Friday, February 27, 2009

It can be done...

I am trying to start up a math club here at HPU and getting students to get involved is rather hard. I find lots of interests when I ask my students in class, but no one yet is willing to step up and take charge, except for me.

I do realize that getting this thing going is going to take work, so ok, I am committed to work at this for a little while hoping that by the fall I can find some dedicated students to really get it together.

They decided they wanted to host a local math competition for high schools. I said OK, I will try to see what can be done. I tell my boss this and his response to me is that I won't be able to pull it together in time (end of April).

I sent out 30 emails today to local schools, already 6 have responded that they want to do it. That is pretty good turn around for just a trial to see if there is interest. So guess one. I gave a student a list of 30 more schools to contact and he said he would do it this weekend. Now I have to really nail down some details as to level of competition, entry fee, the time, etc. But it all just takes a little work right! I was discouraged until I saw the responses come in today, it was very encouraging!

I also managed to get get a professional poker player turned math professor to come give a talk later this semester and am organize multiple workshops for the students that they have asked for.

All of this has surely kept me busy...and tomorrow is another long day of interviewing prospective incoming freshman for scholarships here, yeah. Now it is time to go off to a dinner for them and their parents, even more fun!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Students of Today

There was an article posted in the NY Times last week that one of my friends posted on facebook (thanks J). It is about student expectations...that the students we have today have this idea that they are expected to receive grades based on what they think is work, but what educators think of as expected.

"A recent study by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that a third of students surveyed said that they expected B’s just for attending lectures, and 40 percent said they deserved a B for completing the required reading."

So there is this sense of entitlement for them, partially because I think that is the norm throughout high school. Time and time again, my students ask me for extra credit at the end of the semester because they are not satisfied with their grades. There is so much pressure on high school teachers to keep their grades up that I think students are failing to actually learn how to learn. Oh I could go on all day about can read the article here (have to be a subscriber to the NYTimes-it is free).

Then two students emailed me Friday afternoon asking if they could put me down as a reference to be a peer mentor. That they were being interviewed Saturday morning, so they needed to know Friday evening. I did get both emails Friday night, but was disappointed that students don't even have the common courtesy to give you time to respond to things like this. I waited until Sunday morning to respond, telling them in the nicest way I could that I would have been happy to be a reference but that in the future they need to get not all professors ample time to respond to situations like this, that it is just common courtesy. One girl actually emailed me back and said she was sorry but that she did put me down as a reference. That blew my mind too. So I hadn't even said yes, but she put me down anyway....back to this sense of entitlement.

And lastly, EZ sent me this post on you tube about a customer arguing with is a scary world out there that people don't understand simple math like this:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


After such a busy week last week, this will be such a mellow alternative. EZ was so nice to make me a great V-Day dinner on Saturday after my long day at work. Ribs for dinner and strawberries to go with some of that chocolate we have waiting to be used. We melted it down in our little fondue pot and had a great dessert! I was so tired from the day I went to be at 9, but we watched the movie (Rendition-yes totally romantic right?) he got on Sunday. How nice of him, considering I got or did nothing for him on Saturday. Now I feel like the terrible spouse!

See, thing is, we usually don't do anything for these types of holidays, so the dinner and dessert was super nice...and when I saw Beth's post about having a mellow but happy dinner together, that is just the sort of thing we like to do. It was the thoughtfulness that means the most. And just like them, we also got married young, almost 7 years now, and I couldn't imagine life without him.

In other news, my student who I have been pestering to sign up for the race failed to do so and it closed out yesterday. And since I refused to sign up until she did so I knew she was committed, that means no race for me! embarrasing swim or bike! Who knows what she might end up doing for the real triathlon race she is trying to pick in April. I might not really race at all!

Scratch that...I have decided to do the 5K on March 21st that would support the Second Chance Animal Shelter. And just got an update that the kitty I rescued is doing well. They thought they might have to amputate her leg, but they think it will be ok. Just infected, but healing...that would be her back leg...her front leg is broken and they have it splinted! Poor kitty!! Glad that she has a place to stay warm and get healthy and hopefully will find a great new home when she is all better!

Friday, February 13, 2009

What day is it?

I have had one of those weeks...the ones that I never know what day it really is. And it is going to drag on as tomorrow I have to work as well from 8-4. I even had a conversation with my boss yesterday where he was talking about Friday and I had no comprehension that it was Thursday. Here is a maybe not so short recap...

Monday night-I have tried to start a math/computer science club at HPU and we had a pizza/game night Monday night. Good showing of about 15 students who ate pizza and we played some games. I was at school from 8am to 8:30pm that day. Yikes.

I actually had Tuesday night free, but Wednesday night I went to the first annual meeting for the new co-op they are trying to build. I am on a mission to do better things in my life, whether it be for the environment or the local community, and buying local is a great thing if they can get the funding to build the co-op.

Last night I drove to Raleigh to rescue a kitty. This kitty has been living in the crawl space (along with another kitten) in the house being built across the street from us. I have been feeding both kitties...the older one had two injured legs, and this is the one I have been trying to rescue. I called a dozen or so different shelters and either all were full or were not no kill. I finally found a place in Raleigh that would take her and get her help. They updated me this morning that the back leg has a huge puncture wound and they have the kitty on antibiotics and are trying to determine if they can save the leg. It breaks my heart. Thanks though to Second Chance Adoptions...and for all my local peeps...sign up for the Great Human Race (5K) in Durham March 21st!! The proceeds go to benefiting Second Chance and other no profit local organizations.

I told EZ that as soon as our crazy kitties are gone (probably not for 10 more years), then I want to be a foster mom for cats. I also will begin volunteering for the Humane Society staring next week...again part of my new trying to be a better person.

Tonight I am headed back to hear a talk from a college at Davidson. But again, another long evening. And tomorrow of course is the day of interviewing potential incoming freshman at HPU for the Presidential Scholarship. Basically the top students come in to interview with faculty and other students here to try and earn different levels of scholarships.

Oh what a rough week...and next weekend in the mini indoor triathlon my student wants me to do. I swam yesterday for the third time in 6 months and I made it 750yds in 10 min (with 1 lap of backstroke for a little recovery in the middle). The indoor tri is a 10 min pool swim and see how far you go. Maybe by next week I will be able to get halfway down lap 775 for that lap to count!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Lovely Warm Weekend

After crazy cold temps earlier this week, it has finally warmed up! Today if the wind wasn't blowing it would feel like 70! So I decided I would go outside and ride the bike. The first time since Wilmington Tri in September. I have ridden the trainer maybe 6 times in the past month, but never more than 45 min. I decided not to go far and to weave through ever part of the neighborhood to get some mileage checks for when I run. Yes, a whopping 12 miles in a record breaking 48min.

See the thing is, I am not training for anything, so I don't want to go out and ride hard or long, but I want it to be fun and just enough for some cardio and whatnot. I ran a great big 11 minutes off the bike too. A nice relaxing workout in the warm sun. I was way overdressed on the bike and was actually hot.

Right now it looks like I might do an indoor triathlon in 2 weeks. One of my students wants me to do it with her, so I agreed. This means 10 min of swimming in a pool, 20 min on a stationary bike and 20 min on a treadmill, see how far you can go. I did swim this week, a grand total of 1 mile. I managed 600 straight with a 50 back in the middle. The my arms felt like they were going to fall off. The 10 min swim might be killer and I might even have to do a lap or two of back in there to keep my arms on.

Other than that, I am debating running another half marathon the first weekend in May. Maybe a couple 5K's until then to see if I can break that stupid 22min barrier. EZ has found some good cues that I think might actually help, so I feel like I am making progress there.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

First Round of books in 09

So I decided to change the "Books I have Read" part on the side and got rid of all those up there (those were all the books I read last year).

I am making progress on The Omnivores Dilemma...I no longer want to eat corn fed beef, and EZ to make me happy bought ground turkey instead of beef last week. :)

So here are the last three books I have read over the month:
1. Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews. This was such a fun book, I read it in just a couple days before school started back up. About a woman about to get married who catches her fiance cheating on her at the rehearsal dinner. There is lots of different stuff going on that kept me entertained and I am a sucker for books like these.

2. Twilight...Yes I read the first book, and I have the second on but haven't started it yet. I wasn't all that impressed. It was just OK and seemed a bit corny to me at times, but I am going to eventually read the next one, after I read a few more books of my choosing.

3. The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber. This book came highly recommended and I wanted to poke my eyes out reading it. The only reason why I finished was because it was our book club book this month. It is kind of a mystery/drama about finding a possible lost Shakespeare Manuscript. I read some reviews of it and I found people either really liked it or didn't. It might have something to do with the fact that I am not a huge Shakespeare fan...even though it had cryptography and some coding theory in it, to me it wasn't that interesting.

Up Next...I will finish the Omnivores Dilemma and I just got the Night Trilogy by Elie Wiesel, and then we'll see what book club picks.