End of Semester Grumble

Yep – it’s almost here. The end of the semester and the time when students go into blitz-mode and professors want to head for the hills.

This semester has brought some particularly irritating issues to my teaching forefront and now I’m going to tell you about them.

Following Directions

What I really mean is not following directions. I understand that it’s different strokes for different folks in terms of learning styles. However, I am amazed at how some students appear to completely ignore assignment guidelines, which most students seem to follow quite well. It is fascinating to see what the errant students concoct, but since mine is not a creative writing class, their submissions are definitely off the mark. I tell them to reread the guidelines, then come back and tell me what how to fix the error.  I then give them a chance to redo the assignment for partial credit. Phew – more work for me, good teachable learning moment for them.

Ignoring Format Rules

Mine is a business writing course. One of the key premises in business these days is: You are what you write. This means not just excellent grammar skills, but producing professional looking messages, too. Why this, you may ask? Simply put – most communication in business is based in text: email, text messaging, letters, etc. So, when a student produces a formal letter for an assignment that is anything but formal looking – despite in-class instruction and readily-available examples – I want to scream! No teachable learning moments for these folks.

Forgetting Capitalization Rules

This drives me absolutely crazy! Some students refuse to use proper capitalization and it makes their work grade school caliber.  Texting is a big culprit behind those students who insist on using lower case letters for everything (even their teacher’s name)! At least these folks are consistent, but infuriating since the practice keeps up despite repeated teaching moment discussions. On the other hand, there are those students who use caps (and not) willy-nilly such as an address where the street name is capped but the word “street” is not.

By now I’m sure you are wishing that summer vacation would hurry itself along so I can put all my teachable moments aside and find another mission in my lecturing life.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

The Deliciousness of Earthy, Early Spring

It’s spring, or at least it’s supposed to be, and yesterday presented the first hint that spring might be on her way. I grabbed by rake, pruning sheers, wheelbarrow, and set about to clear the way for my just-this-past-fall-planted red tulips to easily emerge from under layers of leaves. While I worked, the sweet smell of fresh, newly-defrosted earth intoxicated me, as did the sweet symphony of spring birds newly returned from winter refuges.

These early spring days bring-to-mind two of my favorite poems from grade school days, poems that evoke all that is spring in a few simple words and images. Here they are and I hope they delight you as much as they do me each spring.

The Red Wheelbarrow
By William Carlos Williams  wheelbarrow

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And my second one is…

[in Just]
by E.E. Cummings

single-balloon-mdin Just-
spring         when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles      far      and wee

and eddieandbill com
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer

old balloonman whistles
far       and      wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it’s
spring
and

the

goat-footed

balloonMan      whistles
far
and
wee

Posted in Uncategorized

A Boy on the Bridge

Boy on the Bridge

Winter, cold; snow and ice
Coating roads, sidewalks
Morning rush hour
Cars speeding across the bridge
A boy, standing
On the wrong side
Near the edge
He looked at me
His brown eyes wide, whites showing.
I never saw eyes that wide
Wrong, this is all wrong.
This boy on the bridge
His eyes, pleading. I couldn’t stop,
I couldn’t.
911, 911, I called,
We’ll send out a car, she said.
A car.
But he’s just a boy, on the wrong side of the bridge. He’s on the edge.
Car, we’ll send one, don’t worry. Words designed to placate me.
Later I called …
The boy on the bridge …
We sent a car, no one was there. There was no boy.
There had been a boy on the bridge.
And four days later they found his body,
Under the bridge, in the water.
All because no one did their job.
And I shall remain forever haunted
By those wide brown eyes
That called to me
And I didn’t answer

Posted in Uncategorized

The Caper of the Coveted Octopus

IMG_0506Several posts ago I introduced our precious puppy-mill Mama, Finja. She has succeeded in quickly and permanently wrapping herself around our hearts. Just one of the myriad reasons for this is “her baby.” She came to us with her very own toy octopus which she carried around with her everywhere, its tentacles hanging out of her mouth. She became quite possessive over “her baby,” and I got to thinking that she must think it is indeed one of her babies from the litter she had after being bred at the unthinkable age of six months.

Well, as “sibling” rivalry will be, Finja’s “sister” Rosie decided she wanted a piece of the octopus pie – quite literally – and so she made it a mission to eviscerate it. This I discovered yesterday when I found great billows of white stuffing all over the living room and the remnants of one toy “squeaker.” And then I discovered the pathetic, deflated remains of octopus number one. (Hint)

Today I went to our nearby Country Max just to get two new octopuses – is it octopi?? What if they didn’t have two? I wondered anxiously. I was overjoyed to find two – and only two – octopi in the entire store.

When I got home, dogs being the wildly intelligent and sensitive creatures they are, my pack began circling and jumping on me with excitement. Their eyes bulged when they saw what I was removing from the packaging. Rosie lunged at her octopus while Finja took the more delicate, sniff-sniff approach, gently taking the new, pink and white stuffed creature into her mouth.

Now we are a household of three octopi, one semi-deceased and two new and sweet-smelling. The question is, how long will the other two stay new-ish and sweet smelling?

Posted in Uncategorized

The Little Standardbred Who Did

Buzzhy TeethHe is blind. He is wary, scared of anything that does not revolve in his orbit. This goes for simple things like a lazy ride in the park, or even hand-grazing in what is for him, another galaxy.

The blindness, though it seemed to erupt like a volcano, actually came on slowly. There was the constant tripping, the sudden predilection for spooking, the reluctance to ride into our normal and cherished places. Then, one day, he ran into a wall hard and fast, and it was clear that he could not see.

He has now adjusted, thanks to the patient and devoted care of our Barn Mom.  But there are changes. I can no longer just walk up and start petting him. When I groom him, I have to keep a hand on him as I move from one part of his body to another. We have to show him where his grain and hay are.  And I remain anxious that I won’t give him the cues he needs to stay on course and be confident.

But Buzzy is still Buzzy, and I am still me, and together we have 17 years of priceless memories:

  • Riding through the woods on snow-sparkling winter days
  • Riding on trails draped in maroons, oranges, yellows and greens – leaves lush with that musky smell reserved for fall days
  • Riding in shows where we brought up the rear, but had oodles of fun doing it.
  • And trying to canter, only to find out his canter was as lovely as that of any breed.

I thank you, Buzzy, for being the bright shining gem in the cherished memories of my life.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Uncategorized

About A Puppy Mill Boston Terrier

She often gazes off into space and she needs to be carried outside to do her business – back in, too. She startles easily so I do everything slow and easy when I am around her. She barks and growls, but only out of fear. She is in fact, gentle as a lamb. She is 1-year old. She had a litter somewhere between 6 and 8 months of age. She came with a skin infection. She is beautiful. She is mine. She is a rescued puppy-mill girl.

Fortunately, my new little Boston Terrier girl joined my existing pack, which is a big plus for puppy mill dogs. Mine have all embraced her – even my somewhat cantankerous older girl – and they seem intent on “showing her the ropes.”  She is getting it. Here a week and not a single mistake! In fact, she has a very clear, albeit unique, method of communication – she paces back and forth in a small area with no apparent purpose until I have an aha moment, scoop her up, and sure enough – instant poop and pee, outside, of course.

Puppy mill dogs are different from other dogs because their lives are limited to small, wire cages where they eat, sleep, poop and pee. They get little, if any, attention, and they are bred, machine-like, so the breeders can get as much out of them, and make as much money, as possible. I am sad to say that many of these breeders are Amish, who have a different view on the role of animals in life.

I was “lucky,” if luck is the word. My Finja was taken off the assembly line because of the skin infection, that still plagues her. I am also lucky, because unlike many puppy mill dogs who lack human contact of substance, my Finny is the first to snuggle against me whenever I sit. My third lucky is that Finny came to me from a skilled and exceptionally loving foster Mom who worked wonders in the short 6 weeks Finny was with her. But still, there is much work to be done, requiring patience, consistency, and oodles of love and affection. All I know is, I am lucky for all this precious creature is about to teach me.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Uncategorized

Riding the Rails

AmtrakA week ago, I had the delightful pleasure of taking 3 separate trains on my journey home. Trains have peppered my life in lovely ways: the electric train set my parents gave me when I was a child, the trains from the then-beautiful Rochester train station to New York’s Grand Central Station where we met up with beloved friends and relatives, and the daily Long Island Rail Road trains I took to the city and that gave me an extra hour of sleep thanks to their rhythmic rocking and soothing whistle. Then there was the train trip from Grand Central to Florida my parents and I took to spend a fun-in-the-sun vacation during a high school Spring Break. We had a sleeper cabin for this trip and took our meals in the first-class dining car, complete with white-coated waiters, china and real-silver utensils.

I love Amtrak. Granted, my trip to Rochester was long, but Amtrak was clean, on time, and staffed with the friendly and professional conductors who out shown their “fly the friendly skies” counterparts. I didn’t have to deal with the  dreaded turbulence, and the coach seats were spacious and comfortable.

If you have never considered traveling by rail, here are some things complied by the Huntington Post that you may find interesting.

  1. Most eco-friendly mode of travel: Yep – train travel is 14 percent more energy efficient than air travel and 31 percent more efficient per passenger car travel.
  2. Guides: If your train travels through any national parks, you’ll be treated to an expert talk as you pass through.
  3. Breakfast in bed: Can you believe it? If you opt to house yourself in a sleeper car, your attendant can actually provide you with bedside service.
  4. Baths and showers: Some sleepers actually have private baths; for those that don’t, public showers are available.
  5. Different sleeper floor plans: Most sleeper cabins are configured to house 1 or 2 people, with comfortable seats for daytime and convertible and/or pull-down beds for sleeping. Some have baths. Others have additional features to accommodate kids. Finally, some cabins are designed for passengers with disabilities.
  6. Coach is not your airplane coach: Coach seats in airplanes are getting smaller and smaller, resulting in significant passenger discomfort and even injury. Coach seats on trains are comfortable, spacious and offer plenty of leg room and storage for your carry-ons.
  7. Hungry? Amtrak trains include a café car that offers snacks, quick meals, drinks, even wine and beer. I enjoyed a glass of chardonnay on my trip home to Rochester.
  8. Need to charge your phone, tablet or laptop? Electric outlets are available at each seat.
  9. Wifi? Included!

My trip home took 12 hours, but every hour was worthwhile. I people watched, read, did crossword puzzles and simply relaxed. It was heaven and already I’m planning my next ride on the rails.

Want to know more? Check out  Amtrak National Facts for detailed information.

Posted in Uncategorized
Old Stuff

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,596 other followers

PetSaver Healthy Pet SuperStore

PetSaver, the pet friendly neighborhood pet store near you in Rochester, NY. PetSaver Healthy Pet Superstore is the best locally owned pet store. PetSaver carries dog and cat food, healthy treats, frozen raw food, pet toys and pet supplies. PetSaver features a Self Wash, with wash tubs at all locations, Webster, Brighton, Greece and Victor

lucia's blog

Strive to understand and not to judge.

Pauline Hawkins

Writer. Teacher. Dreamer.

Youngfully Employed

"Your career is your business, so manage it like a CEO." - Dorit Cher

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

A Little Bit Softer Now.

Reflections on Popular Culture, Writing, and Tai Chi

copyright1982

sarah cedeño

Culture Collage

Lori D. Nolasco

How to Live Write

Advice for freelance writers about making money online.

Read.Learn.Write

Words unlock worlds

Dana Griffin

Author of Airline Thriller Novels

harrisonjones

aviation author blog

Existence At It's Best

Another Blog From William Kelly

Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors

Advice on Writing, Publishing, and Book Promotion

%d bloggers like this: