Saturday, July 21, 2007

Random bullets of breaking the Internet fast

  • I've finished a whole week of the Internet fast, although I had to break it yesterday because of department business. After I got online yesterday before 5, though, I ended up just doing work: I not only cleared up a bunch of things on the to-do list but actually made inroads into . . . the Shame Pile.

    Do you have one of these, too? I heard this term once from a colleague and forthwith adopted it. The Shame Pile is for those items that are too far gone even for the to-do list. They're the ones that make you wince when you wake up at night, or when you're trapped (when driving, for example) and can't do anything about whatever it is you left undone. To get something off the Shame Pile made yesterday a red-letter day.
  • Ferule and Fescue has exactly nailed the disorientation and craziness that happens from too much non-conversation. Breaking the Internet fast yesterday and having all those conversations, even virtually, was a great mood-lifter.
  • As part of the Internet fast (one that I'm trying to keep), I'm trying to stay away from the Chronicle and related sites, but Chaser has an excellent post about a Chronicle article that I did take a look at. Apparently, reading syllabi qualifies you to know all about the professor, his or her classroom manner, and the level of concern for students. Quotations are preferred, and anything less than a 6,000-word syllabus means that you're an uncaring soul who deserves to fall into the fiery pits of rate my professors. I'm with Chaser on this one: be clear, be direct, be specific, and quit sacrificing trees and paper to your philosophical musings, which the students will either divine or not, as their inclinations guide them.

    Oh, and when students ask the question "What do I have to do to get an A in this class?" they don't always want to hear "Here are the criteria for an excellent essay, one of which is an interesting, well-argued analysis of a work." If a student is not getting an A in the class, which is often when this question gets asked, no amount of explanation, whether written on a syllabus or delivered in person, will suffice unless it comes attached to an A as a final grade.

    Lesboprof said...

    Yes, I dug into the shame pile myself and got one partially down! Congrats to you, as well!

    undine said...

    Isn't it a great feeling? Of course, there's still the rest of the pile to go . . .