Virtual finger tapping

If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.
I’m sitting in class while my students write their mid-term test.
I had an annotated bibliography to submit today for the Performa course I’m taking. The bibliography is supposed to be based on ten of the articles I’ve collected so far for the literature review at the end of the course. So I have lovingly prepared a binder filled with articles (well over the required ten), and I figured I would get started on the bibliography and finish it this evening, while I waited.
Then I turned around and the bibliography had somehow finished itself by mid-afternoon.
A plateau is a high form of flattery.
So I turned my attention to preparing a PowerPoint presentation for a workshop I’ve been asked to give tomorrow on the English Exit Exam (a provincial exam that all students must pass in order to graduate from Cegep). I have a short presentation already in the can that I’ve used in my classes before, but I needed to incorporate more information on the requirements of the exam. Again, I figured I could work on perfecting the presentation this evening.
Except that it’s done.
A backward poet writes inverse.
Of course, I have marking – leftover rewrites, a few late submissions, and the rest of the short-answer tests my star pupils wrote last Friday.
Now, in an ideal world, this line would read “but that’s done too!”
Well, it isn’t, because in a moment of sheer brilliance this morning, I left all my marking piled neatly on my desk.
At home.
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
So here I sit, with nothing to do but clean up the comment spam and peruse the jokes sent to me by well-intentioned friends:
A grenade that fell onto a kitchen floor in France resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.

Mid-term review

It’s the middle of the semester ~ it feels like it’s been mid-term for weeks. I’m pooped. I’m in that seemingly endless correcting cycle. I dream of essays, and not in a good, “Hi Miss, I’m your student Ben Affleck and I wanted to talk to you about my essay” way.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all the extra work will (a) pay off in the foreseeable future and (b) not be repeated next fall. As I did last fall, I am teaching a full daytime course load plus one. That may not sound like a lot – one extra course – but consider that a full load is only three courses to begin with. Imagine taking your current workload and adding a third. If you work a 37.5 hour workweek, that means adding an extra 12.5 hours. No wonder I’m so tired.
To make matters worse, the World’s Greatest Mother-in-Law (TM) went home yesterday, which means we’re on our own. No more home-cooked meals, no more Grandma-assisted homework, no more rum & Coke appearing magically at exactly the right time (OK, the timing part isn’t hard).
But the bright side is multi-faceted. It is the middle of the term, after all, which means one more pile of essays and I’m over the hump. The pile in question is from my Montreal Writers group, which is probably the most fun group I’ve ever taught (I’m trying not to dwell on the ‘it’s all downhill from here’ side of that particular coin). So far, despite the perpetual corrections, I have not suffered any (major) paper cuts. The extra work is not, perhaps, paying off as instantaneously as I might have hoped, but it is paying off, in that I’ll only have to teach one summer course, rather than two, to complete my year.
And my boys continue to be wonderful.
Photo courtesy of Dina
Robert turned seven on Monday, and once again we were fortunate to celebrate with friends and family and an awesome cake.
Ah, well, back to the essays.

Darwinism: don’t touch it with a ten-foot Pole

Miroslaw Orzechowski, the deputy education minister of Poland, told a national newspaper that he thinks that Darwin’s theory of evolution should not be taught in schools because it is “a lie… that we have legalized as truth.”
According to Orzechowski, the theory is “feeble”, and Darwin himself was an “aged non-believer,” not to mention “a vegetarian” (gasp).
I don’t even know where to start with this report. How is this man in charge of education? Since when is Poland part of the American Bible Belt? What the heck does vegetarianism have to do with anything?
Of course, the irony is that if Darwin really was right, surely the idiots would have been bred out of the human race by now.

Why I love my job

In St-Henri, George-Etienne-Cartier Square
In the heart of St-Henri, in the footsteps of Jean, Florentine, Emmanuel & Rose Anna
A dozen students from my Montreal Writers class joined me for a walking tour of the St-Henri neighbourhood this morning. We have just finished reading and discussing Gabrielle Roy’s The Tin Flute, which is set in this area of Montreal.
This class is one of those classes that teachers rave about. The group dynamic is positive and energizing; I love that I teach this class on Fridays – I always end the week on a high note.
Nonetheless, when I suggested a walk through St-Henri, I expected a subdued response. After all, Saturday mornings are precious – what student wants to spend one with the teacher? So I was touched, amazed, thrilled when ten students and two “guest” students showed up at the Atwater Market this morning.
We had a great time, and I think we even managed to learn a little about the area. Maybe. At the very least, we’ve introduced Kelvin to pumpkin pie.
So thank you, Nick, Dina, Kelvin, Matt, Rebecca, Alex, Rupal, Raihab, Balal and Gilbert – and Francesca and Tara – for reminding me how much I love my job, even on a Saturday morning.
Rebecca, by the way has graciously allowed me to share her poem, a reaction to the Dawson shooting. I’ve included it here.

Continue reading “Why I love my job”

In space, no one can hear you scream

See, here’s the thing. I am a teacher. A professor, as it were. As such, my job is to profess.
Using my voice.
Which appears, at the moment, to be leaving me.
I don’t know what I did, voice, but you can’t leave me. I need you.
Whatever it was, I’m sorry.