Don’t be clever or snarky. You want to show off your sharp wit? Keep it for when you’re writing letters to the Promotion and Tenure Review Committee. Unless you are being kind, do not be cute or ironic or use mockery when writing comments on a student’s paper. The ability to decide somebody’s grade is not the same thing as being able to bully that person. The easiest thing in the world is to make a student feel bad. You should get satisfaction from being that person’s teacher, not from being that person’s judge.
—Gina Barreca, 5 Ways to Make Grading Easier
Student: Professor, can I do something at this point to help my grade?
Professor: Um… it’s May.
Student: Sorry… may I do something at this point to help my grade?
In the four years since my master’s thesis was published by Western Oregon University on Digital Commons, it has been downloaded 2,036 times. Oddly, though, I have not heard from readers or seen it cited. What strange times we live in! If you read my thesis, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment to let me know how you used it in your research and/or practice. Thanks!
I know the end of January is later than years-in-review usually come out, but since I have not blogged in a long, long time, I thought it best to share what I’ve been doing all this time and what I plan to do this year.
One thing I have spent a lot of time on the last four years has been teaching ASL at the community college level. I tend to spend “however long it takes” on projects rather than say to myself, “I’m going to spend the next hour on this” or “I’m going to limit my work on this to three hours a week,” so I think it’s fair to say I have been spending too much time grading homework– and even maybe giving my students too much homework. I recently looked at my profile on RateMyProfessors.com to see what some of my recent students wrote, and I looked at a few other ASL instructor reviews out of curiosity. One student said of another teacher, “Plus, no homework!” I was like “whaaat??” I have a hard time believing that’s even true, but it jolted me enough to wonder what it would be like not to have any homework to grade, and it reminded me that I spend way too much time grading homework. Now, that doesn’t necessarily translate to “I make my students spend way too much time doing homework”; it means I am being typically me and spending too much time on work. I’m sure many of my students spend much less time doing their homework than I spend grading it, so honestly — as selfish as it may sound — the idea of grading less homework is more for me than for them. Suffice it to say that I spent too much of 2016 grading homework, and I plan to spend less time on that in 2017.
I taught some workshops in 2016 — well, I taught people in workshops — and I hope to teach as many if not more in 2017. Last year, I traveled to Aberdeen, South Dakota, Flagstaff, and Tucson to teach, and I taught a local workshop and two national workshops in Phoenix, two of them being at the joint conference of the National Association of the Deaf and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. (You can see more in my CV).
Which brings me to blogging. I ran by the warm-hearted Dale Boam in the hallway between sessions that the NAD-RID conference, and he said, “I miss your blogs! Share more of your insight with us!” or something to that effect. It was one of the sweetest things a reader/viewer and fellow interpreter/trainer ever said to me. It reminded me that indeed there are people out there who read my blogs, watch my vlogs, and appreciate what I have to say. I want to spend less time grading homework in 2017 and more time sharing my insight through writing and videos. I need to remember that I am a professional, not just a professor, and I owe it to myself and my colleagues to spend time in my profession reading, researching, writing, informing, discussing, and generally improving my and others’ understanding of the world.
I also did some other fun stuff in 2016, much of which you can see in my Flickr feed, and I look forward to more adventure and travel in 2017. One thing I do feel good about, looking back on the year, is all the good times I spent with friends, and I very much look forward to doing more of that this year. I also got involved with making new friends around the world by chatting with people in English and Spanish through an app called HelloTalk. I might even visit some of them in 2017! One of my goals this year is to take a summer vacation with my husband to Spain, visiting not only Barcelona — which we went to in 2008 — but also Madrid, Seville, and Málaga. I am steadily improving my Spanish with the aim of becoming a trilingual interpreter, something I did to a very limited extent in 2016 and hope to do more of in 2017.
Well, that was far from an exhaustive review and preview, but those are the points I wanted to hit in my first blog post of the year (and my first long-form post since November 2015, yikes!). I did some “microblogging” on my Twitter feed and a few public posts on my Facebook timeline that I might post here retroactively, but this is my first real blog post in a long time. I hope the next time I blog won’t be in another 14 months! See you soon.