This has been a tough week. I’ve had to get back into the swing of school, following our too-long Spring Break, all while being in the middle of production week for the law school musical. The nights have been late. The sleep has been less. My reading has suffered. And Mr. Angst now officially hates the law school musical. Frankly, I’m not fond of the schedule, especially since this week comes at time in the semester when I really need to be buckling down and getting outlines done. But I’ve been telling myself over and over that it’s just one week, that it’ll be over before you know it–and what do you know? It is almost over.
So right now I’m a little burned out, but I’m also really excited, because the show is going to be terrific. I just wish it had been easier to juggle all my obligations this week.
It must be near the end of the semester. I just saw a classmate highlighting a case book with a yellow dry-erase marker.
I went to my first Yoga class in almost a year today. It was a good class. It’s small, and full of beginners. About halfway through, after instructing us to relax out of Down Dog into Child’s Pose, the teacher asked me if I’d practiced yoga before, since I automatically moved into Child’s Pose without waiting for her description of it.
No matter that I know the easy, relaxing poses, though. The class was still terrific for me. I can practice at home all I want, but I won’t get the constant reminders to adjust my alignment, keep breathing deeply, focus my gaze. After class, the teacher gave me some DVD and book recommendations for doing a home practice to supplement the class. That was also good.
So all of that stuff is good. Yay! Good! But my neck and shoulders and hamstrings are already ow. Mostly my neck and shoulders. (I’ll feel it in my legs more tomorrow.) Basically, I’m just ow. Ow is a good thing, I guess–it means I’m moving and working my muscles. But it’s still ow.
Last night at rehearsal, I was walking down a row of seats (instead of using the cross-aisle) and I whacked my leg on a seat arm. The arms on the seats in the auditorium are small and hard, with hard edges. And within three minutes, I had a big purple bruise.
Today, it’s making it hard for me to walk up stairs, because the bruise is right on the quad muscle. I can’t cross my left leg over my right because when I do, my leg crosses right over the bruise. I can tell that, in a few days, this bruise is going to be one of those really remarkable ones, multicolored and puffy.
The trouble with Spring Break is that it gets your body all used to sleeping in and eating well and generally not stressing about anything at all. So when it’s over, you look around and realize that the four emails you got in the last week really ARE important and need to be attended to and all the free time you thought you had is really going to get eaten up by silly little errands, like collecting your props for the law school musical and buying a mat bag for the yoga class you’re starting on Wednesday.
So agh. I mean, I’m still sort of relaxed, but I’m also sort of not relaxed. Even worse, my schedule this week is full of activities that involve a lot of hurry-up-and-waiting. I hate non-productive time when I have lots to get done.
Spring Break ends tomorrow. I have to go back to class. I have to do reading. I have to start preparing for moot court. I have to keep working on my outlines and start taking practice exams. Ack!!!
So I spent this weekend relaxing, even more so than the rest of Spring Break. I didn’t work on my outlines, I didn’t read. (OK, well, I did read today, but it was a short novel, the one the bookstore didn’t have that I was lucky enough to find at another bookstore in the city. The one I ordered has not arrived, so it will be going back to the store.) Instead, I did some cooking and some shopping, and I went and got a manicure with two of my friends yesterday. We also got chocolate fondue. Totally sinful and totally delightful.
Frankly, I’m feeling pretty relaxed right now. I’ve been keeping up with my reading all semester, even while working on my brief; now that the brief is turned in, I have more space for doing my reading and working outlining into my schedule. Moot court is coming up, but it’s ungraded and I’m approaching it more as a learning experience than as a stressful competition. OK, yes, this week is production week for the law school musical. And I’m going to be on campus a lot for that. But it’s over after this week! And I’ll have two more weeks of school plus a week of reading period before exams start.
I am sure that in about two weeks, I will completely freak out about how little I’ve learned this semester. But right now, the guilt fairy is trying to give me an ulcer, and she’s failing. I just don’t feel like I’ve slacked off excessively over Spring Break. I took the time off, enjoyed it, and now I’m rested and refreshed for the sprint to the end.
Can you tell that, when the sun comes back, my mood automatically improves? We gained about three hours of daylight over Spring Break and I feel terrific.
This is yet another New York Times article that makes me sad. I understand that because school funding is tied to test performance, schools’ hands are somewhat tied as they try to improve the performances of the students who struggle the most. What I don’t understand is why all subjects are dropped except reading and math. Don’t students read in social studies? Or in history? And don’t they do math in (certain) science classes? So, OK, I can see that some students might need extra math. But why can’t social studies and history teachers incorporate reading skills into their lessons? Why do the subjects have to be dropped?
I understand that there are pedagogical differences in the teaching of reading, as a skill, than in the teaching of history. But students who are learning to read must be learning by reading something. Doesn’t it seem like there’s an educational market out there for textbooks and other materials that present history or social studies in ways that are consistent with reading pedagogy? If that market doesn’t exist, is it because there’s no money in it? After all, the school districts that can afford the best materials are those that tend to have fewer problems meeting the standardized test benchmarks. The poor urban and rural schools that need the most help can’t afford it. And that’s unfortunate. A generation of young people will leave school without experiencing the wonder of history or biology or chemistry, because, pedagogically, no one could figure out how to teach them those things while tying in sufficient math and reading skills.
We live about equidistant from two grocery stores, but within a week of moving here, we had decided that one was definitely better than the other. The one we chose–let’s call it Special Mart–prices certain things higher, like beer and wine, but its produce and meat is far superior. The other one–let’s call it Mega Mart, even though our local one isn’t that big–has more selection of certain items, but it’s oddly organized and, the first time I shopped there, I couldn’t find broccoli, only broccoflower, which is a weird broccoli-cauliflower hybrid (and gross).
So we shop at Special Mart. I like it. I know where things are and, even if they don’t have the chips Mr. Angst prefers and they sometimes run out of the kind of bread we buy, it’s a better store overall, at least in our neighborhood.
But one thing they don’t sell that I have been trying to pick up for the last several months is Nutella. Mmmm……Nutella. If you haven’t had Nutella, you probably want to avoid it, because it’s so good you’ll want to eat it twice a day. And at 200 calories a serving (a generous serving, but still), it’s probably not going to help your waistline for you to get addicted. Nutella is a hazelnut spread, with cocoa and milk added. I first had Nutella in college, but forgot about it until we went to Italy. Every morning, we’d eat breakfast in the hotel and they’d have a wide selection of pastries–and Nutella to spread on them. Every morning I’d have a croissant with Nutella (along with really good coffee and warmed milk). I fell in love with Nutella. And last fall, I came down with a craving for it. I wanted Nutella at home. But Special Mart didn’t sell it.
In searching for Nutella, I got online and found that Mega Mart carries Nutella. Why Mega Mart carries it but Special Mart doesn’t is really beyond me, but there you have it. I’d have to go to Mega Mart to get Nutella. Except every time I’ve had to run over there for something in the last several months, I’ve forgotten to also get Nutella. Most recently, I haven’t been at all because the only thing that we really buy regularly that is cheaper at Mega Mart is wine, and there’s a closer drugstore that has wine at the same low prices. So I haven’t been to Mega Mart to get my Nutella.
Well, yesterday I took the train several neighborhoods north to go to the good Asian supermarket. Mr. Angst and I are going to try making pad thai tomorrow. But pad thai requires a few specialized ingredients–if you want to be authentic, that is. While Special Mart has fish sauce and rice stick, it does not have things like tamarind juice or concentrate. Hence the trip to the Asian supermarket. Where it took me 20 minutes to find tamarind concentrate, hidden on an end shelf, at the bottom, with the label turned away from the aisle. But while I was scouring the shelves for tamarind paste, I saw a jar of Nutella, right at eye level, winking at me. I grabbed it.
Funny that I had to take a 20 minute train ride to pick up Nutella. But I did, and this morning I enjoyed Nutella on toast. As breakfasts go, it’s pretty good stuff.
While I understand how frustrating it might to discover mid-semester that your professor is banning laptops from the classroom, I don’t disagree with the professor’s rationale or even think it’s necessarily a bad idea.
“My main concern was they were focusing on trying to transcribe every word that was I saying, rather than thinking and analyzing,” Entman said Monday. “The computers interfere with making eye contact. You’ve got this picket fence between you and the students.”
I think this is pretty true–many students use their laptops to hide from the professor (yes, myself included) and many students tend to transcribe when taking notes on a computer–particularly when they don’t understand the material very well. Yes, again, myself included. It’s instinct. When I am confused, I take solace that my notes are, essentially, dictation. If only I could type faster!
But I would be interested in taking a class with a “no laptop” policy, if the class was one I really wanted to take, and the professor was someone I really wanted to have–and if I knew about the policy ahead of time. Consider–if everyone in the class is proscribed from using the computer, there’s no lost competitive edge. Everyone is relegated to taking notes by hand. A spirit of camaraderie would probably flourish, too–those with good handwriting would be courted by those with chicken-scratch, and study groups would help one another transcribe the handwritten notes into typewritten outlines. And, again, everyone would be in the same boat, and none of us write so much anymore that anyone would be likely to be a better handwriter.
Now, to be honest, I’d probably not want a no-laptop policy for a 1L class, particularly because I think it’s important that everyone in such a class be aware of the policy so no one complains about it (á la the students in the article). But I think for an upper level class, it could work quite well. So, professors, if you’re interested in banning laptops, consider it! But not for 1L classes. And decide before the semester begins–and, indeed, before registration. Make sure the laptop policy is clearly listed on the course description so that every student knows what he or she is getting into. And see what happens!
Hat tip: JD2B
When the bookstore doesn’t order a book on the syllabus for some reason,
…so they put in a special order just before Spring Break,
…and I go all the way down there on a VERY windy and cold day during Spring Break to pick it up,
…and I bring it home and start to read it and get confused because it doesn’t seem to fit the class,
…so I look at the syllabus and notice that the book on the syllabus has the same title but was written by someone completely different,
…and I have to have it read by Monday,
…and Barnes & Noble.com is charging me $4 for 3 day shipping,
…which means I MAY get it by the weekend so I can read it for Monday afternoon’s class.
I was having such a productive-feeling day.