blog bio archives oikos 

« Student of the Year | Main | Convert »

The emperor's new clothes or A fine example of how I can't make stories connect

I'm going to start posting my livejournal dreck here. This will hopefully provide a better transition to g-rad only.

· Grand Valley's fall semester started last week. The first week of every semester we give orientations to students in how to use the Language Resource Center. Normally, that consists of giving them an intro, having them click through a powerpoint for 7 minutes, explaining how to use "Sanako Media Assistant", having them record a practice file, having them click through a Flash presentation on logging in and using the eVideon web server, then explaining some rules. This all takes about 40 minutes. I made the Flash presentation and it's shoddy. The powerpoint explains too much and is too passive. The practice file they record with is too long. I felt like giving it an overhaul.

Last Sunday I spent 4 1/2 hours at the lab coming up with a new presentation. I edited a "what's your username?" php script I toyed with a few months ago. I put up a powerpoint of screenshots at the instructor station and projector. I wrote a long script. I created a shorter practice audio file. I cut it down to a little over 20 minutes. But it's all me talking, often rather quickly. And the script is written so there is no extra talking necessary- there's not time for it. Normally we spend 2 weeks giving orientations, Justin did the scheduling and we got them all in in just a week, with only 4 left over.

· So, I spent last week working 8:30 am (ish) to 8:00 pm (ish) (except Friday). I wore "nicer" clothes all week. Collared shirts, tucked in. And...was mocked. (David and I discussed the 'dresscode'. And he suggested nothing fancy, but no print t-shirts. I have some shopping to do.) I gave 60 presentations, Justin gave 5 for when I'd take lunch breaks. When I'd get done, I'd go home and sleep and rest my voice. Sort of. Speaking for so long every day made me loopy. I'd start to find which stupid schtick and jokes would work and would repeat myself and feel like a hacky comedian. It's so tempting and vile to try for a laugh out of students when it's something scripted or rehearsed. It's cheap. Other times I'd say somethings that were just ridiculous. 100 and 200 level students have to spend 50 minutes in there a week. We encourage them to spend more, of course. I told them that they'll be in there so much it'll be there second home, and I'd be honored to be called their Papa.

· Toward the end of the week I started referring to the buttons in the Sanako Media Assistant as members of a family.

Stop was pause's big brother. Then there were the rewind and fast forward sisters. Papa Volume would speak louder or shut up depending on what you told him. Uncle Recap would tell the same stories again and again. Grandpa Repeat won't stop talking. Mama Record was the queen (no real explanation).

· One professor would always introduce me to his class and warn their* students about not taking out their anger on the computers or lab assistants (as if they'd had problems with their students having huge anger issues before). Their introductions were always condescending too.
"This is Kevin Timmer. He's a student just like you and has other things to deal with. He and his lab assistants aren't here to be yelled at. They're fragile. They're here to help, but don't bother them or take out your anger on them."
"Umm, actually I graduated. This is my job. And the lab assistants are there to answer any questions your students might have. Don't be afraid t ask them anything. They aren't fragile."
"Oh, haha. Sorry 'bout that."
I'll have to deal with them carefully...

*Gender neutral

· In one orientation Justin erased my writing of the url of the webserver because my handwriting wasn't great. I told him to re-write it in all caps if he wanted doesn't matter. Anyway, he said, "Your handwriting's terrible". Yeah, it is. Still, this made me slightly furious...him saying this in front of other people. So, like a prick, I said, "Oh, okay. This is Justin, everyone. We went to high school together. And tell me... who is whose boss now?" I felt awful afterwards, but I almost suspect he didn't even hear/care.

· The orientations were a bit of a power trip, though. I'm a shy person. But when I'm discussing something I know (which is very little) or in a place that is like..."my home" or just my "zone" or whatever, I am in charge and confident and very unshy. And with this is the odd notion that I am in charge of the lab and that I am in charge of the lab assistants. We had a staff meeting on Friday and I let them know how scared I am of the job and that yes, I'm in charge and have "authority" but that we're all "a team", etc. I'll be walking a fine line between "but I'm your friend" and "I told you to do this". It's very odd.

· My cold didn't help at all last week. The Keyhole feared that we all got Lindsey/Greg's mono (after I shared an Orangina with Greg). I spit up phlegm all week and nearly lost my voice. (After I told my grandma about my busy week she said, "Hooray! Welcome to the real world." She often doesn't understand some things. When I told her I wasn't dating anyone she told my mom, "Kevin sure is picky. He didn't used to be, though." Does she know what she's saying?)

Other thoughts...

· While I worked I had no idea how severe the hurricane was. It was only after my dad e-mailed me saying that he was offering our house to three people for up · to ninety days that I knew how crazy it really was. I won't say much more.
· Kanye West's album and comments about Bush are both awesome.
· How can John Roberts be the next Chief Justice? What in the fuck?
· I'm excited about ASSSSCAT. I'll be recording it.
· Anyone want to go see the Einstein play Thursday at 7:30pm?
· Chris, Mark and I liberated a girl's bike for Tom. I love riding it.
· I saw the Grand Rapids Icecream truck headquarters yesterday. At least the "Company Good Time Ice Cream" HQ. Look at all those trucks! And watch out for our childrens.

Post a comment