Thursday, October 14, 2004

Yesterday as I speedwalked through piles of sand, broken curbs, and streets that are nothing but dug-up dirt on my way to an early session, my shopping cart threw a wheel. This is pretty bad, as it only had two to begin with. I also had a whole lot of materials and textbooks and whatnot in it, since dragging the cart is much easier than trying to carry it all, despite the aforementioned obstacles (and despite the "bag lady" comments from colleagues. Materialists!) Turns out it's a lot harder to drag a one-wheeled cart through piles of sand, broken curbs, and streets that are nothing but dug-up dirt, than one with two wheels.

Laugh all you want, but I bid on a pair of 8-inch lawnmower wheels on eBay. They were only 50c! Even with shipping, they'll only be a few bucks. You'd be surprised how few 8-inch wheels are out there (that aren't for some kind of non-loadbearing application).

Next week is the midterm for the class I teach. I think I may have written it a bit difficult, but it's hard for me to tell. Sometimes they know a lot more than I give them credit for, and other times they seem clueless about things that seem really basic and obvious to me. Today I gave them a one-sheet study guide for the midterm, featuring a two-column list of terms.

Then I told them that they are allowed to bring this sheet into the exam with notes on one side of it. (I also said if the writing is really tiny and fills the page, they are being way too obsessive about the exam!)

Now I wonder if I'm being too easy on them?? Earlier I worried I was being too hard.

Note to self: stop leaving boots, plastic bags of noodles, at other people's houses.


D said...

Generally I've found that exams are either of the "remember everything you can" or the "incredibly difficult application of knowledge to a problem" type. The latter tend to be open book so one can look up the odd thing, but without knowing what one is doing beforehand one would never have enough time to complete the exam. The first kind often come with a data sheet in my experience. Interesting you've chosen a middle ground.

So, what exactly are your lawnmower wheels for?

argotnaut said...

Boots 'n' noodles: I picture you doing this willfully, and surreptitiously.

Wheels: Every cart I've ever used has come to this end -- prematurely, in my opinion. Maybe we need to import industrial-strength ones from Europe, where grannies wouldn't put up with shoddy granny carts.

Midterm: In my first ling class, we were allowed to bring one blank sheet of paper. At the start of the exam, we could write out our IPA charts from memory, and then refer to them. "Pet bat moats, when wet, for vampires, think they!" I'll have to come up with all-new devices now that we're learning the non-English sounds, too.

liz said...

Okay, I'll bite. What's IPA, besides the beer?

I think I take the stance that my students must perform deep self-analyses regarding prejudice (really quite a sophisticated psychological process) in class, so I'm trying to make the actual classwork part easy.

I don't even take off for spelling and grammar! (Though I will in their final paper.)

liz said...


argotnaut said...

International Phonetic Alphabet. has the chart with sound files embedded.

argotnaut said...

And here's a plain ol' copy of the entire chart in one piece:

liz said...

Wheels for the cart, of course!

Ah, good ol' acrossed. I've always spelt it acrost, however.

(I'munna get me some noodles 'n' boots!)