Strange, Like Mondays

i_hate_mondays_mug copyWhen I climb the hill toward the back door to my office, it feels fresh again. I have time to look forward to what might be accomplished this week, the space to take stock of what I’d like to do , what should be done, and what is necessity. The place seems clean again, and there’s a new beginning to everything. This is how Monday dawns on my world.

Weird, huh? Monday is to days of the week as accordions are to musical instruments. There’s an entire industry devoted to t-shirt and coffee mugs hating the first day of the work week, and here I am on Monday morning feeling a kind of freedom eclipsed only by Friday at 5.

Is this a product of workaholism or optimistic delusion? Are my weekends home more work than a day at the office? Am I a devil’s advocate, eternally contradicting whatever norms there are to counteract, no matter how silly?

Today I thought: I’ve got the whole week ahead of me, maybe I’ll feel prepped for class this time, and maybe I’ll do that most elusive of tasks, reading. I have a stack of books about teaching that I’m dying to discover, a twitter feed innovating by the second, and actual magazine with pages unturned – a few still around from 2015.

Maybe (maybe!) this is the week I learn something interesting, beyond another technical workaround or tool tip. I might find new ideas that could help me be more prepared for teaching, or at least feel better about not being prepared enough. I might learn about what Dewey, or Postman, or another great thinker has to offer me about this noble educational endeavor we’re in. Perhaps this knowledge will help me think of myself as a teacher who knows about teaching, and who can talk about teaching with more erudition. If not, at least I can use the word erudition in a sentence.ken-kesey-pic

I have great aspirations to be a teacher, and having knowledge in the art and science of the field is a gap in my confidence. I have to know more for my own level of surety, especially among peers. I teach, but I only feel 84% a teacher. That’s a new high! And yet, Monday smiles and says this, THIS is the week, I will go further. Of course, it said that last Monday, too. In any case, this brief moment has at least produced a blog post.

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Week number 2

How was the first class? So,
it went exceedingly well considering the considerable temperment of technology and the unseen gaps in the system. Even with the rush and confusion, the sense that this might actually be fun, interesting, fun, learning some cool skills, fun – they seem very excited, and that’s how I wanted it to start, One zoomer in Verde got connected and could see me, but I didn’t even put the camera on the student view and let them get the view I had of 18 student silhouettes in the room. This week will have that to add.

I am going to change the routine. Instead of a totally different second project, let’s stay on the hoverboarder and add COLORING, CROPPING, and COMPOSITING. Almost have to add the basic motion elements of scale & position. Just those three new elements will be way enough, along with a complete review of the basic edit job they got to do. Let’s apply new levels to the existing work, along with more complete editing. This is the way I’ve been seeing it go, what it needs to reinforce the learning. Complete the parts they may have missed, add another media element, too? How about their own music?

Let’s learn the elements: the frame, first of all, and some basic resolution. Can this be taught in stages? scaffolding up in small bits instead of all at once which is what I seem to lean toward? Let’s leave the ratio part for later.

Art talk will begin.The 5. The DBs: 1. Self-Portrait and 2. Art videos they find in the 50 best page (separate from their own choice in art shwntell). But no, I am watching them and they are so out there. They really are boring as hell mostly, and now we can skip ahead and see predictably where it’s going, we used to have to just sit there. No, I think the usual will actually work; it’s a good example of video art in a couple genres, and it’s ready to go yay!

The Art shwntells – 2, that’s going to eat up 30 min. Curve balls: one of the signups dropped, after I let the other one know he should delay his another week, then have to backtrack on that message. Complications. At least the comm ed’s have gotten access to the network.

What to say about production? watch those videos, who watched them? what did you learn? Get close ups [repeat].  Talk about the quiz topics: clip, scrubbing, IO, ctrl D, trim, .. what about ‘native size’? and the HD resolutions? Will it be too much?

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August 28, 2017 · 8:39 pm

Day One Again

The suspense is about to be obliterated by the reality. Let it be a moment of re-birth. I am readier than ever before, and still less ready than hoped for. More confident that I am the right person for this, anxiously unsure of exactly what is supposed to come out of my mouth tomorrow night.

I resolve to be a light of love. Spirit, let me be a light! Inspire! Lead! May a safe container for creative learning take shape, together. Let these high ideals fly into the universe, invisibly cradling us while we get down to this messy business of learning.

I should be arranging notes and tightening my outline. There’s a lot to do in the two hours we have together each week. Working in the Cloud, technical failure looms over every click like spring weather in Wisconsin. Four of the 18 will be Zooming with us via video conference. What could go wrong?

Instead I gather my thoughts in writing, here. When I was jamming with the Supersilliest Band for kids at libraries and music fests, I strained to be a good musician. Remembering the words, much less singing well and playing an instrument at the same time, was a stretch. Did the kids care? Yes. Not whether the words came out right, but they cared deeply about whether it felt right. If I was having fun, they were, and we had lots of fun. I think about this whenever I work with people, and remember this truth: it matters more how we feel than what we do.

Hey you, says my higher self, we’re pros, so we’ll do alright. Do the homework and be done with it. That leaves the rest to attitude. Relax. Realize these people are here by choice. And so are you. Don’t forget, you wanted more than anything to do this, to give your gifts. Delight in that generosity.

 

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August 21, 2017 · 8:43 pm

Growing the Mindset

I am suddenly fired up. I watched a TED Talk that spoke to what I have been looking for in my work: HOW to continue to improve and some compelling reasons for why. Attitudes are more crucial than technologies.

The “Growth Mindset”: it’s not a new term, but like many nice ideas, it lacked real meaning beyond my own story. I get the idea, but this talk gave it flesh and bones. Not only do I see how to work toward improvement more clearly, but I believe his assertion that the way I’ve been approaching improvements hasn’t been optimal. This aspect may have the most impact for those who believe playing the game is more important that practice, which this talk debunks.

It seems easier (and more fun) to play the game, but a majority of time should probably be focused on the many ways to prepare and reflect on the game in order to make real strides.

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March 8, 2017 · 2:56 pm

Begin the Begin

A new semester, and new experience, a great REM song. It’s springtime 2017, and you’re revved up to make videos. Why? Why did you take this class ? Why? Why am I teaching this class? Both good questions! If we find our motivation, we’ll take action with enthusiasm, shoot for a goal, keep our eyes on the prize. There are ways to get to the heart of our motivation. Ask yourself: What do you want ? Is it to make a better home video? Are you trying to promote yourself or your business? Do you just like to shoot videos with your camera and want to do something with them? Have you been inspired by videos and thought you’d like to try making one yourself? Are you a video maker that wants to get better? What story do you want to tell?

How do you want to make the world better, and how can you do it through your video voice?

 

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January 16, 2017 · 9:39 pm

Breakdown

Years ago I was walking across the quad and ran into a guy I knew a little, because in towns like this you know most people a little bit. He was about to go to class. “Communication. Like, I need a class for that?”. I saw the point. We were communicating right there, which we obviously knew how to do. Why a class in something I do already, have been doing, and seem to do just fine already. Extend that a little further, and a lot of the educational mission goes out the window – generally, the liberal education part. The part about learning what our minds do.

Thinking about thinking. Writing is thought, out in the open. You are reading my mind right now. Yeah, I’m scared, too!

Things seem so simple, until we begin to dig a little. I start to write a simple little blog about this guy I talked to, whose 1-minute encounter sticks with me to this day for some reason…for some reason, and I wonder what it is, because most things are quickly and forever forgotten, but not that. Suddenly I’m in the thick of thinking, and I see it on the page in front of me. It’s an alphabet jungle. Communicating. I learned to communicate from being a baby with my mom. I hope you’re laughing at that sentence.

I learned to communicate by reading, writing and talking. I like to read but I’m not a bookyworm by any stretch. I like to write but it’s really really difficult to keep the slumbering fire hose to stay on topic. I like to talk but that takes real effort due to many things, among them its terrifying immediacy and the fear of what might come out. Perhaps if I took a class….

Truth: I held the opinion of the quad-persona on a very superficial level and failed to see the purpose. Never took communication101, 102, or even 058. I see things a bit differently now. Communication is EVERYTHING. I’m suddenly enthusiastic because I do believe that, (and it’s exciting to feel something with certainty) but I will keep the caps unlocked for the rest of this, if you do continue on after that outburst. Not much more now…

Learning something specific is interesting. Learning about learning is fascinating. Learning about each other is fulfilling. The Winter Institute is coming up and I’m worrying about getting sessions together and will anyone show up and… whatever happens, the thing I have and always will enjoy most is being together, talking: communicating. Taking time to read a 9x9x25 blog post seems like a pretty frivolous diversion from the massive to-do list I have before me, and I never, ever, regret it. Writing about something and posting it to the world (of perhaps 3, very dear, readers) is completely audacious and over the edge of my comfort level, and the view out here is pretty spectacular. If it goes unread, I have at least communicated with myself, and I know a little more about the hidden conversation that goes on beneath the surface.

A person I know a little, because in this college community we all know each other a little, spontaneously told me how much she liked reading these blogs. It helped them see all these other parts of our college life that we don’t otherwise see. It helped provide perspective, and through this very personal kind of communication, brought a bit of clarity; a window through the cubes and walls of email-ish formality. I hope you’ll all write one from your points of view. I’m very curious.

 

 

 

1 Comment

November 15, 2016 · 7:40 am

writhing

its pretty bad the writing that happens and doesn’t happen in the span of an average day spinning in the chair, today. Wondering. some people can’t even read. some can’t rite or spell. it si importante that we have clarity clear writing to express thoughts in a way that we can get to the point. we can use or not use or not care in poetic langourage how people think of us. Things of us reman on the page. This 1 exampl.

Use paragraphs.

I see less bad writing than the English teach hers {but a bit lately and wonder if we can survive without writing. writing good. Well, Just text me. All emojies, all the time. I like the freedom not worrying about the punctuation situation and stiff rules that govern the runes the ruins of symbolic expression we find ourselves in now. then ; forever. There are still good writers. Even if I misspill all the time. Even if they can’t get it in the lines. (They, not me, because I’m a great believer in good form. I love knowing how possessive catapostrophies work. And hyphens, glorious hyphen-nation this country was built on hyphens.

I want to forgive every person who misspelled. I know some beloved people who made spellling errors and still moved people with their wordles. Moved them deeple. Deepened their understanding of teaching and

Said beauty. Full things. Real things and despite their lack of preparation for the next edu-level went to our great accepting collegiate experiment in community of learning. Welcome ALL. You are welcome. We’ll nurture you to be better writers, because you are good learners, Courageous gorgeous people all.

To get back to my thesis question: no, and yes. We can survive without being able to write well, but we wont thrive. Let’s agree to forgive and get gooder at everything.

 

 

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November 7, 2016 · 8:42 pm