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, Problems

Emoticons about Grading, Part III 🙌

Yesterday was my first week teaching the second semester of English 380: Vocabulary Building & Testing SkillsI was a MONTH late responding to the “You wanna teach this next semester?” e-mail, so I will 100% understand if I don’t get the opportunity to do this a third time… but I hope I do get a third chance! at College of the Sequoias, quite possibly my favorite place in the Central Valley.

Cue for a yin-yang cat-pawse:

Yesterday’s students smiled lots, eager to listen to stories about how the words “catastrophe,” “catapult,” and “catalyst” share the same etymological prefix, kata—the night, every bit as joyful as teaching rhetoric and logic at Fresno City College—and on top of all that awesome, I turned in one of the two contracts I still had in our mailbox;

Now I just need to submit my Fall 2018 contract to FCC tomorrow;

Then meet with Fresno Unified about subbing Thursday;

And my teaching career will be re-aligned again…

Lifeview 👠 Don’t Stagnate; Always Move 👟

Meanwhile, I’m still working on responding to philosophical ideas as part of my “Chapter 2: Compass” DYL critical analysis… when I was supposed to start my journey into “Chapter 3: Wayfinding” yesterday.

Part of the issue is the nature of “Chapter 3: Wayfinding”… I need to design projects, templates, scaffolds, etc. to act as guide posts in my odyssey quest, and while I’ve been working on it, I’m still only prewriting, tinkering, playing;

But I could still do myself the favor of moving on, rather than stagnating in “Chapter 2: Compass.”

S’omorrow, I’ll change the direction of the blog  to asking questions, or posing problems, in preparation for “Chapter 4: Getting Unstuck.” It’ll be good to lay out the problems on my mind now, rather than later, then return to Chapter 3: Wayfinding, so I can let the ideas saturate, remove my emotional attachment from them, and freely brainstorm solutions when it’s time for really diving into “Chapter 4: Getting Unstuck.”

It’s a good plan. And I think I’ve dwelt in Philosophy Land enough, at least until I get the wild hair to regress into Workview and Lifeview writing again.

🥁 Aaand now, Ladies and Gentlemen! 🥁 last dive into reflecting about teaching…

Reframing 🏊‍♀️ Emoticons for Traditional Grading 💦

In all of this, I’ve remained 🤠🤣
because I’ve been trying to 💎💍 delicate thoughts about

how ✅✅ has nothing to do with
assigning a letter (a beef grade) to a 🐮👩‍🎓🐂👨‍🎓🐮…

Isn’t a “🥇,” “🥈,” and “🥉”
a different 👑—a different 🔬& 🔭—for every 👨‍🎓👩‍🎓?

🤸‍♂️🤸‍♀️, when I bring up this dilemma,
I often hear this 💯💯 counterargument:

Grading in 🚍👥👥👥👥👥👥👥🚍
is the process of applying 💯〽💯
of 👶👧👩👱‍♀️ levels of achievement in 👨‍🏫.

In other words, a 💯is a measure
of how well a 👨‍🎓👩‍🎓does

against the backdrop of 💯〽💯
expectations within a 👨‍🏫,

is essential 👔⚖👔
for the 👨‍🏫 + 👩‍⚖️👨‍🔬👨‍🚀relationship

to function in the
👰🤵🤰👨‍👨‍👦👨‍👩‍👧‍👧🌁🌃🗽🌞⭐☄🌀🌠
scheme of things.

Do you really believe
the moon is not there
when you are not
looking at it? —Albert Einstein

Teaching Philosophy 💟 Counterargument to Tradition 💌

I get where this thought process comes from…
How do we guarantee everyone is learning 👩‍⚕️👨‍🌾👨‍🚀 stuff,

without following lists of the 👩‍⚕️👨‍🌾👨‍🚀 stuff
they should be learning?—and without 💯

lining perfectly with the 💯〽💯 methods,
how can we guarantee no tampering with data?

Therefore, for the sake of
👰🤵🤰👨‍👨‍👦👨‍👩‍👧‍👧🌁🌃🗽🌞⭐☄🌀🌠,

we should treat grading as a 🐮👩‍🎓🐂👨‍🎓🐮 process,
not as a 👑—variable, 🔬& 🔭—👨‍🎓👩‍🎓process.


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Consider supporting me on Patreon.
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you not only help me add more
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Posted in Overdrive, Philosophies

Emoticons about Grading, Part II ✌

I’m still learning how to use the emoticon keyboard on my PC. Not sure why I’m not just writing my blog posts on my iPad Pro. 21st century problems.

It’s been raining frequently. I wanted to plant loofah seeds today, but I didn’t get around to it yet, and I’ve already bathed. I leave in an hour to teach at College of the Sequoias…

But hey, seems like the loofah doesn’t go outside for two more weeks anyway…

…If it weren’t scorching Fresno. That’s why we’re the fruit basket of California.

½ Fiction 🤰 August 1985 🤱

I’ll plant my loofah tomorrow. I can always move the grow pot inside, and flip on the grow lights, if loofah can’t handle August heat. Hell, I can barely handle August. On August 2nd, 1985, when my mom when into labor, and I crawled out of of her, I only meant to tell her to turn the damn air conditioning on.

Once Upon a Time 👎 Emoticon Story of Grading 👎

I have a story 🐱‍🚀🐱‍💻 as anecdotal evidence
of the power of grading re-framing;

a story 🐱‍🐉🐱‍👤 about a 4th year English professor
becoming an emergency credentialed SPED math high school teacher

and falling into belly-of-the-🐋🐋
grading situations like:

  • struggling to understand assignments, and let me 😵🧐 you, 
    long ago, in 🦄🐲 years, I had the same experience
    as a graduate student
    learning how to be a professor;
    and it shook more emotions out of me,
    and took more sleepness nights from me
    than any the other graduate students
    seemed to suffer
    at the time;
    learning how to teach
    continued 💎💍-mining
    👶👧-depth issues out of me for months,
    my life acting
    like a 🐧🐧, arms flailing everywhere.
  • then replacing that gaping chasm
    of 😭😰 with fear, a 🦍🐒 fear
    that you will be 🛒📉 again,
    that you will be 😭😰 again,
    like that traumatic echo from your first 🚗🌌,
    until you are 🐛🦋
    all the bins in your office
    in color-coded labels
    with Washi tape,
    glue sticks,
    & gel pens;
  • all-nighters looming over student essays, because
    I have important 3am 👩‍🏫👨‍🏫 to contribute
    to their 👨‍🎓👩‍🎓 experiences,
    like I’ve got authentic stuff to say
    and only 😀😉🤩🙃😑😶😥 to say it with,

and of course, I’ve endured four years of 🦃🦃
with double-spaced 🐛🐛essays on my list of ✅✅ tonight.

Workview 🤨 Respectfully Disagree, Part II 🤒

When I’m gradingI’m thinking about this,
and I’m doing meaningful business like:

  • critically analyzing a student’s opinions, and how they defend those opinions, so I can instruct them how to write in a rich (i.e., fulfilling) and effective (i.e., convincing) way;
  • questioning a student’s opinions, if they haven’t questioned them already (i.e., making sure the hill they’re willing to die on represents a belief system they’re willing to die for);
  • writing comments on student papers that I intend to use to personalize their next in-class composition book entry, so I can guide them to that rich, effective, & value-driven life;
  • preparing things to offer students—either as a class, or as individuals, in casual one-on-one conversations that I’m mostly sure we’ll have—to help them fashion a reliable, thorough map of where they’re going: the industries and majors that pique their curiosity; the nooks and crannies their interests drive them to explore; the people they ought to Google; the books they ought to read; other college classes they ought to take.

I do these things not out of pay, (because the pay is insanely low,) but out of fulfilling a purposeful place in my community: to educate and counsel.

So I do as much as I need to effectively educate and counsel,
not to effectively quack, “That’s not my job,”
not to effectively quack, “That’s beyond my workload,”
and I consider anything beyond my hourly pay
a charity, like volunteer work I choose to offer
weekly to children who need extra care.

I like to think I teach for good reasons.

Grading shouldn’t take the brunt
of mid-management public education
taking advantage of teachers with good intentions,
taking advantage of teachers’ moral explanations
to live near poverty line
with graduate degrees, publications, honors,
and passion in spades;

grading should be an organic process
of the teacher sharing a conversation with the student,
with the administrator all but removed,
even the classroom walls
and the physical wall
erased;

the sharing of a virtual conversation
through an essay
a mathematical puzzle
or a computer theorum

so students can learn how the wondrous human brain
communicates in infinite ways
beyond standardized curriculum’s expectations.

This is the mindset I have when I grade,
when I listen to a student’s story
through their essays,

when I consider how to nurture their strengths,
smooth edges on weaknesses,
and reassure them, writing isn’t about grammar,

as I collect enough coin
from the Golden State shavings of taxes
to eat beef once a week, chicken other days,
with the occasional treat of beer and pizza,
just enough pay for happiness, then charity
for the hours worked;

as I get paid at the community college for 3 hours a week,
then work 15 hours a week,
or I offer 12 volunteer hours a week to the community—

Of course,

I’m glad to volunteer helping people who want to learn;
it doesn’t really matter if you’re my student,
a person confused on a side walk,
or a forum conversation;

and given I personalize my classroom instruction,
it’s mighty difficult to not care about my students
as people who need writing help.

I love classrooms on a macro level,
the way I love the people in Fresno
for being friendlier than the people in Irvine,
the way I love California for providing enough variables
in landscape and weather to build
entire fantasy world experiences
out of weekend trips, the way I love

the autism gene for making me
hypersensitive enough to appreciate
my five senses in a unique way
as I stand in the mists of a waterfall.

I love students and the teaching process wholesomely,
and so if my grading is not equally joyful,

bursting-at-the-seams purposeful
to the point I can re-frame all those extra work hours as charity,

then my grading technique must not be working.
This is the only way I know how to grade.


https://www.patreon.com/kourtnie
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. 🎁