Februaryisms ?

One-Off Non Series #00 “The Disentangler.”

A commitment to attend a youth basketball game, the schedules grandmotherly texted to us, now holds one last opportunity to attend on Monday evening at 7:30 p.m.

A phone call to Virginia Department of Transportation on February 8, and a neighbor’s phone call to VDOT that same week, ‘pot holes multiplying and deeper by the day,’ brought the gravel loader and grater to Rosemary Road for the first time since July 17, 2023.

An impressively steady and unchanging headache all day today confirms that I am afflicted by a cold but have withstood the evidently harsher version of it, which so many around me seem to be hosting, sneezecasting, muling to and fro.

Eighth and ninth class observations within a three week window happened this morning in the two farthest-from-Shanks buildings; I have managed to put together the 600-word write-ups during each class session, then conference with the teachers while walking back to Shanks together. Five more, Friday, Monday, and Wednesday.

A stop-off at Cburg Kroger today had me carrying home sweet potatoes, garlic paste, and Gatorade, with the first two elevating a sriracha peanut butter broth ramen brewed to tame this blerg.

A side-shed hour standing with the chickens as they free-ranged a bit, turning their time in the sunlight to dust bathing, except for Tiny Honey who chose instead to scratch leaves and pull worms.

A book award committee with an intermediate deadline of March 3, so there is time to get to these last two titles (in the first round) but the first ten have me going to the refrigerator for that Gatorade.

A sighting of yellow flowers across the road near the mailboxes tells us the daffodils have bloomed on February 21 for the second year in a row.

And that sighting is through a today-installed picture window, which replaced the one that inexplicably presented us with an expanding diagonal crack in one pane, lower left to upper right, sometime in early December, after which my brother quipped as chemists do “you do realize that glass only appears stable and is actually in a flow state?”.

An air dancer (guardian) is on a timer near the coop and run, set to intervals of fan-fed animation during daylight, unevenly but more or less for 20 minutes each hour, and this afternoon, despite its flailing or perhaps because of it, high above and circling intently were a trio of turkey vultures and a pair of red-tailed hawks (whose earnestness about actually attacking the chickens we have yet to confirm; today they remained distant).

Along with the daffodils, today bloomed 2024’s first invitation to do an external promotion review this summer; rules of the house, strictly enforced, are no more than two because three last year was one too many and four the year before were two too many.

Multiple, Sequential, Reciprocal



This one is from the same Nagi Noda who made
"Sentimental Journey,"

the other when I’m observed, I watch this.

I think these three–multiple, sequential, reciprocal–ought to apply to teaching observations. Were I a WPA, I would prefer an approach to classrooms observations that involved
multiple visits in a sequence of classes, if at all possible. I would also
prefer to see teaching observations arranged reciprocally, where each person
involved observes the other.
One-time teaching observations are good for verification, for affirming that
one’s work checks off as acceptable on a list of program, department, and
institutional expectations. But that is the end. Until next cycle. This is
the typical approach, right?, the automobile inspection version of teaching
observations.

A preferable (perhaps also idealistic) model is one where senior teachers (i.e., those with experience)
opt in and enter into a mentorship arrangement with new, inexperienced teachers.
This could work for new and returning TAs, too, depending on the nature of the
program. Each would observe the other three times in a semester.
They would also sit down to talk about their impressions, about in-class
happenings, about the shape of the course, its successes, its shortcomings, its
surprises, and maybe even student writing. Much of this interchange could
be handled via email, if schedules conflict. The culminating piece would
be a brief (few pages) record of the conversation representing both
participants, with some evidence of what materialized in their conversations.
It could even be formatted as a dialogue. This would go to the WPA would would,
in turn, sign off on a small stipend (oh, say, $50 or $100
bucks). These conversation pieces could also be circulated internally, turned
into a resource for future practicums, colloquia, and so on. There is not money
for this? Then it isn’t important enough to do. But this is a weak
defense when money (or release time, other forms of compensation) are already
offered for some form of observation and reporting. I’m sure I’m
oversimplifying. I’ve just been thinking about teaching observations over the
past couple of days.