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Archive for October, 2011

I bleed

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Tonight I proctored our first exam of the semester in Prob Stats.

My hands shook. My stomach hurt. Now that it’s over, I feel drained and a little nauseous.

Lest you think ‘proctoring’ is more complex than it really is, here’s what I did. I handed out tests. I told the class how to deal with a typo in the final problem. I answered individual questions, most of which were very straightforward. I collected the tests when the hour and a half was up.

Oh, I also announced when we had 45 minutes left, then fifteen minutes left, then 5 minutes left.

It’s not really a taxing job.

And yet – I was a wreck.

I so very badly wanted my students (I call them mine and I’ve lectured all of twice) to do well. I needed them to have learned something from me. I wanted the time I’d spent with them, during office hours or class or over email, to have cleared up any lingering questions that remained for them.

I really really wanted them to nail it.

When I had any reason to think that one of them was having a hard time – asking me a questions I couldn’t answer because it would be cheating, or staring really sadly at their paper – I wanted to help. I wanted to say “I’m so sorry that I didn’t, somehow, make sure that this was clear to you”.

Grading the tests just now was even worse. I kept thinking ‘damn it, I KNOW you know this – you answered it in class or on the homework or …’. I want to email certain students and say, look, I see exactly what you did here. I know why you thought this was the right answer, and here’s the part of the problem statement that you missed. Why don’t you take another look.

Of course I can’t do that.

Crockett says this makes me a good teacher – wanting success for all of my students. I think that it makes me a person who is not capable of becoming a teacher. I can’t feel this wrung out all the time.

Maybe it gets easier – but is that a good thing? Should you bleed for your students, or not?

(The moral here? Actual teachers (people who do this for a living and not just as an assistant for tuition) are under appreciated and underpaid. You know me – always saying things that everyone already knows.)



pee sensor

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

I think my pee sensor might be broken.

By pee sensor, I mean the little strip inside your bladder that they designed to emulate the little strip inside a gas tank. You know, the one that tells you when you’re full up or running on empty. (You know – ‘them’. The designers of body parts.)

What? Is that little strip not a real thing?

Ok, I see where you’re coming from. Bladders are not gas tanks. They’ve been around longer, for one thing. If anything, gas tanks were based on bladders rather than vice versa.

But still, there’s clearly something going on in there that tells you when you need to pee, right? It might just be a pressure thing, I guess. When you start to fill up, your bladder skin starts to stretch and then a ‘hey we’re stretching cause of pee’ message to your brain, and then you start to plan your next bathroom trip. I guess.

My college did not offer any courses in biology.

Not that that’s clear from what you read above.

Anyway, you know how when you’re going downhill (or uphill, depending on the design of your car), it looks like you have less gas than you have? My route to school is very very hilly, and when I’m running low, my gas light will flicker off and on the whole way there.

My bladder is clearly on an uphill slant.

I don’t have to pee, don’t have to pee, don’t have to pee…. HAVE TO PEE RIGHT NOW DEAR LORD IN PEE-PEE HEAVEN.

It’s terrible.

I wonder where they sell new pee sensors. Probably not in the automotive section of Target.