How things are shaping up

Ah, the life of a non-tenured teacher.
Before the Christmas break, I was assigned two back-up courses for the winter semester in Continuing Education. ‘Back-up’ means courses that don’t open until the first section is full, and since registration happens until the first day of classes, ‘back-up’ really means you might not know until literally the last minute whether or not you have a course to teach.
Shortly after the break, our department chair called to let me know that one of our more veteran colleagues was taking a leave for the semester for personal reasons* – tada, two courses open up in the regular day section, and everyone moves up a notch. This works out to… THREE back-up sections. So depending on registration, this means I have anywhere from zero to a full load, given that an assignment of three English courses works out to full-time work.
Here’s what hinges on the outcome: since I taught a full load last semester (plus one, for that matter), I need three courses to make a full year, which means a full salary, not to mention solidifying my place on the seniority list.
A partial load this term would be OK, since I can make up the balance teaching a summer course – but that means getting paid hourly for this term, with retroactive pay in the summer once my CI (the magic number that determines my status, based on the number and variety of courses taught and student numbers) hits the full-time mark.
No courses this term would be a little scary, because I’d have to hope for really huge summer classes, or try to teach three in a compressed semester of 6 weeks (as opposed to 15 for fall/winter). No courses would also raise the spectre of collecting employment insurance, which I have learned (the hard way) is complicated if I end up with any substitution work, not to mention retroactive pay in the summer.
So you can imagine my relief when two extra courses opened up in the day section, thus moving us all up a notch again, and I got the good news: three evening courses.
Yes, after all that anxiety and math, I am teaching a full load, I’ll be getting my full salary, and I won’t have to teach this summer!
Of course, now I have to, like, work and stuff, but hey, c’est la vie d’une English prof.
*which doesn’t make me feel like an ambulance chaser at all

Name that phenomenon

We had to giggle this morning when we read an item about new regulations under Quebec’s consumer laws about selling used cars. The giggling had nothing to do with the new rules – it was induced by this:

“Now we’re all working with the same rules, we’re all in the same boat,” noted Richard Cliche, head of the provincial group of used-vehicle merchants.

Cliche no doubt went on to say that when used car salesmen ‘give you lemons, make lemonade.’
Anyway, this got me to pondering that phenomenon of people whose last names match their occupations. For instance, the doctor who delivered me was Dr. Borne. The guy who writes the birdwatching column in the Gazette is David Bird. And so on. (I am aware that Cliche matches his statement, not his profession, but I’m hoping the logic leap is obvious.)
Is there a name for this name/profession thing? And more importantly, got any examples for me?

Shocking news

This just in:

‘Three little words’ often driven by hopes of sex, survey finds: ‘I love you’ is not always totally sincere…
According to the 2007 Harlequin Romance Report published today, fully 58 per cent of men and 41 per cent of women have dropped an “I love you” solely in the hopes it would lead to sex.

See, now this is why it’s important to read the newspaper every day. Information like this could change your life.
(Oh, and the “2007 Harlequin Romance Report”??? Don’t even get me started.)

Bear with me

Still getting used to the new Moveable Type set-up… my primary goal here is to eliminate the thousands of comment spammers who leave their mark all over my stuff. Eventually, I’ll be able to turn my attention to actual design.
In the meantime, if you do comment and find that it takes ages for your comment to appear, you’ll be happy to know that (a) I’ll publish you ASAP, (b) we’re working on it, and (c) if all goes according to plan, you’ll be able to comment and publish simultaneously, as soon as we get one of those image-recognition thingies installed.


The boys are at home today because their school is closed for disinfection.
Yes, it’s… THE GASTRO… da da dum
I got a call yesterday – in the middle of lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in months – asking me to collect the kids no later than 2:30, since there weren’t enough healthy daycare workers to keep students after school. According to the school secretary, more than 50 kids are home sick, and the school is rapidly running out of teachers.
When I got to the school, I found…
~ the principal, whose face was a lovely shade of green, clutching her stomach and saying “I can’t believe I have to drive home” over and over;
~ the day care administrator also clutching her stomach and running down the hall;
~ a guy, wearing a white mask and rubber gloves.
So this is what it’s like to be in a Michael Crichton book.

And you thought I wasn’t up to much this fall…

Along with a full-time course load in the day section and a continuing education course this fall, I managed to squeeze in yet another M.Ed. course. This one, ‘Constructing Knowledge in Your Discipline,’ was intended to help us transfer some of the theoretical stuff we’ve been looking at to more practical, discipline-specific knowledge.
As with the other M.Ed. courses, we were asked to maintain a journal along the way; unlike past courses, I didn’t post the journal this time, mainly because I felt the entries were too closely related to the research I was doing for the literature review. But since I just submitted the review, as well as the final journal entry, it occurred to me that I should post the entries, as well as the review itself, just in case anyone’s interested.
Also, this post should bump the bat down the page for the benefit of those who are tired of looking at it.
So, without further ado:
Journal I: Beginning the research process
Journal II: Learning in my discipline
Journal III: Mapping the Learning Process
Journal IV: Reflections on the Research Process
Literature Review: Formative Feedback and Learning in the English Classroom
There will be a test, so remember to take good notes 😉

Happy New Year!

Please stand by as I figure out our new Moveable Type thingie.
We apologize for the inconvenience – but comment spam was driving me nuts… eventually, all will be well, and I will have time to post actual content. I may even update the banner.
Alright, calm down. I said “may”.