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(Un)cool things that happened today

Mike Griffin’s simple, quirky collection of random educational moments that occurred in a day has morphed into a blog challenge, one which a few have undertaken. I contemplated participating once I had a number of inspirational bits to add, but the reality is that it’s nearing the end of the academic year here and stress is at a high both among teachers and students. Big assignments due dates are looming clouds across the program and efforts (or lack thereof) through the year are now culminating in the potential withdrawal of offers to undergraduate programs next year. Do I have these inspiration bits then? Well, the truth is the truth and transparency, even at its most disappointing, can be inspiring too.

    • In class today, five students smiled happily, wrote down key points attentively, answered my questions in an informed way and totally impressed me.
loulou, the puppy whose image makes everyone go awww.
    • Two students, however, continued to text and/or check their phones during a lesson on analysing strong short answers to exam questions. This happens a lot.
    • Four students, repeat offenders, visibly paid little attention. For the first time in 20 weeks, I firmly spoke about how little effort or investment leads to low grades and total absence of learning because they just don’t seem to care–not me at my most compassionate. Sometimes being friendly and forgiving isn’t in their best interests. I now think they care.
    • More students asked for office hour appointments for tomorrow than all others during the year combined.
    • Loulou (my new puppy) showed up largely on the projector screen as my desktop wallpaper. She, like always, lightened the mood.
    • I gave feedback on 4 term paper first drafts. I was completely frustrated by repeated errors over and over and over, run-on sentences abounded.  /cough/
    • I gave feedback on 4 other term paper first drafts. I was elated to see strong argumentation, critical thinking and solid evidence.
    • Chrome suddenly disappeared from my work computer without warning.
    • Reinstalling Chrome brought everything, including tabs and bookmarks, back without a glitch. I <3 you, Chrome.
    • I used Class Dojo to give classroom performance feedback again. I’ve done it long enough now that it’s very revealing to see term-long statistics on the feedback. It’s also made an impact on effort in class, not that that was evidenced today exactly.
    • Issues with student motivation inspired awesome assignment and lesson ideas for next year’s curriculum. I’m stoked and want to work on them now!
    • So much fun (and works).

      I talked with two students from last year who are excelling in their undergrads this year. They remarked how although they didn’t realise it at the time, their year with us was a cake-walk in comparison. They have matured.

    • One student I met during office hours today was well prepared and asked very intelligent questions about her term paper revisions. I’ve dreamt of this type of office hour.
    • One student figured out that when I said I’d drop the lower score of two assignments and double the higher that perhaps she didn’t need to finish the second if she was happy enough with the first.  My response: Clever, but nope.
    • TOSCON13 conference day schedules were unanimously approved. Time to choose sessions from over 40 proposals.
    • I had a Coke and thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Cecilia lemos

A good day, overall from where I’m standing… 🙂


Speaking of ‘most compassionate’, I just finished writing my own journal entry about myself not being very compassionate…or rather, finding my compassion wearing thin…and not sure how much longer I can hold out. I think I will blog this, and see where it takes me. Thanks for the inspiration.

Carol Goodey

I agree with Cecilia that this sounds like a good day with lots of very cool things happening! (Sometimes the compassionate thing might be to give a firm talking to; it shows that you know they’re capable of doing better and that you care about their success.)

One of the things I like about this post is that it touches on the highs and lows, the elations and frustrations, that many of us in similar jobs will be so familiar with but will not always realize that others go through very similar emotions. The highs, I love, but at some of the lows I’ve been ready to chuck it all in – blaming myself for them. So far, I’m glad I didn’t. 🙂

Thanks for a very interesting post and giving us a real insight into your work.

Lexical Leo

Not a bad day after all.
The Chrome incident (its disappearance and reappearance) would have been enough to make my day! 🙂

Made me smile and remember why I’m not a full-time teacher anymore 😉

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good classroom fix every now and again, but as a daily grind, it’s just not for me. I gave up full-time teaching to move into publishing some 14 years ago, finishing off with a particularly soul-destroying stint at a private language school with a high turnover of bored teenagers who’d been sent by their parents and really didn’t want to be there. I remember standing in front of a class at 9am trying my best to inspire a bit of enthusiasm and dreaming of a desk job in which I could be grumpy all morning if I wanted to be. And y’know, I’m much less grumpy generally now I have the option!

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