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Dec. 4th, 2016

For LJ Idol -- That One Friend

I"ve known some horrible people.Collapse )

Nov. 22nd, 2016

dino head

The struggle is real, for lj idol

Longer ago than I care to remember, I dropped out of college. After three years, I got my life together (well... as together as it gets), applied for financial aid and registered for classes at one of the major universities in Western Pennsylvania.

About a week after classes started, I got a letter saying that the university had pulled my financial aid and was going to charge me out of state tuition because I was clearly not a resident of the state.

I was confused. No, I wasn't born in Pennsylvania, but my family moved there when I was little. So, I decided to make an appointment to see my financial aid counselor.

About a week later, I walked into the financial aid office. I was sent to my financial aid advisor's "office" (it was a glorified closet), and my advisor (let's call him "Jim"), walked in:

Me: I do not understand why my financial aid was revoked.
Jim: Well, your were born in Illinois...
Me: Yes, but I've lived in Pennsylvania since I was three.
Jim: And there were other irregularities...
Me: I graduated high school in this state.
Jim: Yes..., but...
Me: My entire work history is in this state.
Jim: And that's where the irregularities are.
Me: ... what?
Jim: You were unemployed for about six months not so long ago.
Me: Yes... but I'm not now.
Jim: Well, we think it;s odd that you didn't go to Illinois when you lost your job...
Me: If everyone who was unemployed left the state, you would have a zero unemployment rate.
Jim: But YOU were unemployed and you were born elsewhere.
Me: (starting to lose my temper) So?
Jim: Well, we think you returned to Illinois.
Me: (sarcastically) You're right. All native born Illinoians, when unemployed, return to Illinois, like salmon, swimming upstream to spawn.
Jim: ... It's irregular.
Me: How? If I lived THERE, wouldn't I go to school THERE? Why would I come back here?
Jim: to take advantage of in state tuition...
Me: You know what? You're right. You caught me. I moved to Chicago, but fly in here three days a week to take classes.
Jim: That's not...
Me: On days when the plane is running late, I have it buzz the campus and I parachute out. Perhaps you've seen me?
Jim: That's absurd!
Me: And that's my point. This whole thing is ridiculous. You need to fix it. NOW.
Jim: Your attitude isn't helping.
Me: Neither is your incompetence.* Is your supervisor available?

*Yes, I know I was not helping my cause at this point, but, damn I was angry.

I talked to the supervisor who said that he would fix the issues.

A week later, I received ANOTHER notification from the university about my out-of-state status, so I went back to the office and got nowhere. After that, I went there every day until it was fixed. I was there so often that the secretaries had my id number memorized.

It took a month, but my in-state status was re-instated.

I will say this: after going through all of that, I went to EVERY SINGLE CLASS and did all the work. Well, most of the work.

Sometimes, you DO need the struggle.

For what it is worth, the university pulled this on me every semester for two years, alhough I never had to deal with anyone quite as dense as Jim again.

Nov. 10th, 2016

dino head

Introduction

I teach communication skills (usually Voice and Diction) at a community college.

I feel that I need to challenge my students. As a result, for one of my weekly recordings, I assign the St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V.

We went over the text in detail in class on Tuesday, and the following exchange happened.

Student1: Why are you doing this to us?
Me: As a professor, my job is to challenge you. This is a challenging text.
Student2: But this looks hard!
Me: That's because it is hard. That's why we're spending time going over it today.
Student3: Why can't you give us something easy?
Me: If I did that, you wouldn't learn.
St3: But I want an A...
Me: Then EARN IT.
Student1: I don't know the words... and how do you pronounce... (student mangles "Gloucester")
Me: Then look those words up. And it's "Gloucester."
St1: That pronunciation makes no sense...
Me: I know. Just accept it and move on.
St2: I think you're being mean.
Me: Okay. As long you do the recording, you can think whatever you like.
St2: I'm just giving my opinion.
Me: And I'm telling you that it's irrelevant. You have an assignment to do. So, do it.
St2: But... don;t you care about how I feel...?
Me: Nope. Like I say every semester, I am a professor in a classroom, not a counselor at self-esteem camp. Your feelings don't matter to me.

I am not saying that all or even most of my students are like this, but some are.

Oct. 31st, 2016

dino head

LJ Idol Season Ten

It's baaaa-aaaack!

It'll be my fourth? fifth? run.

Let's do this!
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