Posted in Neurodiverse, Philosophies

I ❤ Teaching College

I keep toying with the idea of starting a vlog.

I’m pretty sure I’m starting a vlog this summer, when I’m not teaching.

Teaching Plans

Also, I’m teaching at Clovis Community College and Fresno City College in the fall semester, so I’m spending summer preparing new curriculum. At Clovis Community College, we’ll be studying Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven alongside a humor-based textbook released just this year, Janzen’s Squeeze the Sponge;

Meanwhile, at Fresno City, we’ll study Rereading America and Carr’s The Shallows, texts I feel more familiar with teaching.

I curriculum design this way every semester… teaching one class with old practices (improving, refining), then trying out new practices in another class (experimenting, play-testing). It’s not campus-specific, either; it just happens that the first class I receive, I structure around ritual; and whatever class I pick up second, I use to explore new pedagogic materials, practices, and discussions.

To put it another way, the first class I’m assigned gets the good ol’ stuff, while the second class becomes a refreshing, reframing experience with whatever ideas I have on hand.

Curriculum design is one of my favorite parts of teaching.

The Rotation of Old and New

For example, this semester, I kept with the same texts at College of the Sequoias, and changed up the texts I used at Fresno City College, but that was because I knew about my vocabulary course before my critical thinking course.

The semester before, I used all-new texts at College of the Sequoias, since the vocabulary course was a new and last-minute thing; but my Fresno City College texts paralleled the ones I enjoyed at Madera College, since I had already secured employment there.

Want to Read My Book Selections?

Here are links to these texts, in case you’re interested in any of them… I found out if you purchase paper, e-book, or audiobook editions through this site, it still registers as an affiliated sale, so you’re not bound to my recommended formats or editions, either.


Affiliate?

I plan to write more about how affiliate purchases work in the near future, as well as how Patreon operates—in case you’re curious about my plans on “blogging for living” (I know I’m curious about whatever plans I have for blogging for a living 😅)—and I’ll be writing about that here at the launchpad, since this is the space I’ve dedicated to my reading, writing and teaching philosophies, ethics, and practices.

I’d say the topic “monetizing blogging” falls into the categories “writing” and “practices.”

Cleo’s Autism Awareness, as a counterexample, is the space I’ve dedicated to special interests, experiences, and values, based on being an autistic woman; so it’s becoming, more and more, my warm and pathos-driven place. (And I’ve been putting most of my writing energy into it lately, given Autism Awareness Month.)

It’s normal for autistic people to categorize, organize—then recategorize, reorganize, ritualistically—and this is why so many of us are misdiagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Creativity is Suffocated in K-12

When you teach K-12, you are given specific materials, and even books that tell you what to say to students as you introduce those materials. And deviation from this cold-pressed process upsets half your administration, while the other half teach you ways to maneuver the loopholes.

I think I spent too much time trying to logically assess why the loopholes are there.

When you teach college, you’re given a guideline of class requirements, including assignment lengths, types, and suggested literature—and I discovered many of my textbooks, including Rereading America, because of these helpful “suggested materials” lists—but they’re just that: suggestions.

If you have a better method for teaching, as long as you’re meeting the guidelines—as long as your students are expected to write just as much, and just as well, as any other college student of their level—you’re golden. Colleges recognize that professors are not robotic, but humanistic, and if you want your students to be warmed by their humanistic, then humanistic expectations of your teachers are the best choice.

I could not figure out why K-12 hadn’t adopted this practice.

Of course, in college, your texts go through an approval processes. Community colleges don’t just let their adjunct professors run around rampantly, doing whatever nilly-willy.

Other professors come to our classrooms, observe us, and collect feedback from students. Administration reviews our book orders, syllabi, and hold meetings as necessary to normalize our standards. I feel this makes a warm and wholesome process to the whole curriculum designing experience.

Also, administrative reviews are explained beforehand, make sense logically, and lead to fruitful conversations…

Yet in K-12 (and this was the nail that splintered my coffin), I had administrators—vice principals, principals, and regional managers—show up abruptly, without much explanation about the process at all, then watch my class with a scowl.

They gather no feedback from students, other than broad, annual surveys.

They hold more meetings about turning us into “classroom managers” than understanding the intellectual process behind their standards. They could give a hoot if you don’t think you can teach effectively with their required materials.

If they decide to meet with you about their visit to your classroom, it’s unpleasant. So at best, you don’t know what happened; at worst… free speech is not enough to liberate the fear of sharing from you.

Adjunct professorship has its own problems, but they’re more tolerable than K-12, at least for someone who values curriculum design, autonomy, and providing learning experiences that are more valuable to students than to the men who profit from students being marked “present.”

When I adjunct, I don’t feel like I’m compromising my beliefs, my students, and our mutual creativity.

Posted in Philosophies, Projects

Explore 👁 Philosophy

Sometimes, I truly consider returning to school to study philosophy.

Watching Right Now 👾 Our Universe is Probabilistic

The particle has no defined location until we make the measurement. …This quantum weirdness does not only apply to light, it applies to all the particles life is made of… We intuitively believe our universe consists of solid stuff, but in reality, all of it,…is a result of probability waves, and particles that pop in and out of existence…all of this weirdness prompted Einstein to say, “Do you really believe the moon is not there when you are not looking at it?”

Reframing 👁 A Lens-based Project

What if I created different lens for all the philosophical concepts of consciousness?

  • emergent dualism
  • functionalism
  • substance dualism
  • behaviorism
  • higher order theory
  • property dualism
  • cognitivism
  • quantum consciousness
  • pan psychism
  • identity theory
  • epiphenomenalism
  • logically sound, scientifically sound theory of how we can transform how we think about life… our deepest existential questions: evolution, as the YouTube further explores in this quote:

…first forms of life; subtle differences between old cells and new cells; in the genetics of offspring; we can trace these genes as far back as bacteria 3.5 billion years ago; microscopic crystals; over billions of years of replicating and mutating; more and more sophisticated ways of growing and spreading; offspring with a coincidental protein molecule, sensitive to sunlight, emerged; ended up more beneficial over many generations; four billion years is a long time, enough for extremely sophisticated results, such as the human eye; even our most advanced technologies are no match for the mechanisms evolution has created…

To approach this scientifically, we cannot allow consciousness’s elusive nature to be a reason for giving up on trying to understand it, because if consciousness is not a magical exception, and rather is a direct or indirect consequence of evolution, the scientific conclusion is straightforward: just like every other aspect of the human body…consciousness is a tool that’s engineered for us…evolution favored this development, and nurtured it to a point where we became sentient, self-aware, and capable of interpreting our own evolutionary drives and purpose, in ways that can even go against our own survival, if we so choose… so then, how would science describe the mechanism of consciousness?

@16:00, the video then goes on to describe the emergence of consciousness. This is parallel to the Theory of Everything I believe in, so I was tickled enormously by this video, and highly recommend you watch it.

Listing 🤯 30 Philosophers to Explore

Sharpen your genuine love of logic for a moment with this invigorating video on string theory:

In addition to the philosophical ideas I’ve been wrestling above, I have a list of philosophers I’d like to read more, from ancient to present day… And I’m sure this list could later be used for a 30-day Challenge. 😉

  1. Socrates;
  2. Virgil;
  3. Plato;
  4. Aristotle;
  5. Augustine of Hippo;
  6. Voltaire;
  7. Baruch Spinoza;
  8. Confucius;
  9. Dante Alighieri;
  10. Dalai Lama and Siddhartha Gautama Buddha;
  11. Pope Francis;
  12. Simone de Beauvoir;
  13. Arthur William BellCoast to Coast AM broadcaster; one of my grandfather’s heroes in his old age
  14. Willem de Sitter, a physicist who contributed to Big Bounce theory; he worked alongside Einstein
  15. Michael Merzenich, one of the brilliant minds of today’s neuroplasticity research, and a professor as UC San Francisco;
  16. Immanuel Kant;
  17. David Hume;
  18. Rene Descartes;
  19. Wittgenstein;
  20. John Locke;
  21. Loazi;
  22. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz;
  23. Sun Tzu;
  24. Ayn Rand;
  25. George Berkeley;
  26. Jean-Jacques Rousseau;
  27. Baron de Montesquieu;
  28. Al-Ghazali;
  29. Sue Blackmore, free will
  30. Benjamin Lipet, half-second delay
https://kourtniemckenzie.tumblr.com/post/172088278906/mind-over-matter


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Posted in Overdrive, Projects

Explore 🍃 Nature Writing

In graduate school, I took a literature class with John Hales called Nature & Spiritual Essays. While Connie Hales was my thesis chair, and undoubtedly the writer who most affected my aesthetic, John Hales’ class truly helped me reframe the world, at a microbiological to astronomical scale.

I’ve been meaning to explore nature writing again, especially now that I’m writing science fiction. I think it’s important to remember nature is what gives us our wondrous truths; we must not only look at the stars, but at the fish, forests, and cellular kingdoms within our bodies.

Listing 💖 7 Places to Find Nature Writing

  1. Nature Writing, an online magazine
  2. Goodreads
  3. Poetry, particularly my of The Collected Poems of Denise Levertov
  4. Also, Gregory Orr’s Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved
  5. Emerson, Thoreau, and Muir are still in my bookshelves
  6. Nature-man stories buried within myself, leaning on Writing Wild as my spiritual guide
  7. The Best Science & Nature Writing 2018

If I could have a do-over on my MFA, I’d specialize in nonfiction instead of fiction, then I’d pick John Hales’ brain for nature writing technique. But I’m confident I can still walk that path, on my own; I know more than enough about writing to self-improve indefinitely.

Target Words 😍 Wedding Registry 😘 Zen Artist Board

I’d love if we acquired a Zen Artist Board from our wedding registry; if we don’t though, that’s fine…there’s nothing wrong with bamboo brush, ink, and paper.

I just like the ephemeral nature of drawing nature with ink; the relaxation of bonding with nature through line and form; the idea of erasing the image, once I’m done with the meditation, sounds like a true joy, and could also save on paper; regardless, I’d like to practice this ink meditation more often, and maybe even create a fictional character out of the experience.

I’ve already been splattering neon-colored acrylic inks into a handmade book, then trying to interpret the lines, as a meditation every day; it helps me reconnect with Oneness.

½ Fiction 🐔 Our Menagerie

I wake up with my fiance, with the sun. Our chickens cluck eagerly in the cooler shade of their pen; later, the heat will move in. For now, I want the chickens to run around, trailing 💩 fertilizer across the garden.

We grow tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, peppers, and loofah. I worry about our blood orange tree. Since I’m using grow bags, we let the weeds take over the earth beneath. The compost heap is frighteningly full of chicken grub. Our drip system is plugged into a timer, so watering is easy.

Our six cats all have access to the catio, where they can watch me garden, meow-chirp at the chickens, and lose their feline minds. DeeJAY, our youngest, can taste bird just looking at them. Tom Selleck and Gregg Allman are also fairly young, while Buttercup is middle-aged, and Philosopher Jones and Phoebe are our seniors.

Inside, we have Meeper and Bozo, our Meyer’s parrot and painted conure, who keep me company while I’m typing throughout the day. Then there are the three aquariums in the living room, each occupied by a betta fish, as well as an assortment of magical crawdads, livebearers, snails, neon tetras, and an albino bristlenose pleco.

Someday, we’ll have more plants. We’re beyond our mammal capacity, though; that’s why we can’t have a dog. And our bird slash reptile capacity is maxed by feathered friends.

The first child who asks for their own pet is getting a chinchilla.


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Do you enjoy Kourtnie.net?
Consider supporting me on Patreon.
🌸 @ $1 – $35 a month, 🌸
you not only help me add more
daily hours to writing and editing posts,
but you can receive handmade products,
such as poetry, postcards, and books.
🎁 Pledge rewards are limited. 🎁