Sunday, December 01, 2019

Random bullets of as the semester draws to a close

How to keep everything going?
  • Shed some things. I unfriended (first time doing so!) on FB a toxic, performatively woke, and mansplainy colleague and FB, though still bad, is better because of it. 
  • Think about what you're doing re: student evals. Northern Clime has a lot of suggestions for bribing encouraging students to fill out the online evaluation forms, since evaluation numbers completely predictably fell off a cliff now that there's not a single time and place to do them. Right now it's the people who really like or hate you who'll do them voluntarily. But given the level of gender and racial bias in student evals, the subject of numerous studies, should we be propping up a system that is already stacked not in our favor? Especially when people think you bring this up not because of inequity but because your students must hate you? (For the record, they don't. I bring it up out of principle and then have to listen to bro-bragging about others' eval numbers, but I'm senior faculty and if I don't speak up, who will?)
  • Shed some more things.  I could barely make myself care about MLA citation format nine years ago, and since MLA changed to its latest system, I don't care at all. Do I painstakingly correct their MLA format? Or do I give them an example and give them credit if they attempted it? The latter. 
  • Give yourself a break.  It dawned on me, as I was standing in a passport line last week, that this seemed really familiar, because it was: I had gone to two international conferences in the space of a month. At that point I figured it's okay to be tired. 
  • Work on the things you can't shed. Like Christian in Pilgrim's Progress, I am lugging burdens, not of pride or anything, but of writing projects that I promised to complete in some insane rash moment months ago. I can't shed them, but I can get them done. 
Happy Thanksgiving!


nicoleandmaggie said...

DC1's teacher is extremely anal about MLA and for the first time he asked me to look over his latest assignment which is a list of works cited... and I was wondering why it looked different than I remembered (I think I last used it as a student in 2000). Did I really just not remember MLA after all these years of doing Chicago and APA and AER? Hearing they changed some stuff makes me feel better.

gwinne said...

I used to find MLA entirely logical. I didn't mind the second-to-last iteration, when they added 'print' or 'web' or such. This last version doesn't actually seem like MLA anymore...

So I mostly use the old version of MLA in drafts, because I've internalized it, and then switch (painfully) to whatever style guide a particular journal wants.

Too much brain space.

Glad you're in a moment of letting go (coincidentally, we watched Frozen yesterday, but Tiny Boy will not let me sing along...)

undine said...

nicoleandmaggie--MLA 7, which wasn't great (with "Print" after everything) came out in 2009. Apparently that annoyed me back in the day: MLA 8, which is basically Chicago style lite, reintroduced a lot of bad old practices, like citing a journal differently depending on whether it's numbered by volume or by issue. (That distinction went away, and we all said hooray, but we rejoiced too soon.)

Frankly, I have MLA 8 in front of me and still have so many questions that aren't answered it in it that I gave up on it. Fun fact: the MLA people themselves literally couldn't answer when I asked them at MLA during a session devoted to discussing it, so DC1's teacher could certainly back off.

gwinne--that's what I do, too, because MLA 8 has so.many.commas except where you'd think they'd logically be. BTW I am always up for belting out a solid rendition of "Let It Go," which should totally be the anthem of women academics.

undine said...

nicoleandmaggie--there've been 3 MLA iterations since 2000: MLA 6 (2003), MLA 7 (2009), and MLA 8 (2016). Too many!

Servetus said...

The vast majority of my students now (97 percent) are majors in fields that use APA. So I tell them to use whichever system they use in their major and stick with it, and if they seem to be making a good faith effort, I call it good enough. The only ones I correct painstakingly are the history majors, and that only (as I inform them) because they will have to keep using it in all their courses in the major.