Morning update. In bed

June 27, 2003

Morning update.

In bed 2:40 to about 6:30. Had trouble getting to sleep even after staying up and drinking milk until I was tired. After going to bed I lay there for a while fashing myself about my advisor's comments. Was so tired I forgot to check the time when I got up, except that I know it was after the second alarm. Call it a scant 4 hours of sleep.

I got my advisor's comments on chapter 4 last night, by email. He thinks the ending is solid, but there is "a lot of muck" before we get there. He got cranky about my grammer, I checked, it was a sentence I had missed when proof-reading. I feel less incompetant to know that I did not misunderstand the grammar, I just missed the proofread. I would rather be sloppy than get the principles wrong - I am not sure what that says about my personality or my choice of career fields.

He thinks there might be some there there, but I NEED to: sharpen my arguments, get rid of the dreck, write in a less rhetorical prose style, add some substance to my ending point, and rethink the crucial 3 sections that lead up to my conclusion. Basically, it needs a complete rewrite.

Class last night went fairly well. We did Reconstruction and then we did exam review. I made it through 1872 and the start of Redemption, halted before we got to the actual end of the class. It was still closer to the end than any of their previous classes, but I still felt a couple of hours scant of complete coverage.

We went over the exam, I had 5 possible questions for the long and for the short essay. I planned to go down to 4 of each, let them talk me into 3 of each. Alas, we voted, and my favorite short essay question got nixed. It was one they could have handled well, but a plurality felt that they had had too much political history.

Compare and contrast the "First Party System" of Federalists and Democratic-Republicans with the "Second Party System" of Whigs and Democrats. How did each begin? How did each function? How did each end?

I think it is a good solid coverage question. I spent a lot of time on party politics, they had a lot of information they could have used, the question spanned four different class sessions, the equivalent of four weeks of a regular semester. But they did not want it and I chose to remain within the democratic process I had created.

After class I asked a couple of the extroverts what I could do better next time. Once they realized I was serious they gave some good advice. Let me see if I remember it all.

    For military classes

  • the military is conditioned to 50 minutes of class, 10 minute break. Perhaps use Taylorism, have 2 breaks and go faster between them.
  • Military students are more motivated, they also have more pressures on their time. I was very good about being flexible with their work requirements, but some of my assignments were overwhelming. Including:
  • Hand out a sample midterm as part of the syllabus. Do not surprise people with written exams - the military is all multiple choice exams. (Alternatively, try to work up a test bank. But, after my experience with multiple choice questions during Western Civ, I am gun-shy of test banks.)

    For general classes
  • Show less of Midwife's Tale which they found dry and more of Uncle Tom's Cabin which they found gripping.
  • Keep the homework
  • More discussion, less lecture, but they realize that is hard to manage while doing coverage
  • They were frustrated at times by my choices of what to focus on. Instead of covering everything the text does, at the same weight, I cover some things more and cut back on others I chose a set of topics that gave me a narrative of political history leading up the Civil War. In the process I shortchanged women's history, popular culture, and other fields. I never got around to giving the lecture on how to tip a hat, I did not hit Catherine Beecher until the last day of classes. I need to read Rebecca Edwards's book before I next teach; her dissertation looked solid and I want to see how she fleshed it out.
  • Use more Hollywood movies, but use short clips the way Balogh does in his lectures - to spice things up or make a short point. This was a Good Idea (tm) and I will do it.

Things to do today: Get into a better mood, then grade Go to the bank and get the certified checks for the closing Pick up baby and drop off monday gear Cook dinner Figure out if I want to revise 4 right away or if I want to shelve it and rewrite 2 first.

And so to work.

Posted by Red Ted at June 27, 2003 09:18 AM | TrackBack

Hey im a student in florida and i have to answer the same question for a government class...i love your blogs!!! you think you can send me some info. on the subject to help me write my paper! i will sooooooooo appreciate it <3 Thank you in advanced.

Posted by: Roxy at March 19, 2005 12:54 AM
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