teach.

I mean. WHAT.

I get that outsiders don't understand how frustrating it is to grade heaps of awful papers, especially not when they never cared about essays or writing in the first place. I get that it's hard to comprehend how horrible a batch of identically wretched papers can be. I do. And if I can bother to understand all that, don't you think you could put some effort into figuring out why, with my actual!fact experience, I might be justified in having my actual!fact reaction?

He actually said, "You're so condescending to your students." You've never seen me with my students, fool. You see me blow off steam at home because I already know that that kind of negativity won't help the students get better because I am already a teacher.

Sorry. Just needed a quick vent.

My roommate is actually a very lovely boy most of the times. And he is a bit of a fish out of water in this house of girls who are all strongly connected to the local university, what with him being a programmer (so an actual 9-to-5 job) and incredibly young (like five years younger than the rest of us) and a boy (incurable, I've heard). I usually have patience with him assuming he's right all the time because, yeah, that will pass. But. This is my career. You don't hear me telling him what kind of programmer he is.

AND THEN. To apologize, he just said, "This conversation doesn't even matter to me. I feel like you're insulted by something I said and I didn't intend that."

ifeelbetter: (Dr Smash!)
A shout out to my fellow teachers out there--do you guys get the same heady mix of euphoria and despair when you have, like, only two assignments left and everything else is filled in on your excel spreadsheet for the semester? Like....I know this means I have a whole other batch or two to grade....and that sucks...but I'm so close.

ALSO. Watching SGA while I grade, yeah, and there was just a scene where Shepperd almost flew a kamikaze mission into the control tower and Rodney was obviously, like, "i love you bestest of all the people in all the universes" but John was all like, "I am unconcerned with your massive feelings and, as always, super excited about maybe dying" and Rodney made a face that was heartbreaking. Michael is sort of old hat by this point--though I totally dig his desperation for Teyla's approval and the fact that she Kicks So Much Ass--but that moment made this whole episode.

And then it turned out John didn't have to run the kamikaze mission and somehow in like two seconds flat Rodney was in charge of flying the puddlejumper in a probably-not-suicidal way. And you can just see on Rodney's face that he's uncomfortable because this is a thing John was totally sort of thrilled about dying in a second ago and Rodney doesn't like things that John's so comfortable about dying in and...GOD. RODNEY MAKES ME HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS.

[EDIT: Then I watched the Bill Nye and co. episode and GOD DAVID HEWLETT YOUR FACE I CAN'T GRAMMAR PROPERLY WHEN YOU MAKE THAT FACE. But also: I am confused by why show has super-imposed Jennifer on Shepperd. Cuz that's Shepperd!face he's making, no doubt.]

[EDIT II, RETURN OF EDIT: Is there fic out there with Shepperd accompanying Rodney to the physics thing instead of Keller?]
ifeelbetter: (Default)
Yay! Done with the latest batch of grading!

My roommates this year are awesome enough that we can actually host events here in chez nous. We did for Halloween and last night we did a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner (the kind without the family). It went brilliantly despite the fact that none of know anything at all about turkeys, roasting, or carving.

Photos under the cut.... )

And there are so many films I am excited about coming out in the next few months.

Further proof that I am best suited to be a film reviewer, not an English grad student, under the cut... )

In other news: after fixing the toilet for the umpteenth time, I have decided I have a future in plumbing if this whole English professor deal falls through.
ifeelbetter: (H50 - Danny's face)
So I have this long-term fantasy about teaching. I imagine that one day---one beautiful, shining day--there's a student who, when unsatisfied with the grade given them, decides to come up with a logical argument for why they deserve the higher grade rather than just tell me how much they want to get a better grade. Everybody wants a better grade, fella. That's why they're better. Prove to me that you've absorbed my argumentation skills enough to warrant a grade change and I'll change the freaking grade. But no one gets better stuff just by wishing.

Basically, my dream is to have Cher as a student:

I'm not even joking, which is the sad part. I would completely dig having her in my classroom.

Also: I tend to post the more ridiculous quotes from students on facebook. And a girl I knew in college actually had the stones to comment that (and this is a direct quote), "my students' feelings might get hurt." (a) Every teacher knows you keep your privacy settings on par with the Pentagon, yeah? (b) I never say a name and (c) I am contractually obligated to read drivel. I am not contractually obligated to be tortured silently. The best teachers I have ever known are the ones with a sense of humor and the ability to blow off steam elsewhere. No one could read this much drek in a row without doing something vent-y and this is mine. It hurts no one and it helps me enormously.

So. That's my rage.

ifeelbetter: (Default)
The things that make me happy!face right now:
1) Just finished the batch of papers that was making my life heavy and horrid for weeeeks. And that was the longest paper of the semester over-and-done-with so it's all downhill from here!

2) Also revised my pre-prospectus (and finally read my advisor's comments which were shockingly un-negative) and gave it back to her to check over before I hand it in

but mostly

3) MY DAD IS IN TOWN VISITING ME. He called me from the hotel he checked into to tell me he's here--which is all sorts of warm-fuzzifying on its own--and to repeat a quotation he thought I would like: "Taste is in the eye of the beholder."


I am now so excited for the next two days chilling with him, I don't even know if I have a sufficient grasp on synonyms for "excited" to fully express it.
ifeelbetter: (Default)
This is the latest installment in How Is That Bromance Class Going, Anyway? for those who are interested. Last episode, we were making the transition between the philosophizing and homo-eroticism of the idea of male camaraderie into a discussion of women, feminism, and how female friendships compare/contrast with all the male-dominated ones.

So I gave them this article by Jennifer Scanlon called "If My Husband Calls I'm Not Here": The Beauty Parlor as Real and Representational Female Space. I also gave them an assignment that should have been familiar since we've done similar things throughout the semester: they had to go find some instance of fashion in the "real world" and bring it into class for a quick close-reading. These presentations/close-readings were supposed to be 2-3 minutes MAX.

It was brilliant. It went EPICALLY over the time but it was so brilliant. The boys who caused a minor ruckus--a planned, calculated, ultimately productive quasi-misogynist ruckus--a week or so ago are still grappling with how "silly" fashion is and how "silly" women are for caring about it, right, BUT. These two boys--oh, this was brilliant--they each thought of presenting their own sneakers for their item of fashion. And they were competing brands of sneaker. The boys actually acted out--without any prompting from me--how heated and contentious fashion can be for men as well, even men who had already identified fashion as "silly" and "just for girls."

ANDANDAND. This anecdote completely got away from me in my enthusiasm... )

In short: I sometimes have glorious days teaching. I sometimes have these moments when I look at a student and I think to myself, "Yeah. I'd leave a planet to you, no problem."

To prevent this entry (and me) from seeming overly optimistic, I should conclude with this lovely piece of literary criticism from the same group of students:
Taking the violence against women one step further, and much more literally, it is easy to see how Eminem and Dr. Dre approach the line of homosexuality.

Ah. Right. Life is awful sometimes, too, and students can be the worst humanity has to offer as often as they can be the best. I almost forgot.

UGH papers

Mar. 18th, 2011 08:04 pm
ifeelbetter: (Dr Who - Angry Donna)
So--to be clear--I love teaching. I love teaching to the "whoa" degree that Mya once described in song. I love students: I love student who make epiphany!face in the middle of class, I love students who finally understand that questioning authority includes questioning me and then do it well, I love students who ask adorable things like, "but I can be a feminist even though I'm a guy, right?" and I love students who think--just think in general, in a non-specific way.

But I hate grading. I hate grading with the fury-ful intensity of a thousand suns. If I could, I would make grading robots do all that work so I could go back to pretending that students (a) care and (b) learn sometimes. Ignorance is bliss, you know, and I can't very well maintain that kind of ignorance when they are making me stare their pissiness in the face.

What is worst about grading (I think) is the Sisyphus part. You've spent hours and hours and hours correcting and carefully phrasing your criticism--and then they hand you the same damn bullshit in the next paper. I wish I had a dunk-em option. It would go like this: if their paper has the same mistake from last time, they get dunked in a vat of saltwater. Like, no matter where they are or what they're doing--when I read the sentence where they use to wrong format for citation despite the fact I marked it throughout the essay and in the end comment last time, they suddenly fall into a vat of saltwater. And then it happens again for every subsequent bad citation. I don't know if would be pedagogically useful per se, but it sure would improve my grading experience.

Or maybe I could just get a red button--like, one of those giant things they have in game shows--that I could slam forcefully every time they are appalling in writing and the lady would suddenly appear at their side and say, "You are....theweakestlink." That would also improve my grading experience.

I have provided visual accompaniment to this rage-filled flight of fancy:

In case it was unclear...that's "scream [is greater than] mouth capacity"
ifeelbetter: (Default)
"In a past century that was known for two world wars, and a standoff between two super powers, there was another stabilizing factor: The Beatles."

"As society has advanced it has been able to place definitions on almost everything: laws, customs, even slang; but more spiritual ideas like marriage, relationships and friendships haven't found a stable definition."

There are only so many euphemisms I can think of for "What the fuck are you ON, dumbass?"

It's gonna be a looooong semester.
ifeelbetter: (Default)
I just got back the evaluations from the students. There were some lovely comments--one student said they looked forward to coming to class each week, another said they pay more attention to details now--but there were a couple of really nasty ones.

One in particular...said I was "to cryptic in explaining college writing" which--so you can't spell "too." My feelings are not so hurt that you were lost. If you had felt all warm and swaddled by my class, I would be doing it wrong. So.

Ha. I talk the big talk and all...but I still am feeling a bit deflated by the whole deal. I mean, it's not surprising. I knew for ages that I had a couple of ornery students. And I tried to stem the tide of them believing me commenting on their rough drafts would be a magical cure-all--it wouldn't be. It would just mean ten times the work for me. So I could have told you every negative thing that turned up beforehand...it still smarts.

So I'll just be over here. In my corner. Licking my wounds.
ifeelbetter: (Default)
I know a lot of people who routinely take two weeks to get a batch of papers back to students. Usually I do it in four days. It's the first time I've taken so long with a batch...and it's not like they need them back soon, anyway. That was their last academic assignment of the semester for me. They only have creative final projects left.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

PS - Students can sometimes be so adorable I want to bottle them up and snuggle them on dreary days. These creative final projects? I set no limitations, made no restrictions--they have to pitch their idea of what is reasonable to me and whether I agree or not is determined by their ability to convince. Life skills all around, right? And this one boy--who makes "duuuuuuh"-face all the time--just pitched the 36 page spy thriller he's been writing all semester and wanted to know whether he should make it longer. I would have taken 5 pages. No joke. And another kid is writing a score to a silent film version of Sherlock Holmes from 1924. And another kid is doing a fashion shoot...and another is doing performance art. I love students today.

PPS - I will keep you appraised buuuuut....one of the students is writing a kids book about the contents of the fridge trying to figure out who will be eaten for dinner. And the ketchup bottle is the detective. I bet you love my students now, too, don't you?

[edit/PPPS - I have a rule that I can only have one burger a week. You might think that's crazy--why, you might ask, do you need to have a rule like that? Do you find it that hard not to eat more than one burger in a week? Yes, internetters, I do. I find it that hard. And the one-burger-a-week rule is a vast improvement over what the rule was when it started back in first year during the first paper/finals season...then it was no-more-than-one-burger-a-day. And that was hard at first. But YES so I have this rule. And I wasted my one burger this week on bad delivery burger because grading papers sucks my brain out through my nose--that's what it feels like, OK--and I needed comfort food STAT. But it wasn't nice. And now I am burgerless until next week. Here endeth my tale of woe.]
ifeelbetter: (Default)
I made the new rule for myself--(this is a thing I do, bee-tee-dubs, this making absurd rules for myself. I was raised by hippies and I tend to get all angry-teen when other people make rules for me but I seem to adore doing it to myself)--that I wouldn't grade more than three papers in a day. It seems best for everyone. This way, I don't ever work up the anger to fail someone for stupid shit (I was this close to failing someone for douchiness which, let's face it, is not an exact science) and they don't make my eyeballs melt out of my skull. Everyone leaves...undead. So that's nice.

Except, of course, it means the whole process has dragged out for a week now. That, and there's been this scholar visiting my department who is so cool and smart and I already have a bad habit of saying and doing absurd things around people I admire (I once told a professor that the incoming class was "large and doesn't drink coffee" which...dubiously true and sooo weird) .... so I have been one awkward comment shy of absurd for days.

So. This means--now that the lady has gone and I managed to maintain a veneer of adulthood for the duration of her visit and the papers are nearly graded--I can breathe.

Oh wait. There's still my orals to think of.

It's time for some Firefly and no mistake.

There's going to have to be a tangent soon about why Bones and Glee are shows that have broken my heart and pushed me to the brink of swearing off Fox as a network. I have thoughts and someone started me on the topic over lunch today.
ifeelbetter: (Default)
I have a new system for grading papers. It's very new. It's totally genius.

OK, that was all a lie. I have 18 7-page papers about genre theory (but they are freshmen and annoying so they're just writing things like "oh look--there are detectives in all these stories! isn't that a funny coincidence...did I need a thesis? WHOOPS") ... and then someone sent me this LOVELY MORSEL:

My brother-in-law (married to my sister and they are BOTH getting PhDs in English Lit) saw this and had a different reaction from me and my sister--we both bought pints of chocolate ice cream and had nightmares--but he said (no joke), "HALF of grad students get tenure-track job? AWESOME" without ANY irony AT ALL.

I am so filled with minor irritations today that I am straying dangerously close to Bernard Black territory...I have started to feel like my rules for essays and Bernard's for his store are absurdly alike.

And now...in case you're beginning to feel as depressed as I am...HAVE A SLEEPY BUNNY. IT WILL MAKE EVERYTHING MAGICALLY BETTER.
ifeelbetter: (Default)
I don't know how many other English grad students are out there but GUYS. There's going to be a CONFERENCE ON ADAPTATIONS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES. I think my little Victorianist heart just exploded. Now I just need to figure out a paper that would get me in...I only have one paper on detective fiction right now and it's more about physiognomy/Darwin and the genre as a whole than Sherlock. And I SO want to go a conference on Sherlock.

PS -- Still at the conference but am now grading papers in a coffee shop. I make unhappy faces at my undergrads.
ifeelbetter: (Default)
So I like, totally and unabasedly love my undergrads. I get all heart!eyes at them all the time when they say clever things or even not-so-clever things that show signs of maybe clever things happening in their heads. I mean. I am a little ridiculous about them.

And, right, so my reading material for this course is all detectives and stuuuufff and there's nothing like my deep and abiding love of Watso--*cough* Sherlock Holmes. So. That is also quite rawk.

The PROBLEM, of course (who didn't see this coming??), is the craptacularness of their writing. This has always been true for me and, luckily, does not interfere with my Teacher Love. That, I think, is my actual philosophy on teaching. I am about to be asked to articulate my philosophy on teaching in my hippy-dippy teaching "circle" (it's a class, OK, call a spade a fucking spade) tomorrow and I may just wax poetic on Teacher Love.

GOD. It is SAD and WEIRD how much I model my teaching self on a skeevy-free Hector and fluffier Irwine. WHO, in their right mind, uses History Boys as a life lesson. I ask you.

Their sucktastic writing has made my head hurt. Also. I don't know why they have such massive loathing for Dupin. I mean. He's a bit snooty but...Holmes isn't?? Since when?

SUCH a load of awful. The closest-to-being-decent paper in the lot compared Dupin to a peacock who had to ruffle his luxurious feathers in the narrator's face. I mean. I don't even know what that means.


ifeelbetter: (Default)

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