Apropos Nothing

The true mark of a successful person is not that they never fail, but that they almost never fail. Nah, just kidding. The true mark of a successful person is not that they never fail, but that they quickly bounce back from failure. Also, it’s much easier to bounce back from failure if you occasionally succeed. Or better yet, if you often succeed. If you seldom succeed at anything, yet you keep bouncing back like a goddamn rubber band, going at it again and again, you are not a soon-to-be successful person; you are Don Quixote.

I found $2 on the ground in the parking garage. Thought I’d use it to buy coffee. I donated it at a high-school swim meet instead. Easy come, easy go.

I am not ready for the new semester. I have a humongous class and essentially no help (I have a grader for HW, but no real TA). I could get more help if I converted to the a buzzwordy teaching fad du jour (which I have no intention of doing) and which does very little in terms of teaching students to grapple with technical problems, but does great at making then feel warm and fuzzy and good about themselves the whole time. It is bullshit, and I have seen some scary products of this mode of transmission. When are we going to stop pretending that you can somehow teach students anything worth learning without them putting in any effort, feeling any discomfort, or taking ownership of their own learning?

Finally, I read “Ancillary Mercy,” the third book in the Imperial Radch series (Ann Leckie). While the first book (“Ancillary Justice”) was mindblowing (I am not at all surprised that it won both Hugo and Nebula), the second one (“Ancillary Sword”) was good and the third (“Ancillary Mercy”) was very, very  good. Translator Zeiat, Sphene, and Athoek Station are a hoot!

4 comments

  1. “When are we going to stop pretending that you can somehow teach students anything worth learning without them putting in any effort, feeling any discomfort, or taking ownership of their own learning?”

    When Dick Cheney’s home goes below freezing.

  2. I’m dying to know which buzzwordy bullshity educationy thing you’re talking about. Husband has his own opinions about this kind of stuff (he’s a HS teacher – so far I’m ancillary to this debate but I’m invested in it in that I want to teach well when I finally get a faculty job). He definitely shares your opinion that students need to be pushed to be uncomfortable while they are learning, and to realize that’s part of what is required to actually learn. It’s a balance between feeling uncomfortable and feeling completely overwhelmed and alienated I suppose…

  3. I’m dying to know too. Undergrad TAs? Surely not clickers!

    We can no longer buy a cup of coffee on campus for under $2. I just invested in a Nespresso machine for the lab.

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