Archive for December, 2016

In the winter, there are better places to be enjoying

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter a delayed start in the cold climes where winter has finally descended in snow and cold, we ended up in warm Arizona on Saturday evening.  While we were waiting in the airport I said that we were delayed while using up time on Facebook. My friend asked which airline I was flying, turns out he knew someone who was delayed at our destination because of a suspicous package on the plane. They were all de-planed before they boarded and ended up at our terminal with the plane we were to take back from whence they started. Small world.  Of course the clerk behind the counter at OUR location didn’t suggest that it was a security risk but only told us about our 1 1/2 hour delay. In truth we were 2 hours delayed but it was so warm and sunny at 4:00 p.m. that we didn’t mind. The three hour flight was uneventful.

We wanted to get to Mesa so that we could celebrate my 97 year old aunt’s birthday that very day.  Missed seeing my one cousin but got to have a nice meal at Olive Garden with my other cousin and his wife.  We stayed at their home and saw how they had really made a nice new place for my Aunt Alta.  When we had heard they were converting their garage and part of their living area into her little place, I was thinking rustic.  Turns out that they used top of the line everything and she has a cozy little home that is a doorway away from her son and daughter-in-law…and ALL the grandkids and her great grandkids as well. She is a rich lady.

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So after going to church the next day with Alta to help her celebrate her 97th b.d. with her church family, we took off for parts south of us to be at a place where we have stayed for the last four Decembers.  This way we get to see Laura and Steve with their four year old Andy and also 40 year old Liam.  We went out to a Mongolian restaurant last night but the night before we went to a farm festival with walls and walls of haybales and many more Christmas lights and decorations. We took a train ride and then we had good talks on our way there and back.

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Our time to celebrate but I am still in high gear mode from home and have been sending out e-mails and other information because they had been put to the side while I was in the throes of teaching and finally getting grades submitted.  I realize that my students are still probably taking their final exams this week but I push to get papers done earlier so that they have the freedom to study for their other courses once their final presentations are done.

My 35 students had chosen different topics for their fourth research paper and I learned a LOT from some of them.  I’ve read before about horse slaughter and how that is a good thing rather what the options are for dying or older horses since the law passed in 2008.  Another student wrote about land and oil rights in North Dakota, another about raw milk. Every semester I get a student athlete who believes that college football players should be paid and there will usually be other topics that are controversial as well. One took on the electoral college which is a relevant theme now with our elections being over, but he did NOT show the counterclaim to his claim that this should be abolished.

In any case, this should be my vacation and I am enjoying the outdoor pool and also the hot tub but I can’t seem to get into that mode of relaxing and unwinding until some other projects are completed.  Okay, I should really enjoy this place that I am at right now because it will be all too soon that I will be back again to the cold temps and grading more student papers for next semester.

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Well, would you look at that!

…end of the year already!  Indeed, we have already turned the 2016 calendar to the last month of December and that will go into overdrive with all the activities that have to happen before the end of the year. I just started having my comp students do their powerpoint presentations today, four of them.  They were all good, however, two read from their note cards, one had good eye contact using a Prezi presentation and the last one did the best. However, I didn’t agree with his topic or the position he took. Just the same, he did an outstanding job, he is my top student in that class.

Then afterwards I met with a student who is failing and it would seem that she does NOT quite understand some of the important APA formatting rules that I had already gone over with her in Paper 3. I’m flummoxed by how some of these students seem like normal, nice kids but they do NOT seem to connect with key concepts.  I found out that I am not the only one experiencing this as a teacher to these freshmen students. Other teachers have commented on the same thing.  Okay, that means these students that were born just before the turn of the century have something else going on in their upbringing? Or is it their education?

We have students from all over the country and I have another class with mainly Korean and Chinese students.  My three Korean students are getting top grades and they understand the concepts I have given them.  Getting back to my one student who is failing, she may just give this class a drop and do it over again next fall.  In any case, she told me she is not doing well in her other classes either.  I think she needs to just focus on those classes so she doesn’t fail on all of them as well.

I have ONE more week of teaching and then I need to start working on my historical grant that I was awarded and write on things relevant to my region of the state. Not much is known about our farmers working the rich agricultural soil. Unfortunately, we are so out of the way for people 4-5 hours from us to the south. I kind of understand and can relate to what the people in Kazakhstan must feel like with the rest of the world. I know they are hyper sensitive to either being ignored or not given the respect they should have with their long traditions and rich history. In a small way, that is what it feels like to be from this area of the “fly-over” country where our voice is not heard or at least disregarded by those elites in a crowded city setting who are the “big shots” and seemingly call all the shots.

Okay, enough of my grousing, I should really turn in for the evening. I have Christmas cards that I am writing out. Today I mailed out about 35-40 and I have about 25 more to write.  My husband has about 60 of his own to write but he is on a different schedule than me.  I have packing and Christmas presents to put together.  At the end of the month we will drive with my folks to see my brother and his family in Wisconsin and celebrate his birthday on Dec. 31st.

More about my Christmas vacation plans later.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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