The Lifeguard Front
Good news. I passed the initial swim test. Granted, it was not pretty but I passed. It was probably not smart eating a slice of cake an hour before the exam but I was tired and hungry. I didn’t think it would do to fall asleep in the pool.
We spent most of last night learning entry and extraction techniques. My entries suck. Yours truly sinks to the bottom of the pool like a rock when he jumps in. Entry from the raised platforms is especially problematic as I am trying to maintain my balance while keeping the tube under my arms.
My kick isn’t strong enough to move a human body so I have to pin the victim to the tube and use my side stroke. Also, just as in fencing, it is more about finese than brute force.
By time it was all said and done last night, I was pretty well worn out.
I’ve got four more sessions of training before it is all said and done. I need to get back to lap swimming today in order to build up my endurance. Further, I think I need some lessons to improve my kicking ability.
Over at Cheeseburger Gothic
John Birmingham has an interesting image up at his blog. It is this.
The link takes you to the first page of his manuscript edits. I think this is a handy thing for aspiring writers and college students to look at. What you see is a series of scribbles, questions, concerns and ponderings all over the document. Perhaps what I like this most is that my nearly finished projects feature the same sort of scribbling edits all over them.
Anyway, go take a look.
The Teaching Front
We covered Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Japanese reaction to the bombs in American History 121 today. It is part of their final essay question asking them if they thought the use of the bomb was justified or not.
I never give my personal opinion and on the off chance that a student might drop by, I won’t issue it here either. I think it is important for them to look at the evidence, the alternatives and try to generate their own opinion.
More and more I am thinking of leaving baseline historical information up to the textbook. I spend a lot of my time filling gaps, putting baseline information onto what are essentially blank slates. I’d like to spend more of my time talking about information not covered in the textbook such as the Rise of Japan and the nature of the war in the Pacific.
I’d also like to have them do more writing. I’ve already raised the bar by issuing three essay questions per exam. They never quite know which one they’ll get. It hasn’t hurt overall grade yields one way or the other in my classes. This semester’s classes are performing about on par with last semester’s, which had to deal with one essay per exam.
The big question is this. Just what other writing assignment could I give them? Term papers are not viable as many of our students haven’t had the college level english they’d need. I could issue a supplementary essay assignmented tied to a targeted reading project. This essay would be part of the requirement for getting an A in my class. It would push serious students to learn more, get more out of the experience. Those that are happy with C’s can just drag along.
There needs to be more social history I suppose, but I think I’ve decided that the textbook will be responsible for that. I can generate an essay question designed around the textbook, targeting elements of social history. That way I can say, “I covered it.”
Things I am pondering.
The Writing Front
This weekend I’ll prep my portfolio for Terri Lowry’s Creative Writing class. When I do, I’ll see about sending those projects off to those who volunteered for the new E-Lite Reader Corps. I will also send off a crit that I owe.
I’ll see about looking over Joint Writing Project Number Two with an eye towards sending it back to the Partner.
A Limb Knitter’s Love is still out to market and past the 30 day marker. When it reaches 60 days then I can query. But at this point, no news is good news.
A friend has been asking about more Tearing Down Tuesday based stories. I have a number of them but they all seem to suffer from some horrible flaw that I can’t fix. I’m going to look those over here in the next month to see what can be done. I want to use the gap between the end of the semester and my projected summer job (I think I have a line on one) to work on them.
Hopefully if things work out right, I can get back to writing this summer.
Dad’s back from the hospital. We’ve got rain today and tomorrow is payday (none too soon if you ask me). If I can get this lifeguard gig nailed down, that will bring an end to the monthly march from payday to payday.
So it goes.
Steven Francis Murphy
Author of The Limb Knitter and Tearing Down Tuesday
North Kansas City, Missouri