August 25, 2008

You Weren't Using This - Were You?

Darling daughter sends this pic of her kitty with the caption...

This WAS the grocery bag...

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 11:56 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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August 20, 2008

One for Tonight

I've been online way too much lately, so I'm trying to get off early tonight and read a REAL BOOK!  Yes, they still print them and I love books. 

However, I ran across this today on the art of being a good student.

When I go to a workshop; I’m there for one reason—to learn from an absolute expert on a topic. But in a couple of the workshops I’ve attended lately, one of the students literally “Hijacked” the class...

Yes, it goes without saying... read the whole thing! 

It reminded me of two teachers I had one semester.  Which means I have to blog it.

It was on my return to college to get my computer science degree.  I had to retake College Algebra and Trigonometry because... well, it had been about 10 years since I had the original classes and I am NOT Einstein!  It would have been a real bear to go directly to Calculus - even though I "technically" had the credits.  I don't even have to speculate, I would certainly have flunked my first Calculus class without the refresher classes.

The teacher in the College Algebra class was a woman a few years away from retirement.  Definitely NOT a people person.  She was abrupt, prickly, and single-minded.  Her entire goal was to "finish the book".

Toward this end she ran the class with an iron fist.  It didn't bother me a bit.  I was 30, married, with 2 kids and a dog at home.  I had nothing to prove and no parties to attend, no worries about boys to distract me. 

I did have a goal.  Get my degree.  I figured the only way to do it was to get as much out of the more basic math classes as possible.  This teacher was more than ready to oblige.

The teacher in the Trig class was also an older man, very genial, everyone loved him.  'nuff said.

This was a Community College (think glorified High School and you will have the right idea).  The kids there were used to manipulating the hell out of the teachers, slowing things down and winding them up in silly lengthy explanations that did not further the class in any way. 

I saw this happen numerous times, but most often in my Trig class where we wasted endless time in class with him patiently answering silly questions.  Yes, they were manipulating the entire thing and he let them get away with it.  While I found him a very nice person, and even a decent teacher, I also found the experience totally frustrating because he would not take control of the class.

I was paying to get the information I needed to continue on to the next level. In math classes that is supremely important.  If you miss some tidbit on the life of Shakespeare, it will not impact your next class on Women's Lit of the 20th Century.  If you miss information on factoring polynomials or solving parametric equations - you WILL have problems in the more advanced math classes...

The best response to this manipulation I ever heard from a teacher came directly from the College Algebra teacher... this prickly woman trying to beat a modicum of math into the  hard heads of idiot children who could have cared less. 

Naturally there were a couple of kids who had to give it a go in the Algebra class.  They waited until about the 3rd or 4th class.  She had started to write a proof on the board and someone had the temerity to interrupt her.  She was lecturing and writing the proof as she went (first time I ever understood proofs I do remember that). 

When she was interrupted the first time, she let the person ask the question and then said, "See me after class."  That was it.

She turned back to the board to continue on and was naturally interrupted again.  Whereupon she turned and looked at the class and said, "I have too much information to give you to stop and answer every single question during class time. We will finish the book.  If you have questions, I have office hours after each class - that's what the office hours are for.  Do not interrupt me again."

You should have seen the looks on their faces.  Poor children, no one had ever dared cross them in such a way before.  It was all I could do to keep from bursting out laughing at them. 

We did finish the book.  And you know what... I used Every.Single.Thing.She.Taught. 

Yes, at various times over the next few years, every bit of that Algebra turned up in my advanced math classes.  I was never more glad to have had a teacher who insisted on getting through the entire book.   It's also the only math class I've ever been in where we finished everything.

Oh, the Trig class... we did not finish the book.  Of course the information in the chapters we didn't finish, I had to learn at the same time I was learning the Calculus involving those functions. 

I got a B in Algebra and an A in Trig.

Guess which one I considered to be the better class. 

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 10:17 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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August 03, 2008

Yesterday's Fun and Games

I meant to blog this last night, but forgot I needed to load and process the pictures I took.  That always takes a while, even though there aren't nearly as many pics as when I went to the botanic garden.

So let's start with the coughing.  I have got a cough that is driving me distracted. I don't know where it came from, but there it is.  I don't feel particularly bad - only tired because it's keeping me from sleeping. Sheesh. Such is life though.

Yesterday morning, beloved husband and I packed up our minivan and headed out to see Sissy and Tuck.  The Eastern Salt Company directly across the street from their house and from whence Sissy derives many many wonderful pictures, was having a festival.

When we arrived it was to find Sissy, Tuck, Sissy's sister Suzi and Suzi's son Chris all waiting for us on the side porch.  It was wonderful to finally meet Suzi and her son is delightful.  We had such a terrific time.

After chatting a bit we realized we better head across the street so we didn't miss the Coast Guard vertical drop demo.  It was the highlight of the day.  There are pictures up over at my Smugmug site along with captions to take you through the afternoon at the festival.  It was great fun... well, except for the chick in the yellow hat who stepped directly in front of my camera just as I was about to take a picture of the Coast Guard guy getting to the water.  Sheesh - she never even looked. 

Afterward we went back over to Sissy and Tuck's place where Sissy served us some delicious dishes from her cold turkey cook book.  We sat out on the side porch to eat and watched the storm rolling in along with the planes flying overhead on their way to Logan (apparently they only fly over when the wind is in the Southeast).  It was all wonderful fun. 

When the storm hit we made a dash inside where we sat and talked while the rain pounded.  I was honored to have the cute kitty Baby Cakes stroll across my lap for some petting time.

Then it was time to head home, but the fun wasn't over yet!  I was designated driver for the ride home.  We got directions from Tuck on the best way to get back to the highway and all started out well.  Then as I was merging into traffic on the Tobin Bridge I noticed the ABS light was on... how odd - I wasn't braking and it didn't feel as if the brakes were on.  Then I looked at the dashboad... every dial was at zero!  Just as if the car was not running. 

Holy crap that scared me.  I had visions of the van coming to a halt in the middle of the bridge or in one of the several tunnels we had to traverse in order to get home!  Oddly enough the van seemed to be driving just fine.  I had no idea how fast I was going, but there wasn't anything to indicate it would stop.

So, we turned off everything that might be a drain on the battery (the radio, the blower, the GPS) and I stayed as far to the right as I could.  We were about half way home when suddenly - everything sprang back to life.  I had a speedometer, and gauges... the ABS light went off. 

All in all it was a unique thing - thank goodness!  We'll have to get it checked out by the local mechanic and see if it's worth fixing or if we need a new vehicle. 

To top off the day - we headed to a local restaurant for dinner where my husband ordered a chicken sandwich and was presented with a hamburger instead... figures. 

Thank goodness Chelsea was so much fun.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 03:46 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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