Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Is there a doctor in my office?

I really should be working, and this won't be a long post because of that... I was reading in someone else's blog about her frustration with being called Mrs. when she should be called Dr. or Ms.

I have a different problem, and one not based in any sexism or chauvinism. I get called Dr. all the time, yet have 'only' an MFA (yes, I am fond of asserting that an MFA is a terminal degree, but I am aware that it is not at the level of a PhD). So I find myself constantly being 'promoted' to the level of Dr. Filmmaker-Guy, which I clearly am not. I'm just Mr. Filmmaker-Guy, or Professor Filmmaker-Guy, or in most cases, as I've gotten to know students, just "Film" (i.e., my first name).

It's not that I am offended at being promoted in this manner -- more like embarrassment. I hate HATE having to correct people on this because it's so awkward, but if I don't, I almost feel like it looks like I want people to refer to me as Dr.

A minor trifle of an issue, worth only a minor trifle of a post.

p.s., I don't know if it's the mac keyboard or what, but lately I just can't seem to type anymore. It takes me twice as long as it used to. I've always been a hunter-pecker (hold your snickers), but one that still types upwards of 45 wpm (enough years hunting with two fingers and you do start to remember where things are, after all). So why am I suddenly struggling with my typing. It's not that I can't locate the keys; rather, it seems I frequently hit two or three at once. I feel like Homer Simpson when he ballooned to 300 lbs: "The fingers you are using to dial are too fat. Please contact the telephone company to obtain a special dialing wand.

Are mac's standard keyboards slightly smaller than average? I was a PC user before landing here and switching to a PowerBook G4 (17", woo-hoo), so I am not used to the mac keyboard (not talking about the laptop's keyboard, either; this is a regular keyboard connected to laptop via USB). In my previous mac experience, editing on Final Cut Pro, I had the same keyboard problems. I also notice that the keys seem ultra sensitive -- I frequently get two s's or two p's when I tap those keys (and a few others).

Ah, the things I talk about to avoid working...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Blogging as Class-Prep Avoidance

See, the reason I am a bad blogger most of the time (one previously failed attempt to keep a regular blog) is that I tend to use it as an excuse for not working, as though this recording of my thoughts and activities is actually important (therapeutic, yes; but important?).

So right now, I have class in about an hour and I need to review my notes for the lecture, but I am struggling to stay focused on it when there are so many wonderful websites to peruse that are more interesting to me, at the moment, than my lecture. For someone who was very self-motivated and a straight-A student through school, I have some surprisingly awful work habits and still manage to try to coast into success (in whatever I do) with last minute effort. Problem is, it has always worked for me, even after school, as a professional. Part of me thinks I just work well under pressure, so waiting until the last minute makes me work harder in that minute than I would have otherwise worked leading up to it. Part of me knows that's bull and that I just have a problem with my work ethic.

Morning routine: I always come in early -- I'm in my office by 8:15am because I have to drop Number One Daughter off at school in the morning anyway (and let me tell you, I am NOT a morning person, so getting up before 7am every day is beginning to wear on me). Once in the office, I check e-mail, maybe respond to a few and send a few I need to send, and then I put off the ones that I don't want to think about yet (you know, those "yes, I have to make a decision on that, but no, I don't plan to do it right now, because somehow it makes me feel better just letting it sit in my inbox, festering like an infected sore" e-mails). Then I hop on the web and go through a list of sites I am addicted to checking every day. Some of these are related to my field/industry, but since I am a filmmaker, that means some of those 'related' sites are just movie sites, so it's not like they demand my daily attention.

But I am a web addict, and I can admit it. Anyway, I spend a good 30 minutes to an hour or more doing this some days before I finally buckle down and work.

On days when I really have not prepped adequately, I don't have any problem ignoring the web and getting myself ready for class, so I guess I'm not a full-on addict. But I still fear I fritter too much time away on there.

Today's News: I have declared a self-imposed ban on reading any more post-election commentary, as the 'rhetoric' being thrown around on both sides jusst serves to make me more and more angry. I've been in a pseudo-morose angry state for several days just because I am annoyed at things being said, want to write or say something in response, and feel (know) that I am shouting into the whirlwind -- no one will hear or care, and I will be just another voice pissing someone else off. So -- self-imposed ban, silence, 'get over it' (that's directed at me, not at any of you, though there are some of you out there to whom....)

See, I'm starting up again. Post-Election Mode officially turned off...

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Not much to say...

I haven't had much to say since last week. I have a post-election hangover, from all the ludicrous statements being bandied about. There's enough hate in this country right now to fuel a few extra wars -- and don't for a minute imagine that all of it is coming from the right. I find that, oddly, quite emotionally and mentally exhausting. I was going to use my personal soapbox here to go into detail, but I see that eeveryone else has been doing that ad infinitum, and I'm tired of reading it all, so I'm not going to contribute to it after all.

Monday, November 01, 2004

I'm Good Enough; I'm Smart Enough...

...and doggone it, I still find I need daily affirmations from other people. I was thinking about it this semester, as I've been switching careers and really learning to teach and be a 'professor' -- and I am finding that, just as I thrived on affirmation from professors when I was a student and from bosses when I was working in a staff position, I still need that as a teacher.

Seems silly, I guess, but I e-mailed a syllabus for a new course to my department chair last night so she could send it on to the appropriate committee. Now, this is the first syllabus I've done that anyone has seen, aside from my students and one very helpful colleague. I wasn't sure what the reaction would be. So I ran into the dept. chair this morning, and she said it looked great, very detailed, and she was sending it on to the curriculum committee for approval. Ah, success! It's such a small thing, and all it amounted to, in reality, was getting something off my to-do list, but that tiny little affirmation was a lift. An affirmation, I suppose, that I'm not a total fraud and I do in fact know what I am doing.

I wonder how I'll react to student evaluations at the end of the semester. While I know that the students rarely give them the thought we would hope they do, and that many factors influence how a student rates (i.e., if you're at all hard, some students will automatically rate you lower). After the midterm debacle, with almost half the class failing, I anticipate at least some low ratings. Which is fine. But I know when I read some nasty personal comments that I'll have a hard time with it since those things always stick with me. I'm going to have to learn to have a thick skin and put those things in context, but it concerns me.

Also, since my annual tenure evaluation will basically have only these student evals to fill it out, it worries me that they might be poor. I'm learning as I go (as a teacher), and I am struggling just to keep up with all my class preps, so my creativity as a teacher has been rather low. In certain classes. But I don't know, maybe the students disagree. I've gotten good vibes from a lot of students, and of course there are a bunch sleeping through class, too, but that one is a fairly large class, so there are going to be some sleepers.

But really, how shallow is it of me that I check my ratings on ratemyprofessors.com? I just had to know (in case you're wondering, only one student has seen fit to rate me, and the rating was pretty decent, really).