Frightened, Excited, Overwhelmed, Underprepared or . . .

Writing

Good mid-afternoon from Starbucks in the Library,

I have turned in my old tablet that was my colleague for my first four years here. Now I have a new tablet, which is sleek, high-powered and terrifically sensitive (I am talking about the mouse pad and not its feelings). I thought things were backed up on the P drive and I am realizing that I might have lost some things. I am not sure what to do about all of that. While I do not think I have lost anything all that paramount, it will still take digging some of it out of BOLT. For instance, I think I have lost my prior work for my Writing in the Professions or Writing for Multiple Media courses. The syllabi are probably on file and certainly in BOLT, at least for the last three years. I know they are going to dump things off the BOLT server, so I am going to have to manage that issue quite soon. It is a good thing that has been postponed.

Today in my classes I asked how many of the students in my Foundations classes felt a bit overwhelmed or shell-shocked. The vast majority raised their hands. It is not uncommon. While I do believe we are a quality institution, I do believe that it could be worse had that person decided to attend, for instance, an Ivy League school. That is not to say that there are not some here who have the ability to teach there and probably thrive. What is, however, evident is the realization that it seems our public school system and parents do not good a very good job of preparing them for what is coming. Today in class I addressed the issue of grades and my philosophical premise that college is about a process, but, even more importantly, the product. So many times I have heard a student lament, particularly after receiving a particularly low grade, “But I tried really hard.” Implying that effort is somehow more important than whatever it is they handed in. That is why I took specific time to address that issue.

In my Technical Writing class, I dealt with the reality of a job market that is still sluggish in recovering after the “great recession”. Figures like “450 people applying for every job openning” is certainly an issue, and even more frightening when one is a senior and looking at their last semester or year at school and they have little or no experience. The idea that someone should do an internship, and I do believe they should be paid, or two internships is a significant issue, particularly when many positions have a line about experience.

As I work toward the continuance of the day, I have work yet to accomplish. I am not finished, or more accurately, I am still tweaking the syllabus for the Writing for the Internet class. This class is so interesting, but  because things are so rapidly changing, it seems I can never catch up. It is hard to believe I have already been back from California for more than a week. The days seem to speed up, not slow down. This is another one of those wise things of which my father reminded me.

Well, overall I am pleased with my classes and my students. It appears that it is going to be a good semester.

Thanks for reading.

Dr. Martin

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