Friday, July 11, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #14--A Random List

Thirteen Random Snippets from Last Week

What do you mean it's Friday?

It can't be Friday yet because I haven't even typed up my Thursday Thirteen for this week!


This is what happens when blogging is only in the top ten of a girl's priority list. You see, life happens, and then blogging gets bumped!

Really...grading papers happened. Ninety of them suckers. In five days. All at least 600 words long. A significant portion of them requiring helpful comments to explain the grade of B, C, D, or F.

I stopped explaining the A's. Now I just say thank you for following my instructions. Because honestly, that seems to be all it ever really comes down to. There's some kind of correlation between a student's ability to process complicated instructional material and the ability to produce readable (and enjoyable!) prose. That said, of course I am overgeneralizing. But nobody could convince me of that as I yelled, "No, no no! Why didn't you listen to what I said in class about this very type of thing?" at more than several of the papers that kept me company over the Fourth of July weekend (and beyond).

So yeah. There was that. And getting a new job at my favorite health food store! Woohoo!

So here are a few random tips or, at least, some things related to the grading/teaching I did last week that kept me so busy I look like a dork being late with my Thursday posting...and also a short list (can't come up with 13 yet) of substances to avoid if you want to start changing your diet from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to the Gorging Lusciously American Diet (GLAD). Ok, so I made up the second one, but it works I think.

  1. When you are asked to perform a specific task in a specific way, it's usually not a good time to decide that the way you've always done it before must be better. Learning is changing, so be brave enough to change. At least a little. Ok? Please?

  2. Blowing "word smoke" at the person who must evaluate your actual performance only makes you look like a smoke blower in the end. And most people aren't particularly keen on smoke blowers. Actions speak louder than words, as the pat expression goes, so if you say you are going to make something better, please be certain that you do.

  3. When someone tells you up front that the next five weeks or so are going to run "like a freight train" (ie. rough and fast), and that if you don't keep up, you'll feel like you were run over by it, chances are, you should keep up with the task schedule. Getting run over by the freight train and then complaining that it hurt is kind of like whining. And whiners are appreciated about as much as smoke blowers are.

  4. Oh, and similarly, don't wait until the very end of the line to acknowledge that you have been run over, expecting your injuries to be miraculously healed (is this analogy getting old yet?). I'm not Jesus. Take this valuable, yet painful lesson and go and sin no more, ok?

  5. When you catch yourself complaining that the world runs as it normally does, you need to take a step back and stop taking everything so personally. That's my lesson. I know that there will be casualties on each train ride, er, semester, but it still isn't any easier to watch it happen just the way I say it will. I have to remember that it's merely a matter of cause and effect. I'm responsible for so few of the causes in a student's life that I just can't make it all better, all the time.

  6. Grading sucks. As much as it sucks to be graded sometimes, I think it sucks worse to be grading. Thirty nervous people hand me their work, and now I have 30 chances to say the just the right thing that will enhance learning. Or not. Ugh. I'd much rather just help them write better and give them a pass/fail at the end. I'm not strong enough to be the gatekeeper (or the keymaster...hehe), and so, I now have a new job.

  7. Let's be GLAD now. Please, please, please stop eating these things. They are so not good for your body, and many of them are linked to the current epidemic in diseases like: obesity, diabetes, cancer, and the big one...heart disease (which kills more than all other diseases combined). Ok ready? It's a short list, but when you start checking your labels, you'll be hard pressed to eat much that comes in a package. I tell you only because I care.

  8. Partially-hydrogenated oils. This is in almost EVERYTHING in a box or bag. Start reading those labels! There are a few brands of crackers and chips that don't use these. That's IT!

  9. High fructose corn syrup. If it doesn't have partially-hydrogenated oil in it, your packaged food probably has this instead. I only found one...ONE...kind of bread in a bag that didn't have HFCS in it: Mrs Baird's Sugar-Free whole wheat bread. And that included all those fancy $4 a loaf breads that LOOK like they are better. So, know that there are certainly more like the Mrs. Baird's, but be sure to look. This stuff is a sign that you're being manipulated into eating something that is no good for you.

  10. Sugar (processed), Aspartame, Sucralose, know...all that "unnatural" sweet stuff. Try raw sugar, honey (local), agave nectar, real maple syrup (have you read the ingredients in the fake stuff? oy vie!) know...the "natural" sweet stuff.

  11. I know I'm going to be called unpatriotic for this one, but I'm not saying you can NEVER have the's just that the quantity in the SAD(iet) is so so so high. Ok, so, carbonated beverages? As in soda? (Just think though, it's got that "unnatural" sweet stuff in it too!) It's just a suggestion. And one my husband, who used to drink nothing but Diet Coke, has finally taken (and it only took me ten years to convince HIM!)

  12. Table salt/sodium. This is one nobody really talks about anymore, but all signs still point to it being something your body doesn't process well because it's no longer in its "natural" state. Try some sea salt instead (it really does taste better, and your body does need some salt...your insides are bathed in saline solution after all).

  13. And lastly, the two substances that are the most beloved: caffeine and alcohol. Yeah I know. Now I'm a quack. Alcohol seems much easier to regulate than caffeine. And I really have nothing against them, although I can't have caffeine because I have some super-sensitivity to it (in other words, if you wanted to kill me, you might try pouring Red Bull or Monster down my throat), but I'm just sayin'. These two are just not that "healthy" for you in large doses. AND, if you're megadosing while eating the other stuff on the list, well, it just all works together to cut down your health and longevity.

Well that may not be the most satisfying list. Kind of a downer I suspect. But hey, when that's what the week was like, what's a girl to do? I guess I'm still in "teacher mode," only, that's starting to feel like "stick-in-the-mud" mode. So onward and upward and maybe I taught you something new, maybe you sympathized with me (or my students), and maybe I just got to blow off some steam and you were kind enough to be a friend and listen.

Now that thought makes me smile. Hope you have a great weekend!

Muah! =)

© Nicole J. Williams, 2008, all rights reserved.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Well, it is Friday. I think the reason that we get surprised by this is that our metabolism is slowing (happens to us all) and the world goes by faster and faster. Remember when it took forever before Christmas rolled around and how we really wanted our birthdays to come? I blame this passage of time at warp speed on hormones or on adrenals. It could also be that you do such a thorough job each week that there is little time left between columns, Nicole. (-:
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Author of the award-winning This Is the Place, a coming-of-age story set in a repressive time and place

The Gal Herself said...

I liked your #4. It's good for students, and it serves us in the workplace, too. I have found that it's always better to raise your hand and ask for help as soon as you know that you need it. Teachers, professors and coworkers, too, tend to be understanding. Thanks for sharing and thanks for visiting my TT.

Chelle Y. said...

You did a great job with your list. Don't worry, there are times when thinking of a list is difficult, but I always find ideas from reading other TTs. Most people do not mind if your "steal" their ideas.

Thanks for visiting!

SandyCarlson said...

I enjoyed this list. As a paper grader, I can relate to much of this. Amen, sister!

Random Ramblings said...

ur number 2 stuck in me specially because i so love salty foods! hope i can get rid of the habit soon or try sea salt instead. thanks for the info sandy =)

hope you can drop by and check my TT for this week: my favorite tv shows in the 80s

Random Ramblings said...

sorry, i should have said nichole, instead of sandy =)

Camellia said...

Congrats on the new job. That should give you lots of food for thought or thought food. Aren't we students all of our lives? are we just not listening? Good reminders.

Tuppence said...

My body can't tolerate caffeine either, so I know whereof you speak.

Great list.