Chakras and That Kind of Thing

Some students at one of the tables in my class this morning were talking about random stuff as they did their drawing exercise for the day. I walked by and one asked me:

“Miss, what they call those people who believe in chakras and that kind of thing ah?”

Her classmate on the other side of the table said, “Naruto.”


(After I stopped laughing I told her that I think those tend to fall under the New Age-y category nowadays?)

Silliness in the Exam Hall

I was on invigilation duty a couple of times last week. In one exam, a girl raised her hand to ask a question and I went over to her. She pointed at the section of her paper labelled “Section C: Essay Questions” and then pointed to one of the questions, which asked them to discuss 5 points of something or other.

Student: Can I write [the answers to this] in point form?

Me: *stares* No.

Student: But it won’t be confusing ah? ‘Cause got 5 things [to write about].

Me: *stares even harder, one eyebrow raised* …Write 5 paragraphs??

Student: Ohhhhhh. Ok ok.

When people ask questions like that, it just makes you question how they survived secondary school.

Then later there was another girl who’d finished and wanted to leave. I went over and saw that on the cover of her answer booklet, she had not written any table number, nor her student ID, nor her name. (There’s a section in the top right corner where their names and IDs should to be written, and they’re supposed to fold it down and seal it.) Out of the goodness of my heart (haha, more like out of consideration for my poor colleague who would’ve had to hunt down the name list and sort through the stack of 100+ exam papers to figure out who that belonged to), I pointed out the blanks to girl and she said, “OHH,” and hurriedly filled it all in. *rolls eyes* Seriously. Hand in an answer booklet with no identification whatsoever? Who does that???

Small Things.

Some of the lecture halls at the instituion in which I teach are equipped with video capture systems. None of my colleagues think it’s very useful because we know that our students don’t bother watching the videos anyway. (I think it’s different for the students of the hard sciences who may need to see math calculations and stuff.) But if our timetables have placed our classes in those rooms, the camera is set to automatically record whatever happens up in the front of the classroom, and we have to use the microphones because the audio won’t be captured without it. I do not like this because sometimes it feels like there’s no sound coming out of the speakers and when I’m holding a microphone, I subconsciously don’t project my voice – I talk louder without it. (My classes are not those with over a hundred students so I don’t usually need to use a microphone to be heard; at most I have had 50-ish in one class.) But I have no choice. If we don’t use the microphone, the e-learning department will come after us and censure us for it. So, fine. I use it.

Then I take my “revenge” on the system in my own small ways.

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Geek Credit: +1

It often pays in small ways to be the geeky sort and to be teaching college-age students who are voracious consumers of the media.

One of my classes today had to form their groups for this term’s assignments and gave me group names that were just… Numbers. “One.” “Two.” “Three.” Until six. Disappointed by the lack of imagination, I said, “What?? Fine. I’ll name the groups.”

The end result was this:

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A Nice Message

The education faculty students had a booth up for the past week where other students could write appreciation notes for their lecturers, and the notes were collected and delivered today – Teachers’ Day – in brown bags with an apple in each one. I got three notes, the nicest of which was this one:


I’m kinda surpised because of all the modules I teach I would have assumed the most fun was the illustration elective class, but it came from a student who is taking one of my other modules. I doubt if all the other students agree with this one student, but it’s nice to know at least one thinks the class is fun. hahah

Fb Groups Now Have Cover Pics

Since I suddenly had some free time to spare, and since I discovered that Fb groups can now have cover pics as well, I did this for my 3 degree class pages this sem:

I also decided to put the announcements into graphic form for the first two groups (didn’t have any announcements this week for the last one). Partly because I felt like it and partly because I’m convinced 50% of them don’t read announcements or reminder notices if I just type it out. So, fine then, time to put design skills to work and force them to take notice of the notices. (For now I think this works because it’s such a novelty. If I do it the whole term through they might just get too accustomed to it and ignore it anyway. Hmm. Maybe I’ll do it only occasionally…)

13 Hours at Work

… Yeah, A-Z Challenge isn’t working out so well.

This is how my day ran yesterday:

7.45am – leave home for work

8.20am – arrive at work juuuust in time for class.

8.30am – Illustration class… more than half the class is late because of that mad traffic jam getting into campus. >_> (The jam is really absurd.)

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Untitled #3 – But Mainly Rambling on Powerpoint

What do you do when you don’t know what title to give a blog post? You search your own blog for “Untitled” and see how many other “Untitled” posts you have and then decide to just tack on a number. And a subtitle.

Movies to blog about soon (I hope):

  • Catching Fire
  • Cuak
  • Robocop

But I can’t blog about them now because I need to do a quiz and write an essay for the Coursera course I’m following – Introduction to Teaching and Learning. Thankfully, it is now in the final week. It has been a drag. Four video lectures a week (about 15 minutes each), and I’ve found it extremely difficult to pay attention to the videos. They put me to sleep. I have to multitask and do something else while the video plays otherwise I will almost certainly find myself dozing or at least yawning within 5 minutes. I would have quit it after the first week except that I’d put it into my goal-setting form (“complete one related external online course” or something like that) so I have to do at least one this year or it wouldn’t look very good in my performance review. (I can feel the strain of that KPI thing intensifying already…).

It probably doesn’t help that I only get to watch these videos in the evening or night after I’m back from work and my mind is not at all interested in doing more work. The topic is also not the most fascinating thing in the world to me so it’s even harder to feel interested and to pay attention to the video lectures. In addition, the slides are visually boring. Perhaps at the root of it all is really the facts that it’s not a topic of extreme interest to me, and that I am a visual person; boring visuals combined with less-than-riveting subject means you lose my interest really really fast. Like so:

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Apparently It Shows

Last week, my roommate at work remarked that I seem to be working on lecture slides all day, every day that I’m in the office.

Yesterday, some of my students said, “Miss, you look exhausted!”

Today, a colleague said, “You look really tired.”

… And I don’t think I’m short of sleep or anything. (But I am really really sick of working on slides. When I come home nowadays all I want to do is empty my brain and watch movies or TV dramas.)

Not Really Useful, Is It?

Sometimes, I look at the stuff I’m supposed to teach and I can’t help thinking:

Really? I’m wasting my time – and the students’ time – on this topic? It’s repetitive/ultimately not very useful.

I honestly do dislike how the education system has become such that institutions feel they must concoct more and more courses and in the end the subjects repeat each other and include theories that are really redundant and/or no use at all in actual practice. Why do the students need to learn FOUR different “creative process models” that, in the end, are almost exactly the same thing but worded differently?? You learn the creative process by doing. Not by reading notes on what the creative process is supposed to be…

And obviously the body that handles quality-checking of tertiary institutes doesn’t exactly pay much attention to the details otherwise all the redundancies (and outdated material) should have been avoided. 8-|