Good late Sunday evening,
I have been working on school work most of the weekend, but returned from the Legislative Assembly of the Faculty Union on Saturday. I am alway amazed by what I learn at these assemblies. I am amazed by the hard work and tremendous scholars that is conducted and are present at the other universities in the system, but I am also reminded of how fortunate I am to be at Bloomsburg. I believe it is one of the stronger schools in the system. Serving on a state-wide committee is also a honor and something that has already taught be a great deal.
I am rather mind-boggled by some of the proposals and the decisions made at the state level of the system. While I am not naive, I do believe there is still more idealism to me that is perhaps helpful at times. I am not sure why I would like to believe most people can be reasonable if given the complete picture. I guess there is an assumption that people want good things to happen, particularly when it comes to education. I guess when I am forced to look at the complete picture, there is certainly something askew with our priorities. While as you know I am a huge Green Bay Packer fan, the fact that Aaron Rogers is paid 49,000,000.00, and as such is the 6th highest paid professional athlete is ridiculous to me. The amount of money paid to athletes, and I am well aware of all the attempts to justify because of their short career life, says a lot about what we deem as valuable. When most who teach at any level are making less than 6 figures, but an athlete can make 11, there is an issue.
Most of yesterday and today, I have graded or worked on my classes. I am a bit stumped by some of my freshmen students. We are beginning the fourth week of class and some have done minimal to no work. A significant number of others have done some really substandard work. This is a bit disconcerting to me because the clock is moving much more rapidly than they think. When about 1/3 of them have earned a below average or failing grade at this point, there is about to be a reckoning. I am reminded of the line in the movie Tombstone, when Doc Holiday says this about the members of the Cowboys and Wyatt Earp. I do not want to scare students, but I do want them to do their work. Writing is fundamental to who we are and to not be able to do it in an acceptable scholarly way will not work, either in the classroom or someday on the job. There is a choice. The middle of last week we had a snow day, and it snowed even more today. I worked in my office all day. I had sign up sheet for conferences that begin tomorrow up on my wall and they had been there since the day before. As of this evening, there was still about 10 of 47 students who had not signed up. I do not understand this, particularly when I have sent out emails and put announcements in the course delivery tool. I am boggled, as I noted earlier.
This coming week, there is a lot for me to do, and there are a number of deadlines on the horizon. It is a matter of creating a list and making the correct choices so it all gets done. Life is all about choices . . . we are confronted with these options daily and throughout the day. While some are minimal and have small or infinitesimal consequences, others are just the opposite. Sometimes those consequences are not known for some time. All I know is this is one of those weeks I need to get a lot of things off my plate. We are also interviewing another person this week. This is such an interesting thing being on the committee.
Well, regardless the outcome of the week, it will pass quickly. I have more on my plate than seems manageable at the moment, but it is a matter of discipline and priorities. I will check in again something during the week and share how things are going.
Thanks for reading as always.
One thought on “Snow, Classes, Choices”
Dear Dr. Martin,
You are correct in your statement that life is all about choices. I often feel I have to decide constantly in a day’s time, and sometimes it feels impossible to complete all these choices. Although I have recently taught myself to go day-by-day, which my mother tells me constantly as she knows I am a very anxious and stressed individual. I worry, worry, worry… when there is no need. Mostly it is about school work and managing my grades, although as I am preparing for graduation my plate has also become fuller than most. It is now time to apply to master’s programs, graduate schools and even to get a job set in place, which is definitely stressful in my opinion. However, I have mostly managed all my choices with checklists around my house and on my phone. Therefore when I check something off, I feel accomplished and my stress decreases, ever so slightly. I plan everything, and I mean everything because that is the only way to be sure of my choices. I also do not do well with consequences, and therefore I prepare to do everything in my power to avoid them.
Furthermore it is extremely saddening to me that your freshman as of this year (2014) choose not to want to avoid any consequences in your course or life so it seems. You have taken the time to set up a course to benefit their future, and they are choosing not to use this to their advantage. The writing for professional and technical settings will be needed and is a very important tool in life, and I have come to see this. I would not say I was exactly like some of these freshmen as I would have deemed myself a “nerd” in the past, and liked to have everything turned on in time and perfected to the best of my ability. Although, I used to not enjoy writing and did not see its true purpose. As you know, I am a science major and we are not exactly known for our writing. However, that is not true. You have taught me that scientific writing can be used in a professional and technical manner, and I am forever grateful. I only hope that these students chose the right path and decided to pick up their slack in order to benefit themselves.
In terms of your comment on athlete and teacher pay. I am in agreement. We as human beings, tend to deem certain things more valuable than others. Although why do we choose athletes over teachers to have higher career pay? Are we saying they are more important? I am not a huge sports fan, but I love sports. I was a collegiate softball player at my previous college, as well as a club softball and rugby player for Bloomsburg University. I am aware it does take hard work and dedication to become a professional athlete, but so does teaching in a more mental than physical aspect. $49,000,000.00 is a huge amount of money that I could only dream to have, but if I were to choose where some of this went I would put it towards education. Education is a luxury we have been given, and we are provided with very qualified academic professionals. However, there are times we do not have the means necessary to make our education better. Teachers spend their time helping students make their dreams come true and preparing them for their future careers. While they are making less than 6 figures like you stated. Therefore I hope education will come more into the light soon, and since this post it has. Although, it could still always be improved. In addition, I am not saying that athletes like Aaron Rodgers do not deserve what they have worked for, I am only stating that education is just as important.
I hope you were able to manage all the things life threw your way during this post, as well as today. Thank you for your post and inspiring words.