Sunday, May 13, 2012

And, I'm done

The semester is over. Graduation was yesterday. I didn't see my Special Snowflake walk but I am trusting that he is really, truly, not just merely graduated, but sincerely graduated. And that he doesn't have any little brothers or sisters that will come my way.

This guy just about killed me this semester and is why I think we need to be very, very careful about both 'college for all' and about how we speak to people with mental/physical/learning disabilities. This was someone with multiple disabilities who had somehow been taught he was a victim, that everyone else was against him, and that the only way he would ever survive was to demand stuff, and to go and complain loudly to people if things weren't going 100% his way. And unfortunately, he was so good at being unpleasant that he did manage to get his way much of the time. I know I caved to him more than I might to someone more polite (or someone without an IEP and an administrator in his back pocket).

Tomorrow is the day that I used to refer to as "screw you guys, I'm goin' home" day, back when I used to watch South Park....there was one episode, I can't remember what it was about, but Cartman got upset about something, and so he said, "Screw you guys, I'm goin' home" in true Cartman form. (And later, he shortened it to "Screw you,...home.") I'm going to visit my parents for a couple of weeks to try to rest up before the summer semester and to try to clear my head.

Graduation this year was unimpressive. Some years we get fantastic speakers, but this year...not so much. The main take - home lesson was "Words have power. So you need to ALWAYS BE POSITIVE with your words." And you know what? Screw that. If you're having a bad day, if something's upset you, it's not healthy to paste on a big dumb smile and go, "Oh, I'm so happy!" Yes, I understand: it's nice not to lose sight of the good things you have. But to pretend that everything's always peachy-keen seems foolish, and also probably not healthy for a lot of people. I know I swallowed a lot of anger this semester, I didn't say things I REALLY wanted to say to people...and I could tell I suffered for it. Keeping up a "nice" exterior when there are parts of your personality that aren't very nice is tough. I know I lack patience sometimes, or I am quick to anger sometimes, or I can't suffer fools lightly....I try to be "nice," because we're told to be so, but there are times, I admit, I just want to go around dope-slapping people like Leroy Gibbs. (Man, that would be SWEET if I could do that and get away with it).

Ah well. Summer semester is typically better because that's when you get the "gunners" who want to graduate early, or the people coming back for continuing education who are out in the workforce (and therefore, have more perspective), or incoming freshman who are really eager to get started....A couple weeks' rest and I'll be ready to go again.

I think I scared one of my classes a little last week, we were talking about final exams and one guy commented that my final was his "last final EVER" and one of the women said, "Don't say that! Some of us have two years to go." And I remarked that I had 17 years to go, if I retire as soon as I hit the "rule of 90" for retirement...seventeen years. (It scares me, a little. I've just completed 12....) I hope I can see it through, I hope I don't get too many more super-entitled people, or at least I get a little support when I tell them they need to grow up and apply their backside to the chair and work.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

It's terribly, terribly juvenile, but

I've preserved my sanity more than once this past week by looking at this little .gif and imagining it being directed to all of the people who have vexed me.

None of which, unfortunately, I could actually do this to:

superheroes batman superman - Right Back At You
see more Memebase and check out our Troll Face lols!


This is going to be something completely different. Be forewarned: I do discuss (very generally) dissections here, so if you're super-squeamish, you might wish to avoid.

A friend and I were talking about dissections. She wanted to know what the most disgusting thing I had to dissect was.

And I got to thinking about it. There were dissections I've done that I found hard to do, but not really any that horribly grossed me out. (Of course, I wasn't teaching the Intro Bio lab the semester they got a batch of clams that had been improperly preserved and were spoiled. I think that would be pretty awful.)

The hardest dissection I actually ever did was a preserved rat. Rats are a lot like humans in terms of internal anatomy. So it was like looking at the insides of a human, just a lot smaller and inside a different "casing." I found that kind of hard to do, I mean, emotionally, because there was the feeling that "this was a being not that much different from you." I'm totally not an animal-rights activist in the sense of "no dissections ever!" and I've set and emptied rat-traps when they got into my garage....but still, there's something a little strange and sad about looking at the innards of another mammal.

We never did cats. I think I would find cats much worse, emotionally speaking. For one thing, they're larger, and therefore closer in size to a "real" human. But also, having HAD cats all my growing up years....I'd probably be able to gut up and do it if I had to but I know I'd find it hard.

I never took Gross Anatomy. I've seen the human cadavers, both the ones used in teaching here, and ones I got to observe more closely, years ago, when my AP Biology class (the class I took. I've never taught AP Bio...) went to one of the nearby medical schools to observe.

I think I would find dissecting a human cadaver very, very hard. (There's a reason I knew I didn't want to become a medical doctor). I know: the cadavers are the remains of people who chose this as a way of dealing with their mortal remains. And I know that the "person" that made that body a "person" has now moved on....that the body that remains is just the shell, just the machinery. But I still think I'd find it eerie and sort of sad.

I know my AP Bio teacher talked about, and my colleague who does Gross Anatomy here emphasizes, how important it is for the students working on the cadaver to treat it with some respect. This was a person. This was someone who had relatives, family, friends. I don't know what the ultimate fate of my department's cadavers is, but I know the ones at the med school I visited in AP Bio, they said they cremated the remains after the cadaver had been used up. And they held a non-denominational/multifaith memorial service. And if any of the relatives of the person who left their body to science were around to be contacted, they were invited. I suppose beyond the simple measure of respect, there's a lesson in empathy and in seeing others as human - ethics - there for the students.

We did dissect fetal pigs in AP Bio. I didn't find that particularly difficult but I was younger and more callous than I am now. Also, the pigs had been injected with latex - red for arteries, blue for veins - and that made them seem a little unreal. (Several of us got pigs where one of the blood vessels had burst during that process and there was a blob of latex surrounding the internal organs). One of the guys in the class got in big trouble because he removed the snout and put it in his girlfriend's student mailbox. (He got in trouble with the teacher, and I'm also fairly certain his girlfriend broke up with him. I think I would have, in her situation). I think that falls under the "not treating your sample with the respect due to what was once a living being."

(Now that I think of it: there was at least one Jewish and one Muslim student in that class: I went to a pretty diverse high school. But I don't remember anyone complaining or saying they shouldn't have to touch the pigs. I wonder how that would be handled now.)

I've never done a frog. And, thank God, I've never had to pith a frog. I do think that's something I would not be able to do.

I've also dissected perch, but didn't find that hard: I fished as a kid and already kind of knew the internal anatomy (friends of my family owned a large plot of land with a pond, and we were invited to go there and fish. I remember the woman of the family helping us clean fish and she pointed out a lot of the internal stuff like the swim bladder and told us what they were for). Also, fish are pretty different in terms of anatomy from mammals. Of course, with dissecting a lab-sample perch, it's been preserved, so you can't fillet it up and cook it, or fry up the egg sacs if it has them.

I've done lots of invertebrate dissections.

To be honest? Starfish are pretty cool. The internal organs are simple and easy to find, and there's just something interesting about starfish because they are so different.

Crayfish can be kind of interesting, but if they're not well-preserved, they can stink, and also, the internal parts all kind of look the same. If you're one of the hard-core lobster eaters where you've taken apart a steamed lobster to get the tomalley, you've pretty much done a similar dissection.

Other arthropods....we used to do big grasshoppers - they're kind of hard to work with because of the exoskeleton. We also did a lot of external-anatomy stuff on different things. Arachnids, for example. It's interesting in sort of a horrible way to do them with a class, because you learn who is terribly arachnophobic (won't even approach the specimen), who is sort of arachnophobic (will do it, because they know the specimen is dead, but are not comfortable with it), and those who are not at all arachnophobic. And yes, I am sensitive to the people who can't do it, and I have strong-armed a couple of the non-arachnophobes when they wanted to try to force the scared people to confront the specimens.

(I once had a student who was afraid of birds and would not approach the bird specimens we had out on the table. It takes all kinds and unless someone is terrified of a species and yet plans to go into a career where they will have to regularly work with the species - which just seems strange to me - I don't press the issue)

Clams are disappointing, or at least I found them to be: everything on the inside looks more or less the same. Also, after years of dissecting clams I find I cannot eat mussels or oysters or any kind of shellfish that is "intact" because I think of all the gonads and stomach and stuff like that inside the animal and it grosses me out. I can still eat scallops because they are just one of the muscles (the shell adductor muscle, I think?), and it's the same with 'clam strips." Or minced clams in spaghetti sauce or chowder. But whole shellfish, with all their unfortunate inside bits intact? Sorry, not for me.

Snails and slugs are kind of gross. Not horribly so, but they kind of shrivel in the preservative and take on the texture of really worn-out rubber, like the eraser on a pencil that's been sitting in a hot car for six months. So they're hard to cut neatly.

Earthworms are actually kind of neat. You can usually see the different structures pretty well and earthworms have  a fairly interesting anatomy. They can be hard to dissect well, though, because again, the outer skin gets kind of leathery in the preservative.

Roundworms are simple but kind of boring. There's the gut, there are the gonads. That's about it.

I don't think we ever actually dissected jellyfish though we did have preserved specimens of them. They're a lot more interesting when they're alive and swimming.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Another thing necessary for success

But not just in college. In life.

And that's the ability to take freaking RESPONSIBILITY for yourself. To man up (or woman up) and go, Okay, I have x number of things to do in the next three days. I am going to budget my time and do those things. And to say, when you screw up, "I screwed up. What can I do to fix this?"

It is not being responsible to sit down and not do those things and then whine and moan that it was too "hard." It is not responsible to find someone - anyone - else to blame for your mistakes/failures/lack of preparation.

It IS responsible, if there really is no way to do everything, to either ask for an extension on something, or, sometimes, you just have to half-ass stuff. I hate half-assing stuff but I admit I do it sometimes. More often than not it's stuff like yardwork or cleaning the house or preparing food - stuff that mainly only affects me. Or I'll beg off a meeting where I really don't have to be there to give input. I hate doing that, but sometimes you do have to say "I'm sorry, I'm really overwhelmed but I need to cancel, is there something I can do to prepare for a later point in time?"

What you don't do is wait until the last minute, and then whine and complain about how unfair it all is, or leave people hanging, or get someone to be your bully for you and call someone and tell them you need an extension.

I had a student needing an extension. He finally fulfilled it, but not without telling me at length that (a) the project was too hard, (b) he had to stay up all night the night before it was due, and (c) I wasn't there to help him when he "needed" me.

I have an answer for each of those:

a. Yes, it is hard. But hard work prepares you for life in the competitive working world. I've had students do this project over the past 10 years; you are the first one ever to demand a week's extension and then whine about it. (I have, in the past, given extensions of a day or two. Or, really serious circumstances, I gave an incomplete and let the student finish the paper in the summer. BUT. She came home one day to her soon-to-be-ex husband throwing all her stuff out on the lawn, and he had stolen and hocked her laptop, on which the project was. And she showed me the police report. And she didn't whine, she just said, "Is there any way I could have more time? I have some issues right now...")

b. You know what? You have my sympathy. But that's life sometimes. I've had nights lately when I did not sleep but it was not because I was working, it was because I had insomnia. The physical effects are much the same. Yes, sometimes you have to pull an all-nighter and it sucks. (I don't remember ever doing so as a student, however). You did know about this assignment from Day 1 of the class, and you did know in the last two weeks of the term that you were not as close to being done as you should be. You could have asked for help or an extension earlier.

c. When I asked you, "When did you come by?" you named times when I was in class. Or when it was late in the day and my office hours were over. I'm sorry but I hold 10+ hours of office hours a week and people cannot expect I will stay in past 5 pm when I arrive on campus around 7 am. I have other things I must do in the time I have. I am also happy to make appointments. In fact, I seem to remember you making a couple appointments....and not keeping them. Funny how that didn't come out when you went and complained to one of my higher-ups about my lack of availability.

All I can say to this dude is, best of luck in the working world. You'll need it. Most bosses don't put up with "I didn't feel like it" as a reason for not doing something, or "But it's too hard" as a refusal.

Alternatively, I hope you learn how to be responsible. It's a tough thing to learn and best learned as a child, I think. But I know of adults who have really grown up in a short period of time and went from slacker to decently responsible person, so I know it is possible.

I get so fed up with people who can't take responsibility for stuff. People for whom everything that goes wrong is everyone else's fault but their own. People who expect others to pat them on the head and go, "Oh, poor you! How about we remove all the deadlines and responsibilities you have?"

Okay, my one bit of responsibility here? Perhaps I should have ridden the students harder, perhaps I should have required multiple progress reports rather than just one. But you know? Chronologically speaking, all my students are adults and I think it would be insulting to do too much hand-holding. But maybe that's how it is in the Brave New World in which we inhabit - soma holidays for everyone, and a minder to tell you what you need to be doing when. Fine. You can have your Brave New World; I'll take Galt's Gulch.

Monday, May 07, 2012

This seems so obvious to me

Tenacity is necessary for college success.

The problem is, how do we teach it? I think that learning tenacity is something kids get when they're little - so it's the parents' responsibility. But I think the current atmosphere of bubble-wrapping kids and "protecting" them from failure works against a tendency to develop tenacity.

I've heard about studies where parents had kids who were learning to walk or run, and the researchers asked the parents to react differently when the kids fell down. Some of the parents helped the kid up, brushed him or her off, and basically said, "Go back to it!" Other parents rushed in, swooped the kid up, and made a big fuss about "did you hurt yourself, oh no!"

The result was, when the kids were allowed to run around kind of on their own, the ones whose parents had offered encouragement to get back up and try again, when they fell, they got back up and tried again. The ones with the make-it-all-better parents would look around for an adult, and then start bawling.

I see college students who are like this. Some, when they mess up in class, their reaction is, "Okay, that didn't work. I'm going to try something else to see if that works." Or they come to me for advice on what might work. Other students shut down and figure the class is "too hard" for them, or the professor is "mean" or they just drop the class. Sometimes they change majors. (I know people who have changed majors four times).

My mom often said, when I was a kid, "Anything worthwhile is hard work." That's true, and I'm glad I was able to internalize that lesson. I just cringe a bit when I see people who are parents of young kids wanting to "protect" them from having to do things that are hard.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Having a hard time letting go

I had a horrible student in my class this semester.

Now, granted, I occasionally have students who are "horrible" in the sense of being irresponsible or earning bad grades. But this person took the cake. He would not follow directions given and then claim I never gave those directions. Or he would claim I never said something - like announcing a due-date or an exam - that I know I had said. I couldn't tell if he just had very selective hearing or if he was doing it specifically to throw me off base, make me think I was crazy, and make me give in to his demands.

He also complained, apparently to several people, that I was "unavailable." Which actually means that he showed up to my office outside of my office hours and I was busy working on something else, or he showed up when I was in class, or he showed up late in the day after I'd already gone. As TPTB on my campus are ALL ABOUT "availability," I am afraid this is going to bite me hard, and even though I know and my chair knows this guy's tricks, he seems good at buffaloing people who don't actually have to work with him.

He's already wangled a week's extension on a project. And even though I was pretty clear I said a week, I'm fearful he will have "heard" that it was two weeks - pushing the date back to the due date for grades, which is also my "Screw you guys, I'm goin' home" day (I am going to visit family for a couple of weeks).

I actually called my campus voicemail at 8pm last night - after spending an afternoon running errands I had put off - because I just had this *feeling* that there would be a "What the Hell? It's 4 pm on the last day of classes WHY ARE YOU NOT IN YOUR OFFICE WAITING FOR ME TO COME IN" message.

Of course there wasn't, but this is the point to which the student's problems have become my problems.

People should NOT be allowed to treat other people this way, to the point where the other people become fearful. I took to closing my office door when my office hours were over....of course people knocked and I opened the door, but I was hoping maybe he'd be deterred by "oh, maybe she's not here."

(I was fantasizing about how much trouble I'd get in for drilling a hole in my door and installing a peephole.)

This person made me begin to wonder if I was crazy. Or if I was an awful person and a terrible teacher. I DON'T LIKE FEELING THAT WAY. The thing is, it's really hard for me to shake.

Every colleague of mine who has had this student in their class has commiserated with me - has said, "You're NOT crazy. This person makes other people freak out." But I'm having a hard time letting it go. I'm jumpy and unhappy and I can't enjoy working on the other stuff I am working on.

One of my colleagues, who apparently has NOT had this student, was all, "You need to suck it up and tell him to go take a flying leap." O RLY? And will you then field the call from his pet administrator when he goes to her all upset?

I feel now like I understand a bit better what someone in certain types of abusive relationships goes through - the self-doubt, the wondering if YOU are the problem rather than the other person, the occasional other who says, "Oh, it CAN'T be that big of a problem, just suck it up."

I woke up in the middle of the night with the WORST nightmare I've had in maybe a year. (Unrelated to the issue - essentially, the Sun was expanding, it was getting unbearably hotter, and we all knew we were going to die in a few days AND THERE WAS NOTHING THAT COULD BE DONE. I realize there's an old Twilight Zone episode about a similar topic, but it's been a very long time since I saw it). I am sure the nightmare was related to the stress I've been under. I had to get up and stare at The Weather Channel for a while before I felt like I could go back to sleep again.

The thing I'm afraid of - if I go to anyone else on campus, HR, the campus counselor, anyone, I'll be told to suck it up and be an adult. But if I wind up with this guy in my class again, I WILL need to be seeing a counselor or therapist to be able to cope. (Or maybe, after they hear the situation....they'll tell HR, "No, she cannot have this person in her class again. Sorry.")

I really feel awful. I feel worse - more worn out, more burned out - than I've ever felt at the end of a semester. Normally, the day after the semester ends (before exam week) I'm all happy and excited and feel like I've successfully put another semester to bed. I don't feel that way this year. I don't even have the energy for my traditional jaunt to Boutiqueville. I just want to hide in my house and not talk to people for a long, long time.

Friday, May 04, 2012

A proposal

One of my colleagues comments that he considers 4% unemployment to be "effectively full employment" because he believes about 4% of the population is simply unemployable - their work habits are too bad, they are too difficult of a person, they are too prone to screw up instructions - something.

This got me thinking.

I had a HORRIBLE Special Snowflake person this semester. Like, make-my-head-explode, make-me-begin-to-doubt-myself horrible. Like, at a couple points I was wondering "Am I going crazy? Did I just think I told him these things that he is now saying I never told this person?" This is someone who claimed some instructions were never given, and who made up instructions that were NOT given.

It turns out the person in question - who has an IEP- is either really adept at playing people (my chair tells me this person has driven three other colleagues "crazy" when they had him in their classes, and apparently one person even threatened to quit if this individual showed up in her section again) or is so messed up they can't function and really only remembers what they want to remember of conversations.

(I honestly believe it's the first of those two, but whatever).

At any rate: this person has been so difficult, and so unpleasant (mostly to me, but also on occasion to classmates) that I cannot imagine subjecting a boss or co-workers to this person's presence.

So here's my proposal. It's not quite modest, but whatever:

Even if we are reforming other entitlements (and I think we should), we create a new one. Come up with a fancy name for it but it's basically the I Don't Want Anyone To Have To Deal With This Person entitlement. Pay the 1% or whatever of the population who are just thoroughgoing jerks or whiners NOT to work. Bosses or professors or even parents could nominate people for this entitlement. There'd probably be a battery of tests to see how the person follows instructions and copes with boredom, repetitive tasks, and how they treat other people. People who fail - who can't follow instructions, who whine about being "bored," and who harass other people around them who are trying to work - get put on this plan and are effectively paid to stay out of the public's hair.

I do see one problem with this. I can see lazy people acting like jerks or whiners to get it. So there'd have to be some limitations on it. I'm not sure what. Maybe limitations on things like, "You can't go to the movie theater on the opening weekend of a movie, you're not allowed to harangue grocery cashiers ESPECIALLY if there is a line behind you, and so on).

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Periodic thoughts on education

I'm tired and kind of stressed out so this is going to be disjointed.

I do thin there's something gone wrong with education in our culture. Part of it is an attitude, part of it may be the structure of how education is administered.

The attitude from some students (not all, by any means) seems to be, "I have to be here, I don't want to be here, so I'm miserable and I'm going to make others miserable." Kids act out in class (it even happens, though to less of a degree, in college classes). They don't understand or recognize that learning is important.

Part of that is a maturity thing (though part of it may be what education has become).

I don't like high-stakes standardized testing. Yes, it's the cheapest fastest way to assess student "learning," but it leads to all kinds of abuses - teaching to the test, cheating on the part of faculty, so on and so forth. I don't know of a good way to assess student learning. Maybe there isn't one. Maybe giving parents school choice would take care of that and parents would move their kids away from the crap schools and into the good schools.

What I would like to see in incoming college freshmen: An ability to read at a 12th grade level with sufficient comprehension. An ability to read a book, magazine article, or webpage and determine whether the material seems trustworthy or if it raises red flags. An ability to write an intelligent and well-reasoned persuasive paper that does not descend into the realm of emotional argument. An ability to do at LEAST algebra and geometry level math. A basic understanding of chemistry, physics, and biology...not a great deal of knowledge but enough that the intro science courses won't shock and horrify them. A knowledge of history, including a knowledge of the Constitution of our nation and how government works. The ability to balance a checkbook and budget (though I'd argue that's something parents should teach). Life skills stuff like how to wash clothes and how to obtain and eat food without developing a vitamin deficiency (Again, I think that's a parent thing). An ability to treat their fellow humans with civil respect (at a minimum) and how to work with people that they may not really like, but to do so without being rude or snarky.

A lot of those things are hard or impossible to test.

Sometimes I think we should reduce the age of where compulsory education should end. Maybe reduce it to 12. But make some sticking point, some conditions so we don't wind up with people who chose (or whose parents chose) not to get an education who are now unemployable and must be supported on the taxpayer's dime. (I heard a commentator suggest that people be eligible for three years of food stamps or welfare in their lives....and after they've used that, sorry, no more help. Disability would be a different issue, Social Security a different issue - those would not have the limits).

Teachers would be able to expel students and make it stick. The idea would be that education is a privilege, not a right.

I'm not quite sure how the not-educated people would support themselves. That's my one big issue....some 12 year olds might be mature enough to realize, "Hey, if I want a job, I have to stay in school even if I think it sucks" and probably many parents would get that and keep their kids in school. I don't know. Picking fruit on farms? Doing landscaping? I don't know if there's enough of a market for unskilled labor that it could absorb a large chunk of people who left school at 12.

Or maybe, make entrance to skilled-trades type school at that age possible. If you can read well enough to understand safety manuals, if you can do basic math...okay, we can teach you the rest as you work. That might be a solution for kids who are not academically inclined but who know they want to do something with their lives and who maybe have a talent for fixing stuff or making stuff. (I knew kids like that when I was in school - they were smart kids but some of the stuff just bored them to craziness).

I think also maybe there need to be more alternative-type schools. Not everyone learns in the same way. And a kid who can't learn in the traditional way can make it difficult for those who can. Again, letting parents choose their school - and expecting parents to take responsibility for it.

I also frankly think we need to bring back tracking or grouping or whatever. It's BS to expect the "high achieving" kids to pull the rest of the class up, or that the people who lack background in a subject will be able to catch up.

Sometimes I think we've become so concerned with not hurting "feelings" that we've gone to ridiculous lengths. One of my friends has a daughter with a learning disability, who isn't doing so well in school. (She's like in the first grade). My friend is agonizing over maybe holding her daughter back. All the teachers at the school say that holding her back a year would help her a lot, and that they do hold a number of kids back each year. But my friend is afraid about her daughter's feelings. I wanted to say, but did not, "Is it better her feelings get a bit hurt now, or that she is still struggling in high school?" but I didn't.

I think one of the things that people overlook is that there is feeling-hurting stuff going on ALL THE TIME and maybe there's value in, in some circumstances, just accepting the fact that the kid will get his or her feelings hurt - you can't bubble wrap people, and doing so leads to highly dysfunctional adults. (I know. I've had a few  bubble-wrap kids in my classes and it's scary how little they can cope with)

I also think - and I know I've said this before - we need to make trad schools and the skilled trades "respectable" again. It needs to be seen as an equal choice after high school with college and military service. We will always need plumbers and mechanics, and you can't outsource fixing a sink to China. (And frankly, if I had to choose between doing something like small engine repair or sitting in a cubicle filing TPS reports....sign me up for the mechanic's classes. I think I'd actually enjoy being a mechanic, there's an element of problem-solving to it that appeals to me).

Yes, entrepreneurship is possible as well....but I suspect that there are comparatively few Bill Gateses and Steve Jobses out there....and that for every person who talks big about how "All these accomplished rich people didn't need college, that proves college is useless" there are a dozen people stuck doing some job they hate and dreaming of how they can raise enough funds to go to trade school or college.

I don't know. Right now, I get the feeling that lots of schools are training kids for cubicle-work, which is probably not going to be that viable a kind of work in the future - as companies go to a leaner, "higher productivity per person" structure.

I also sometimes wonder if we need to push farming, especially small-scale farming, as a more viable career choice. There is specific education that will benefit someone who wants to farm....there's a growing market for "locally grown" and heirloom varieties and stuff, and while it's a niche market - a person with a small landholding and a willingness to work hard can make a decent living. (Again - that's something that might appeal to me to do.)

I love learning and I mostly love teaching but there have been some problems that have crept into the educational system....

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Tired of being an adult

First: Sheila, that totally makes more sense. I guess I had briefly seen that Tumblr but had forgotten it. Okay then. (My remark about my administrator still stands: he's the kind of guy who WOULD humiliate someone in public with a nasty joke).

I'm ready to hand in my Adult Card. I've pushed and pushed, I've tried to be helpful and friendly and accommodating, but some people just will have nothing of it. It's a total "If you give a mouse a cookie" situation, where nothing I can possibly do will satisfy or even mollify the person in question.

Being an adult sucks, you know? So much responsibility, so many people yelling at you, no time for fun. I don't get why kids are so all-fired fast to grow up.

I really want to be a Special Snowflake for a while. I want to be fussed over and doted on and have my whims catered to. But when you live to your whims takes a backseat to the laundry. Or mowing the lawn. Or getting that grading done. (Part of my problem is that I don't have anyone, like a spouse or housemate, to go "You've worked all day long. Put that up for now and play Wii with me." And I don't have a child or even a pet to require my attention and make me go, "No, this individual needs me to care for them right now, the grading can wait.") So I get mired in what I "must" do. (Yes, I know kids and even pets are a lot of work....but they do reward you by showing you love. Or at least pets like cats or dogs. I'm not so sure about fish.)

I'm tired and I sometimes feel like I'm getting old before my time.

a follow-up

My head's going to explode.

I got told by an administrator to do something I essentially cannot do.

I'm fed up. This one person has taken up all my energy and good will this semester.

If I had some other skill, and if the job market wasn't pure crap right now, I'd be reading the want ads and wondering what else to do with my life. (Sadly, in most jobs you wind up dealing with special snowflakes that make your head explode).

NO ONE ever cuts me slack when I NEED slack. I have come to work with migraines, major cramps, and at the tail end of stomach viruses where I still could not eat. I've given up my free time, I've cancelled doing things I wanted to do, I've come in early and stayed late. No one gives a damn. Life is unfair and if you're a responsible person you get screwed royally all the time.