Monday, January 11, 2010

New semester

My syllabi are done (A whole day before they "have" to be - they would have been done earlier had the Little Ice Age not slowed my return home).

I guess I'm ready for a new semester. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Speshul Snowflakes will be minimal this semester. I did put some new scary language in my syllabi (about not abusing cell phones in class, and I put an attendance policy in for the classes where I didn't already have one - I hate doing that but, you know? If students behave like children, I have to treat them like children. I'm done with people skipping 20 class sections and then coming to me in the last week of classes asking me how it's possible they're getting a D because they get As in all their other classes...)

I've got a few new ideas for some things to maybe grab their attention more (for the soil science class, I'm going to bring in one of those shiny newspaper inserts, my tea mug, the little container of "mineral" face powder I wear, a tube of mud facial mask, a bottle of Kaopectate, and maybe one of the little china dogs from my collection, and observe that they all have something in common. (They all contain, in some form or another, clay, which is one of the components of soil). It's sort of a silly little thing but maybe it will get people's interest.

I'm also a bit concerned - and maybe some of you wise people who are more involved with government agencies will know what this is - but we got a cryptic e-mail referring to NIMS training through FEMA. I did Google it, but all I know is that it's something to do with responding to "incidents" and it's a preparedness thing. That doesn't tell me what I want to know: which is, is the "training" maybe watching videos online and taking a questionnaire that anyone with reasonable common sense could pass, or is it going to be some kind of horrible, paper-work filled thing, that they will doubtless spring on us on a Friday afternoon (or worse, for me, a Monday morning, and tell us it has to be done by midday Tuesday).

I called my dad who used to do a lot of safety-related stuff with students, but he didn't know. (I presume this is something new).

I'm apprehensive because of late, we've had a few things sprung on us with very short notice to complete them - almost like the person doing the springing didn't realize that we are teaching and doing research and advising students and (now) doing volunteer work (and documenting same, for a new administrative push for "engagement"). Or maybe the person doing the springing just isn't doing any of those things.

I have a post brewing on the report that came out last week about increasing job dissatisfaction in Americans, and how (though I still like most of the aspects of my work) there have been things that have happened in the last year that make even me feel less content and satisfied....


Alli said...

I've taken the FEMA classes (both their CERT program and an intro to NIMS/ICS).

CERT is definitely worth it. 2 days of classroom lecture/small hands on things and then the last day is a full-blown "disaster" where the instructors set up a situation and you triage/transport/treat survivors.

FEMA 100 is painfully dull, but worth knowing so at the very least you'd know HOW to help and what people are talking about in an incident.

And you're right, it is new. Its all post-Katrina. Every municipality who recieves federal money needs to have NIMS in place. Its actually quite smart and streamlined, IMO.

Worth doing, at least it was for me.

Mr. Bingley said...

glad you're back!