Tag Archives: teaching

Ferguson and shining a light

woman standing in front of bas relief sculptures with protest signs

A woman stands in Judiciary Square at the endpoint of the Justice for All March in Washington, DC.

 

Police-involved shooting.

That’s the term I see often now. It attempts an objective tone, a tone I tried to evoke with my classes following our first discussions of Ferguson and my recent post. I wanted to shine a light on this issue dwelling in our minds.

As I light the Hanukkah candles this week, I’m reminded how every light casts shadows. I have opinions and bias. And more observations. I want to follow up on those now.

Talking in class

In the week following the grand jury decision not to indict then-police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Ferguson resident Michael Brown, I talked to my students and tried to listen. I was impressed with their knowledge of the case. They had been following the news, not just Facebook rantings or snippets on CNN. Continue reading

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Filed under Blog, DC, Events, Jewish community, Teaching

I can haz perspective?

Photo: Paul Reynolds

Photo: Paul Reynolds

As a writer and college instructor, I can easily sink into my own world. Yet this past week, I’ve had the chance to see that world from the other side.

The writing sphere usually involves lightly stalking my subjects, asking questions, rejoicing when they respond, then writing and revising. Rinse and repeat.

For teaching, the routine is mostly to come up with activities and explorations that hopefully lead to learning and/or thinking. Rinse. Repeat. The rest of the time I make up assignments and criteria, hope students follow said criteria, and then check assignments and find that they sometimes do and sometimes don’t follow it. The success of that last item determines whether my hair remains intact or not.

So my trip to the point-of-view equivalent of Australia started last week when I discovered a student has quoted me in an article about farmers markets. I loved the experience of sitting in the interviewee chair, and then seeing what the interviewer chose to use.  It’s like one of those lolcats  suddenly faced with her own reflection.

Zowee! I can haz perspective? Continue reading

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Storm Preparedness for Professors

rainy night scene

I may not be wearing myself out reporting on storms, but as a new university instructor, I still feel the cold slap of wind and rain. And there is more at stake than a few ruined elbow patches and disrupted night cap schedules.  When my school shut down, I put my research skills to work, resulting in five tips to help you survive the rest of Hurricane Sandy — with your emerging reputation and sanity intact.

1. Survey fellow faculty members to determine best practices in the case of school shutdowns. A simple Facebook inquiry last night brought a long list of valuable suggestions for keeping your academic energy up. This was especially helpful for me as a rookie eager to keep momentum rolling.  For example, I learned that with just an Internet connection and a copy of your syllabus, you can both stream horror movies and protect your desk from the condensation on your Side Car.

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A day at the DC State Fair

Pies

Pies waiting to be judged at the DC State Fair. By Rhea.

This past Saturday, I went to the DC State Fair. As one of the organizers. I have never had a hand in such a big, frenetic event. I now have greater respect for:

  • Festival and fair organizers
  • Conference organizers
  • Rally, demonstration, and march organizers
  • My first-year students

First-year students? Yes. I had been baffled by their confusion as I taught classes this semester, but now I understand that combination of prismed attention and heart-pounding possibility in which they swim. That feeling like a bakery rack so full of goodies it threatens to tip over.

It was a day to run in all directions at once, to socialize with more friends in six hours than I’ve been able to meet up with in months, and to feel thrilling things abuzz. In short, it was a day at the fair. From inside the fair.

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