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Archive for February, 2011

Difficult Students=Difficult Days

February 22nd, 2011 at 07:40 pm

Yes, it's been a difficult couple of days. I've had a couple of plagiarism problems in my evening class, and last night I had to talk to the students involved.

One problem was with a married couple who turned in identical homework responses. They know this isn't acceptable, and I e-mailed them to tell them they were getting zeroes for the assignment. Last night the woman of the couple completely snubbed me. She passed me in the hall before class and gave me her best insolent face, not responding at all to my greeting. After class the guy came up and apologized while she stood out in the hall steaming. It was very odd.

Another student copied his entire paper (these are working adults) from a website, then DENIED it. I showed him the website and the paper together,yet unbelievably he insisted it was a coincidence that his paper and the website were identical.

Tracking all this down, printing it out, and comparing the documents took me hours. I was tired, cranky, and left school to another snowstorm. My 20-minute ride home took over an hour. Teaching is such a rewarding profession.

My class today was better, but I'm still a little dejected.

A Wacky Week in Wisconsin

February 18th, 2011 at 04:14 pm

As I'm sure many of you have seen, it's been a tumultuous week in Wisconsin. I hope it's offered some valuable lessons to my students who think everything is about money. Indeed as an SA devotee, I think about money a lot, but I hope I think about value more than just money. Indeed as I spend my day grading on-line papers, I want/need to think even more about it.

Although tumultuous, it's been a cheap week. I'm determined to eat a lot of what's been in our pantry and freezer. I've eaten all my (late) lunches at home or out of my work bag. Last night I made stuffed shells, bringing a pan of them to my colleague with the ill child. We enjoyed them too. I also managed to mix up a box of Williams Sonoma Cookies and Cream pound cake mix I got for a gift. It was fine--not all that spectacular, but DH enjoyed it.

DD is having "Hibernation Day" at her school. She's been looking forward to the nature talks and bringing her sleeping bag into her classroom.

Good weekends to you all!

Feeling a bit better today

February 17th, 2011 at 04:03 am

I see all our protesters against our governor's budget have made the national news today. I teach all day on Wednesdays or I would've gone to Madison with them. But classes went well today, the snow is melting (though I know it will be back,) and (wowee) I made it to double coupon day during DD's dance class.
Usually I just sit and grade papers while she's dancing, but the store is close, and I had great coupons that needed to be used today.

That's part of my boring strategy for dealing with the loss in income that I feel is probably inevitable with this "budget repair bill." (I wish I could repair my budget like that.) I'm going to the grocers both double coupon days, splitting our weekly shopping into two. The big local chain demands a $25 minimum when they double the coupons twice a week. Today I hit $25.25 and saved $10 with the coupons.

So, I had a big glass of wine with my spaghetti tonight and am trying to pull myself out of this funk. Only one nasty issue today--two students who turned in exactly (down to the misspellings) the same question responses.

I hope to make some progress of decluttering and other home stuff in the next few days. But more paper grading tonight and an early night.

Long Day

February 15th, 2011 at 05:13 am

It's the end of a very long teaching day. The good news is that with have to cope with the decreasing salary, at least the only money I spent all day was on coffee from (ugh) the machine at my evening class.

It's also been much warmer and melting here, so that lifts the spirits. I'm a little overwhelmed with how much I need to do to be caught up with my grading and housework, but I'm turning in and will face it all tomorrow.

DH brought a lovely bouquet of flowers home, so although it's been a long day, it hasn't been so bad.
It helped that my evening class was all on board with out discussion tonight, and several of them nominated me for an outstanding teacher award. Curiously, it was the students I find the most difficult.
Who knew they were actually getting it?

Not Gruntled at all

February 13th, 2011 at 10:28 pm

That is to say--disgruntled. I love my job, I truly do, but the current situation in my state is making it hard to like it very much. As I've blogged before, the state cutbacks mean at least a 10--and more like a 15% paycut. That alone makes me uneasy, but worse than that is the rhetoric coming out of the governor's office that threatens protesters against the governor's attempt to eliminate various kinds of collective bargaining with the National Guard. Gee Guv, we teach your children. Is this a reasonable way to talk to us? There are all sorts of ads running about how overpaid state employees are fostering a climate of distrust and disrespect that I find tremendously unhealthy. I know what I make, I know how much I work, and if I'm indeed overpaid, it's news to me.

I'll likely be in a sulk for several days, but I'm spending Sunday afternoon as I usually do: working.

Some of the Bad State Budget News

February 11th, 2011 at 09:42 pm

I've done a preliminary calculation of what the state budgets cuts to the university system are going to cost me. It's somewhere in the very bad neighborhood of $3000. I know we'll be fine, but I was kind of hoping to quit my extra class in the evenings. I'm wiped the next day and could use the break. But with $3000 less, I doubt it will happen. Now to try to brainstorm about not-so-painful ways to save $3000.

Not in the best of possible moods....

I've Gone Red

February 11th, 2011 at 03:52 am

I've gone red, and not just for valentine's Day. I got the Target Red card today, and I'm feeling really glad about it. We spend at least $100/month at Target. We own Target stock. I love Target, despite its sometimes flaws.

As I blogged yesterday, I volunteered to do the Target shop for a colleague with a seriously ill child. They're overloaded and overwhelmed, and another colleague has set up a site through "Lotsa Helping Hands" to organize volunteering. I cleaned a few weeks ago and will make dinner soon, but I needed to go to Target and this seemed like a double-duty opportunity.

Unlike yesterday's bad grocery shopping trip, today's Target shop was one of those rare experiences where everything seemed to go right. I had manufacturers' coupons, Target coupons, rebates, etc. I remembered to get TurboTax, everything was in stock, most of my list was on sale; it was fabulous. We spent about $100/each so saved $10 total with the red card, plus got exceptionally good buys on most everything.

I'm a walking advert for Target today.

Bad News Awaits

February 10th, 2011 at 05:02 am

Lots of rumblings from our deans about the state-university system budget cuts coming our way. The great rumor mill says at least 10 percent and perhaps significantly more from all salaries. Part of me wants to scream, another to throw up, but our budget is not that tight, and we'll be fine. I'll weigh in with the complete details when I know them.

It doesn't make me a nicer teacher, particularly with the bad students. It's Week Three of the spring semester, and today alone I had to call out three students for texting in class.
But maybe that is being a better teacher, because that behavior has got to stop.

On a different note, I'm part of a group that is helping colleagues with a seriously ill child handle household chores, dinner, and shopping. My task for the week is to go to Target with their list. I love Target anyway, and I've found them some great Target printable coupons (they're not coupon people at all) so I may finally get my Red card to save them and us some more cash.

On a more annoying note, I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and found the pork tenderloins I wanted on sale. Yet they rang up at double the marked price. I pointed it out to the checker, he looked at me blankly and said, "What do you want to do?" What kind of a comment is that? I told him I wanted him to give me the marked sale price. Looking minorly miffed, he re-rang it. Yikes.

Too Cold to Park and Walk

February 8th, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Usually I park six or so blocks from my classroom and walk. It's free, and I need the exercise. But with my bronchial coughing and below zero wind chills, I've treated myself to indoor parking. And I probably will till the temps get better on Thursday.

How many days till spring?
What a winter!

Just Another Manic Monday

February 7th, 2011 at 09:30 pm

As I might have predicted, there were plenty of absent students this morning. The stories they tell about their behavior and that of their friends during the Super Bowl makes me glad to be old and off the roads.

Yesterday's snow caused havoc with DD's school bus this morning, and I was almost late to school myself. And please don't ask how I lost my keys. All of this led to some unnecessary spending today as I had to park in the ramp or be late for school. But all's well, just $6 poorer!

Will turnout be better in my evening class?

But people are indeed happy in Cheeseland!

It's funny here in Cheeseland

February 6th, 2011 at 04:58 am

I stopped at the grocery store yesterday, and everything you can possibly imagine tinted green and gold was indeed tinted green and gold: cookies, breads, chips, dips--there are special green and gold pepper packages, fruit trays--It's a little scary.

I stopped in again today (poor planning!) and it's almost all gone. Local stores are closing down for the game and even people who've never watched a football game all the way through are excited. News stations are showing scenes from bakeries featuring doughnuts with green and gold sprinkles. Maybe it's the long winter, but it's very funny.

I HATE to think about what it will be like at school on Monday if the Packers lose....

Just Flowers

February 4th, 2011 at 09:20 pm

And aren't flowers the best non-fattening perk-up in February? I went with my boss to visit a colleague at the hospital today. I hope the flowers help her a little. She's seriously ill, and it was very sad to see her.

I've spent the rest of the decluttering and listing some things on ebay.
I think I'll cross-list them on Craigslist too--mostly my mom's odd bits of china.

You can certainly tell it's Super Bowl time here in Cheeseland. Even the Brit DH has football fever.

Not much planned for the weekend except football and household stuff. Too cold for much else anyway!

February Continues!

February 3rd, 2011 at 09:21 pm

I understand why Valentine's Day is in February. If it stays this cold and snowy, I'll be digging into the chocolate every day.

I had a short day of teaching today and came home to actually get on the treadmill. I'm very pleased with actually doing it instead of thinking about it. DD had a half day at school so we're going to cook up something good tonight. Because there was NO parking anywhere near campus because of the snow today, I went early and paid to park in the ramp. But I didn't buy coffee (awful)to offset the small expense,

How many days till spring?

Howling and Thunder Snow

February 2nd, 2011 at 05:25 pm

But the storm seems to have passed. I stayed up and graded papers because I just had to watch the storm. We indeed had thunder and lightning, but we're all home and everything closed up for the day. DH has made his rounds with the snow blower, and we're all clear now although the snow was over the dog's head. I think we've had about 18" of snow.

Glad we're safe and sound, and happy to stay indoors for today!

About to start a big pot of something to simmer on the stove. I become so domestic in this weather.

Good luck to the rest of you affected by this!

Can It Possibly Live up to the Hype?

February 1st, 2011 at 07:37 pm

The grocery stores are jammed, the gas stations are backed up, even the library was crazy. Can this storm live up to its hype as "The storm of the century"? Of course the century isn't that old right now.

I changed my office hours and came home early. The university is closing at 4 and will not be open tomorrow. I hope all three of us are home relaxing and playing board games tomorrow.

I got a big check from my evening class institution because of lots of final projects in December, so I dropped that off on the way home. Must spend some of this snow time working on the finances. Must spend some of it sleeping in!

Good Luck to everyone with the storm in their path!