Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sunmer and Fun

I've been quiet for awhile. The end of the semester has its own set of challenges: fielding student e-mail messages and convincing them that yes, the grade that they received is the grade that they earned and the one I calculated; there is no gray area. I do not subjectively grade. I have grading rubrics for every assignment (something that none of my professors used when I was in undergrad); use a formula to calculate their final grades; and only round up grades according to how my many math teachers taught me. This way, I can eliminate as much bias as possible when I am assigning student's grades. Three weeks after the semester has ended, I think that I can stop checking my e-mail for student messages about grades for the summer.

My son is HOME!!!!!!! Yes, I am screaming. He's such a delightful young man, and he has had a very successful freshman year. He is far more disciplined than I was at his age, so I am very, very proud of him. He still hasn't found a summer job; so if any of you out there know of any summer positions any place in the U.S. please let me know. I've had to drag my son out of the house for fear that he wasn't getting enough vitamin D. He admitted to me that he was a bit depressed about not finding summer employment. I've given him a few strategies: like going door-to-door and inquiring about employment at all of the businesses in the neighborhood. We live between a strip mall and a town center. There must be no less than 50 businesses between the two venues; he should be able to secure some type of employment.

Yoga and hiking are going well. A good friend gave me a retro bicycle recently. So I'll be adding cycling to my exercise program as soon as a buy a helmet so that the Fairfax County police won't ticket me. Will start kayaking soon. The Sierra Club offers free kayaking and canoeing lessons every Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. I'm trying to make myself drive into the District soon because tonight is the first night for free canoeing and kayaking this season. I'm just waiting another hour or so to see what the weather holds for us. Thunderstorms are being forecasted, and we won't be in the water if a storm arises.

Went to my nephew's high school graduation; he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and did not even say anything; and did not stand up when the "Beta" club members were called. This sort of keen ability not to honor one's accomplishments runs in the family. I'm trying to get the younger generation not to be this way. For example, when my father retired, there was an acknowledgment/retirement luncheon that I did not know about. Perhaps this event still would not be part of my knowledge if I had not spied a U.S. flag some weeks later in my father's study. When I inquired about it, he told me with a great degree of reservation that it was the flag flown over the U.S. Capitol on the day he retired, and was given to him to honor his many years of service to the U.S. government. Okay, I felt really humble. I also wished that on some level he would have shared his accomplishments with his children (I don't doubt that he discussed them with my mom). But my dad raised us to understand that you always give your best effort, for doing so is about your integrity and has nothing to do with being acknowledged or receiving awards. So I suppose that my siblings, nieces and nephews, and I are the same as my dad. Therefore, I should not be surprised when my nephew does not stand to acknowledge that he is Phi Beta Kappa, or when a local fraternity acknowledges my son's high academic achievement and he refuses to attend the award ceremony, or when I have to be convinced to attend my own hooding ceremony. It is in our blood. Ultimately, the only one to judge my accomplishments is me, and I am, as my friend told me yesterday, hard on myself.

My nephew wants to be a stockbroker. My son just wants to finish undergrad; although he recently asked me questions about graduate school. I'm going back to U Mass-Boston to train as an instructional designer. I'm tired of online courses being 90% text based; there is too much technology available for these universities and colleges to upload only text and call it an "online course." It's a travesty and only addresses the needs of the most astute visual learners. If you are an aural learner, please avoid online classes. My goal is to mitigate this by learning not only to design but the psychology behind learning. Wish me luck. Wish my nephew and son success. They have so much energy and enthusiasm. And they are two very focused individuals!