In Line and Outta Line in the Locker Room

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 | 0 Comment(s)

I've stayed away from locker room centered posts for awhile now. Karma's a bitch and I have no desire to upset the delicate nature of a scale already so precariously balanced.  But yesterday. . . Maaaaaaaan . . . Yesterday. What I saw yesterday in that beat up bygone-era UMASS men's locker room, now used only by recreational swimmers, I don't know what to do BUT write about it.

I have seen a great many bizarre and impossible to predict souls slosh their way through this locker room over the better part of the last decade.  And, more to the point, some aspects of the freak show are now par for the course.  It would be weird if I didn't see some aspect of the show.  I mean, the locker room just isn't the same without Unbelievable-amount-of-back-hair Guy or Jocky McJockerson.

Or, like yesterday, I saw the dude who looks like a miniature version of the Dunkin Donuts' "Time to make the donuts!" Guy from their 90's TV ads. This cross between a New England celebrity (I once saw the actual DD guy while shopping in a Pittsfield TJ Maxx as a youngster) and the Johnny Depp idiration of the Oompa Loompa (see picture puzzle below).  This mostly harmless character has a particular propensity for shuffling along the cement floor in his shower shoes -- totally naked. Like, he's holding his towel lazily in his right, but shuffling like a sad, droopy-skinned, wind-up toy robot.

And this, is normal to me.  It no longer even blips my radar. Catching a passing glimpse of Mini-DD is merely checking off a square on my work-out BINGO card.  Sometimes it happens, sometimes it don't.

But yesterday.  Maaaaaaaaan. Yesterday, we had some wild card shit go down. Possibly even a technical foul.

You've Got to Fight for the Right, to be on the Right, and be Right

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 | 0 Comment(s)

A few days ago I received an email containing an organized file of my students' reviews from last semester. For each class I was given two zip files. One file was the result of the students'  1-9 rankings of both my teaching and the class itself, in a variety of areas.  The second file for each class contained the students' open response prompts about what they felt were the strengths and weaknesses of the course.

Overall, I was tremendously pleased with both my scores and the feedback, which was almost entirely positive. And I love that. I do. I can't front. I work hard to put together an entertaining and informative class, so I'm proud when my message hits its mark. I'm human and therefore subject to flattery as much as the next person.

What concerns me even more, however, is the constructive criticism.  I have a particular, and sometimes peculiar, teaching style.  I most certainly use humor to keep the classroom energy high and hold interest.  I recognize that this style will not suit every student.  It can't.  No teaching style can.  Therefore, it isn't surprising that a few students find my antics immature and distracting.  While I lament this, even I am forced to forgive myself for 2 or 3 misses out of 300.  Not much I can do there. 

That said, there is another segment of my student population that both thoroughly enjoyed my class, and simultaneously has constructive criticism. They have feedback.  Some of it is procedural stuff -- put your slides online, put your lectures online, put yourself online -- but other critiques are more substantive.