Tag: kids

Day in the Life of a Professor/Student/Father/Husband/Son

So it’s been over a month since I posted. I have had stuff I thought to post, but never quite got around to it. To help show why, here’s a run down of yesterday. It was a bit busier, but not too far from a typical day. Also, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a complaint. Even if it feels like a semester long marathon, it still beats sitting in an office in a career I really don’t like.

  • Midnight – still up reading articles out of my business ethics textbooks finalizing what to lecture on
  • 1:30am – unwind by reading a couple chapters in a fun novel to help settle before bed
  • 2:00 am – sleep
  • 7:15 am – alarm goes off
  • 7:20 am – get out of bed, and start waking up kids. Samantha chastises me for not waking her up earlier. 😉
  • 7:30-8:20 am – help get kids ready for school, make lunches, and get them out the door more or less on time
  • 8:30 am – get clothes in the dryer so I have something to wear
  • 8:40 am – eat breakfast, check email, play a silly Facebook game
  • 9:00 am – continue business ethics reading
  • 11:00 am – little more silly Facebook game, shower
  • 11:30 am – wash a couple pots and pans, get some lunch, download Jane Austen’s Emma on audiobook to listen to on the drive (although I like Jane Austen, it’s not my top pick for driving, but I need to read it for one of my classes)
  • noon – drop off confidentiality form with my advisor for a ethics debriefing at a local hospital this evening, chat for a few minutes
  • 12:10 pm – start heading to the highway to drive up to Alma
  • 12:20 pm – realize I forgot all my books, turn around
  • 12:30 pm – get my books, make a couple Law & Order jokes since Diana is watching Svu (pronounced svoo)
  • 12:40 pm – drive to Alma, remember that I haven’t talked to my family in weeks and decide I really need to call them soon
  • 1:40 pm – get to office hours a little late, but no one shows anyway, which is alright since I still need to type my PowerPoint presentation (Keynote on iPad actually, simple but very effective)
  • 2:30 pm – Business Ethics. Talk about Relativism, discuss some international business issues.
  • 3:30 pm – end class a little early since discussion was winding down and I need to get back to Lansing for the Ethics Debrief (ended a little earlier than I wanted to, which I don’t like, but I’ll try to pack Thursday’s class more to make up for it, and I really don’t want to be late.)
  • 4:40 pm – Get down to the hospital, start looking around for the 8S conference room. When I ask at the Information desk, they reply “Uh… I guess that is 8th floor in the South Wing, I suppose.” and points me to the proper elevators. I’m not reassured.
  • 4:55 pm – After being unsure of just walking onto one of the hospital floors among the patient rooms I ask where this conference room is and find out I’m standing 5 feet from it. (It is labeled “The Conference Room” on a whiteboard that is half erased.)
  • 5:10 pm – The nurses  arrive and my advisor leads an interesting ethics debrief about pain management stemming from an issue they had recently with a patient. Ends with coming up with some recommendations that my advisor will pass along to their Ethics Board and the nursing supervisor will start pushing with her superiors.
  • 6:20 pm – Get home. Check on Diana (who is feeling sick and is lying in bed).
  • 6:30 pm – Heat up some leftovers for myself and a make a quesadilla for Samantha (her favorite make-it-real-quick meal)
  • 6:50 pm – Take Samantha and her friend to girl scouts. Break the news to the other troop co-leader that Diana is sick in bed. Find out no other parents look like they are staying, so I might need to skip class to help out (which I’m not sure I mind since I haven’t finished the reading for tonight anyway)
  • 7:00 pm – Another mom shows up and plans on staying, so I am told to go to class.
  • 7:15 pm – Get to class right behind my professor who is thankfully running late (he let us know earlier, so I knew I had some extra time tonight)
  • 8:55 pm – Have a break and call home to see how everyone is feeling and make sure Samantha got home from girl scouts ok, see an email from my Dad and feel bad that I still haven’t called them for weeks
  • 10:00 pm – Get out of class and head home
  • 10:30 pm – Get settled in and decide to read for fun and leave school reading for tomorrow
  • Midnight – After reading the same page 5 times and still having no idea what it says, decide to get to bed early.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are my long days since I have both Alma teaching and seminars at night, but Mondays and Wednesdays are usually pretty full with reading as well. It was also a bit busier because Diana was sick.

She had a long night last night since she was up until 2am working on Owen’s costume for “dress like your favorite book character” day, and then slept on the couch* until 5am when Ella came downstairs and started puking. So she hasn’t had it easy either.

Ah the joys of trying to balance all the roles in life. Still haven’t balanced it out very well, but we’re managing. And I really will call my family soon.

* Note: Diana was just sleeping on the couch to not wake me up coming to bed. But I was sleeping so deep, I didn’t even know she wasn’t there.

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Snowpocalypse Lansing

Thankfully the blizzard was late enough that it didn’t affect my drive to and from Alma too much. The biggest problem was wind, with mild turbulence on most of the drive up, and certainly not mild turbulence knocking the van around on the drive home. With the big open fields along 127, there was masses of snow blowing across the road, but the roads themselves were still dry. Just off the road, the snow was blowing enough that you could hardly see houses along the way, and combined with the wisps sailing across the road, at times it felt like driving across a cloud.

Getting into Lansing, cars were lined up getting into and out of Kroger and Meijer – guess everyone decided to wait until after work to stock up. Guess it kind of all caught us by surprise. (Historic note to anyone reading this at some point in the distant or even not very distant future – I’m being sarcastic. The snowpocalypse has been mentioned in every conversation by anyone living in the midwest for days. Even just buying tickets to the Daddy/Daughter dance next week – Ella is thrilled – the ticket sales lady even brought it up out of nowhere.)

Despite an almost guaranteed snow day on Wednesday, Owen still woke up distraught that today wasn’t cancelled. He had worn his pajamas not only backwards, but inside out as well. Spoon under the pillow, ice cube down the toilet. Everything according to ritual! For tomorrow, school was cancelled even before they left this afternoon. Heck, even MSU has shut down to all but critical personnel.

So far it hasn’t been massive blizzard conditions, just a good steady snow that keeps going… and going… plus some hefty winds. For a bit it upgraded to ice raining against the house, but it sounds like that might be letting up. Think I might put on the boots and check the ruler I stuck out in the snow this evening. First reading was 4 inches from previous snows, and then from 7pm to 9pm 1.5 inches fell.

The Start of Teaching

Three weeks down and I can finally get around to taking stock of how it has been. Technically, I started taking stock last week, but this week I can finally get around to writing about it. 😉

A lot of my focus has obviously been the class I am teaching on my own up at Alma. However, I need to watch out and maintain a balance with the class I am assisting with here at MSU. It’s all too easy to shift my attention too much in one direction.

With the Alma course, two things surprised me the most right from the start. Number 1 – planning a course is a heck of a lot of work!! I mean A LOT. I knew going in that it would take quite a bit of effort, but it is one of those areas that the deeper you go, the more you realize really needs to be done. I definitely understand why some professors like to teach the same class again, because a lot of the prep work is already done.

Second thing to surprise me was my comfort. The first day I was in a panic about having to fill 90 minutes twice a week and having a clue what I was doing. So far, however, I have regularly been either covering my material within a few minutes of the end of class, or having a couple small bits left when time runs out. My plans have been fitting with the timing just fine.

Now, I’m certainly not an awesome teacher by any stretch of the imagination, but I was worried I would be starting off much worse. Thankfully, right from the start I’m comfortable enough not to freak out (but worried enough not to coast), and am actually able to start “meta-thinking” during and between classes. In other words, not just trying to teach the material, but looking at my teaching itself and how to do it better. Am I addressing all of the students? Am I holding interest? Are there better ways to present this material? etc. I figured I wouldn’t be able to reflect on my teaching (especially while teaching) until later on. Since I can do it from the start, hopefully I can improve things quickly and make the class worthwhile.

One fun story is from when Samantha gave me some teaching advice. I mentioned after one class that I asked the students about the first article they were supposed to read, and a lot of people chimed in with comments. But when I asked about the second and third… crickets chirped. So it felt like they mostly read the first article and skipped the rest. Samantha suggested that maybe I should give them planners so that they can track their reading and make sure they do it all.

Her other piece of advice was not to turn around and look at the board too much. “That’s when they pass notes,” she said. I told her that I hope she doesn’t know that from personal experience, but I would certainly keep it in mind. Now when next I teach, I will try to add in amongst the other tips I try to keep track of to make sure not to turn my back too much so they can pass notes. If nothing else, I’ll think of her teaching advice and then I won’t need to remember the tip to keep smiling.

Ella tells jokes and philosophizes

Friday night while we were driving to Bethany’s birthday party, Ella told us a joke about Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer that was pretty funny. Afterwards, Diana leaned over and whispered, “Hey, that was a real joke!”

Ella has always loved telling jokes when we do, but they have been “jokes”. I’m sure you have heard them from Ella or other kids, where they are structured like another joke you know, but don’t make any sense. But Ella finally told a real, bona fide funny joke the other night. Remember to ask her about her Rudolph joke this Christmas.

Oh, and a couple days before that, out of the blue she asked, “Papa, how do I know that when I look at something and my friend looks at something, that we see the same thing?” That’s a very good question, Ella.

Sledding

We got 3 inches of snow last night, so the kids needed to go sledding. It was a whole lot of fun (because of course, I went down the hill as much as them). Samantha discovered her own styles of sledding without sleds – first on her bottom, then “penguin-style”. That became her favorite, and after the first few minutes, she never bothered with a sled the rest of the time.

Pictures of them warming up after the link.

Continue reading “Sledding”