cell phone self-portrait

cell phone self-portrait
things are looking up

Friday, March 04, 2011

What I Should Be Doing

I should be grading, answering student e-mail, or planning tests and next-week lessons.  I should be cleaning the house.  Here's what I'm doing instead:

Reconnecting with my sister-in-law (who is now my "ex" sister-in-law but will always just be my sister in my mind) by reading the blog I didn't know she had.

Enjoying the fireplace and some sweet tea and occasional glimpses of whatever adventure movie my husband is watching.

Checking Twitter for great tweets to retweet and adding my own from one of the books I'm reading, including I Am a Pencil:  A Teacher, His Kids, and Their World of Stories.  Right now the author recalls teaching Stevens' poem "Thirteen Ways to See a Blackbird," and leading students to create something similar by describing something simple in different ways ... a tree, for example.  I decided to write one about a drummer but haven't finished it yet.

Here's one of my favorite lines from the original poem:

I do not know which to prefer.
The beauty of inflections
or the beauty of innuendoes.
The blackbird whistling
or just after.
I understand what the poet means because the crisp silence that comes after a bird's caw is just that... crisp, bare, open for anything.

I'm also playing some Facebook games here and there, such as Zynga Poker.  I have over a million dollars and 36 current requests.

Well, what do you know... I've just opened my work "homepage," and I may actually get something done now that I've written myself toward it.  I've graded one student's work and answered her e-mail.  It took me all of one to two minutes.  More importantly, I now have this student's face in mind, a vision of her in class with a smile, and the awareness that I don't know her well and don't talk to her much one on one.  Her grades look good; she's got a high "A."

Hey ... I just found Levar Burton and William Shatner on Twitter because they had sent tweets to each other.  Now I'm following them both.... so cool.

Back to my students.  I had to write a corrective e-mail to a student who didn't follow directions for her assignment and did not submit it properly.  Instead, she turned in the wrong material and did so by e-mail.  I feel my impatience, my irritation as I write her back a version of the same note I have to write so many times a semester to so many students, like this:

I don't know what this is.  Which class are you in?
You were supposed to...
I don't accept this by e-mail. (If I'm feeling fed up) or I typically don't accept this by e-mail, but I'll make an exception.
You've missed the deadline for this; you'll need to do extra credit to make it up.

Another student has written in with another kind of repeated question that requires a repeated answer:

The material you are looking for is ...
I explained this in class, so please ask one of your group members.
I sent an explanation via e-mail to the whole class.  Please check your e-mail.

That's all the student e-mail; I've knocked it out, and now it's time for a break.  I might even go to bed soon and see if I can get some snooze.

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