Showing posts with label Introduction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Introduction. Show all posts

100th Celebratory Post!

So this is my 100th post.  It's taken my about 2 1/3 years to get here.  Not a record-breaking pace by any means but I survived the 6 month death march that happens to many blogs.  I've also successfully transistion the purpose and name of the blog from the Hitchhiking Adjunct to By Any Other Nerd.  That obviously makes my first blog post, way back when, a bit irrelevant (I'm sure there's plenty that makes it irrelevant, but just speaking to this particular aspect).

Not all posts have been "true" posts to this particular blog.  A good deal have been blog posts I've written elsewhere (such as the NSCC LETS Blog and the Freeway Flyer) and added a snippet of the post here, then redirected the reader to the actual blog post on that site.  Overall, I've managed to keep going with this blog with a range of topics, ideas and thoughts, that people have regularly commented upon.  So I've managed to keep it looking fresh, or at least I believe so.  I feel I've got a better hand on it than maybe I did after the first year.

Memorable (and Not So) Posts

So by far, I think the post on the death of a student was the most poignant and intense of my posts in the 100.  It's always curious to see what readers have responded to.  For instance, this post on sequels, had over 2500 hits.  It makes me wonder whose radar it showed up on.  This post about how we process intolerance with regards to religion, I didn't think was fantastic on my end, but the details responses by my students I found to be very interesting. My Letter to the Editor in the Boston Globe was probably one of my personal highlights in my writing experiences.  

Direction


Having reached 100, I plan to keep going forward and writing more.  I'm hitting a good stride with it and have found it's good for different outlets such as my posts on running or my thoughts on audiobooks.  I'll continue to cross post what I'm writing elsewhere as I feel it's good to have a centralized place for my writings, but really do want to expand more.  I'm also going to consolidate some of my categories as there's a decent amount of overlap and there's some categories that aren't as relevant as they were before.  Also, I can feel that I'm shifting into a more creative phase of my life and I plan to document that on here. Whether that's gardening, computer scripting, or woodwork (all of which are vying for my attention), you can be sure find it here.

I'm hoping to grow my audience more.  No so much for the fandom (though who am I kidding, I'm a total attention whore), but more for the interaction.  I like writing, but I like dialogue more and want this blog to be a conduit to that.  So please, be sure to spread the word, Like, +1, Tweet, Link, etc.  I've certainly enjoyed the traffic and the people who have left comments and look forward to more.

So for my regular readers--what have you enjoyed, learned, taken from this blog? I'm hoping there is some answers to this one :)



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A New Direction (and Update)

Greetings and salutations one and all.

So it's 6 months since last we met and many of you have faded off into the sunset--for good reasons.  A blog doesn't live on lack of posts.  But much has been changed over the course of the last 6 months and clearly this blog is taking on a new direction (Not to be confused with EC Comics' New Direction).

So what is this new direction(s)?  Well, I am no longer a hitch-hiking adjunct (or rather not as much).  In the fall, I interviewed for and started my new position as Coordinator of Instructional Design at North Shore Community College.  This means that I have "largely" reduced to just teaching at 3 schools (soon to be 2--all for good reasons) and I've started work on my 3rd Master's Degree (what a nerd!).  Ok--that's a lot of shuffling and I can break it down.  I got the new position (yay) and quite most of my teaching gigs to the capacity that I was teaching them (6-8 courses per semester).  Because teaching 6-8 courses is really like 2-3 jobs (calculating transporting time, grading, prepping for 4-5 different classes, etc), meant that downgrading to 1 full time job is awesome, but clearly, not going to keep me fully engaged.  Additionally, a Master's Degree that aligns with my job a bit more directly than the other two masters I have is a great idea (or so I'm told-hahaha).  Thus, even with teaching a handful of classes (3 online, 1 face to face) and working full time, starting the Masters Program actually works fine (plus, I'm only taking 1 course for starters).  Despite all of this, life has slowed tremendously (and wonderfully).

Thus, I find myself looking at this blog and still wanting to maintain it, but realizing that "Hitchhiking Adjunct" doesn't work so much any more (A moment of silence for its passing).  I still want to use this as a means of reaching out to my students as I still fully intend to teach.  But I also want it to flesh out ideas and hopefully with some of the downtime now, I can seek more opportunities to develop my writing and get out those books that are percolating in my head.

So what does this new direction look like?  Probably much like the old (though more frequent posts, yes?).  I'm still engaging in popular culture, education, technology, politics, environmental thoughts, and the world around me.  While I'm not longer blogging as a Freeway Flyer, I am now also blogging regular for the North Shore Community College's Learning, Education, Technology and Support Blog (LETS Blog), which I will likely repost regularly here too.

I hope--whatever readers are still around or come back or arrive anew, will engage with me, challenge me, and share your own thoughts about what I might ramble about here.



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The Blog Year In Review

Well, it’s been a year since I started this blog; so go me for beating the odds and being among the blogs to actually survive beyond the 6 months.  I’m also congratulating myself on managing to be somewhat reliable and post a few a month (most months) and manage about 60 blogs in the first year—that’s just over 1 a week.  I’m hoping to improve that in the next year, but who knows.  And ultimately, I shouldn’t be too proud of that since a reasonable portion of those posts were repostings of things published elsewhere. 

So how has blogging been for me?  Fun, frustrating and rewarding. 

Fun.

I’ve been enjoying having a forum to put together semi-coherent thoughts and put them out into the world for people to read.  I’ve always enjoyed writing and this gives me a means of writing about things that grab my attention and feel I can talk about with some level of intelligence.  When I get into a post that I’m thinking about, I find myself smiling and rather enjoying myself.

Frustrating.  


There’s sooooo much to write about.  My links folder filled with article links and topic ideas is like 30+ pages long and keeps growing.  I would love to spend a week straight just writing as many as possible and then just release them on a regular basis.  It’s also frustrating because it does slip my mind with my other responsibilities and then I feel like I’m disappointing my blog.  I’ll log in—and it will still be there like a faithful dog but I project the long face and sad eyes saying, “Why have you abandoned me for so long?  Don’t you love me?”  Ok, maybe not that dramatic, but there’s still a sense of guilt. 

Rewarding. 

 I’ve had friends, family, students, and random strangers comment on the blog, or to me directly that they enjoy reading it and appreciate what I’m doing.   It’s also rewarding because it has definitely spurred my writing and gotten me back into working on some other writing projects that I hope I will at some point be capable of talking about here (or even pimping out the products of said work). 

Ok, I’ve made it a year. So what’s the next goal?  Any recommendations the readers out there?  I think I want to write more and I’m pretty sure that’s feasible with the changes in my forthcoming schedule, but what else?  I am also hoping to do some more writing on audiobooks.  In fact, I had planned to do a good deal of that, but it never came up in my posts.  


If you have some thoughts of what you’d like to see…or hell, you’d like to write something on here, either add to the comments here or send me an email.  

Here’s to a year!




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Beyond the Class; Or What I Hope They Take From My Course

Regardless of the topic, there's much I wish for my students to take from my course and it's in reflecting through my own instructors that I realized where these urges originate.  I have had a great deal of fantastic instructors, mentors, and colleagues (some of whom were instructors and mentors at one point) that have taught me so many things beyond the specific content of their course and so many of those lessons I hope in some way to instill with my students in whatever way I can (and preferably relevant to course material).  Here are some of those that come to mind.

Be active; not passive with life  

It's the "Carpe Diem" approach that remains so present in my mind from my sophomore year of high school when Mr. Marshall showed us Dead Poet's Society.  Life moves quickly and there is so much one can do with it.  Don't waste it.  Like I say in a great deal of my courses; if you have made it to the college, you have surpassed the education and opportunities of billions of people on this Earth--do something with those opportunities.  You should be challenged and engaged with life; not idyl.  There's much to this world waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.  Maybe a better way of stating this is to be conscious of your life and what you're doing with it. 

Words matter

Whether you're deciding how to word a criticism towards your friend ("That sweater doesn't suit you" = That sweater is damn ugly!) or how you word your final essay; how you say it is as important as what you say.  We are shaped by language and that can be problematic in many ways, but the important lesson is to remember that words have meaning and subtley.  Be conscious

Education is more than a grade

If high school was about passing; college should be about growing.  The classes in which I learned the most were the ones that I sometimes did the worse in or had the most to learn.  The grade for obvious reasons is important; but the focus should be on the process and consideration of learning (and deliberating on whether you are open to learning or just getting a degree; the difference could be between succeeding in both internal and external ways or barely making it). 

Help is not a bad thing. 

We learn at different rates; we need different approaches to learning; asking/receiving help is a good way of attaining those things we are having trouble getting.  Don't sacrifice help for pride, fear, or some other thought that claims help is a bad thing.  No one makes it without some form of help.

Failure is a significant part of the learning process

An extension of the previous one for certain.  We often learn best from our failures.  Whether that is getting a question wrong in class discussion, doing poorly on a quiz, or failing a course.  Failure can be good learning process if you take the time to consider how/why things went wrong and pay close attention to where you (or the situation itself) may have gone astray.  If we all quit the first time, we fell off our bikes, no one would learn how to ride a bike. 

Meeting the bare minimum is not way to go through life

Some students make the comment, "I just want to pass this course."  Regardless of the course, the bare minimum of passing seems problematic for several different reasons.  The first is that, this is your education--you pay for it with money and time (time in the class; homework; commuting to the school, etc).  Do you want to approach your education as "Just enough to pass"?  Equally problematic is that, while a bachelor degree is important to your overall work potential; more and more, they are not signficant enough to open that many doors.  Competition for jobs gets increasingly tougher and fair grades simply won't cut it.  You need to be committed to college; not just there to get through it.

Have direction in life, but realize you're using a map and the final destination may often need updating. 

This one's simple.  Make plans, but be prepared for them to change.  The plan will help you focus; being prepared for change will allow you to adapt more easily.  The world is changing at a rapid pace in a variety of ways; it will not always act in the way you expect.

Whatever the course; there is something redeeming and relevant to take from it.

If I responded to students who said "I hate history" with "I hate students who hate history," needless to say, I would see massive flight from my class if not some panic-striken faces.  I don't (and other faculty don't) expect love of our subject matter, but often you are there as part of a larger purpose (such as a Bachelor's Degree) and therefore, this course you're in is part of that and has something to offer.  Often a student's reluctance (I hate subject X.  I can't do subject Y) are the biggest obstacle to doing well in the course--not the course itself. 

Reflect; often and thoroughly.

If you can't articulate "Why" you like something; then you might want to take a step back.  We're told so often of what we're supposed to be, to enjoy, to like, to aim for.  But if we can't find substantial reasons for why, then we're not acting of our own volition but are being directed by others and usually those "others" don't have our interest in mind (P.S.  "Because others are doing it" is not a valid reason either).

Every choice we make is political. 

Springing from the one above, realize that so much of what we do is part of a large world system in which we are connected in thousands of ways to people all over the world.  As people who live on the high end of the economic scale (and if your in college; that most usually true), our choices with regards to clothing, food, material goods, cellphone providers, marriage, childrearing, etc all have political ramifications that ripple throughout the world.  This can be exhausting and many would rather stick their head in the sand, but it's learning this and being a more conscious decision maker that may make the difference between our own success and demise.

It's not about knowing the answers; it's about asking the right questions.

I tend to be of the camp that the more I learn; the less I know.  However, conversely, I get better at asking the right questions and unravelling the messages behind the message.  So much of life is about decoding the signs and realizing the signs are rarely fixed; therefore, so long as you continue to question, challenge, press forward, you're in a better situation than just assuming you "know" it.   

College is more than just class.

If your thought of school is simply going to classes and getting a degree; you're missing out on half your education.  The various programs, groups, clubs, activities, events, etc at the school are there for you to benefit from in both direct and indirect ways.  If you don't leave college without expanding your professional network by some 50+ people, you've wasted a good deal of your time.  Going to college is engaging in a variety of events and meeting people (besides dates for Friday night--as important as those are). 

Talk to your instructors; soon and often.  

We're not mind readers and more often than not, we're actually real people with genuine interests and concern for our students.



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Finding the Point

So as you can tell by my first two posts, I’ve been toiling away and thinking about what I’m going to do here in this ole blog of mine.  I had lots of trouble finding a focus and angle with which to engage in this form but I had the light-bulb flickering today of how to go about this.  I realized that the best way for me to organize or focus my thoughts within this blog would be to think about who would be served best with my ramblings.  Well, who has been served best (ok, that’s a big claim) by my ramblings in the past.  My students, of course.  That is, semester after semester there is ample material that I come across in which I think could be useful in any of the various courses that I teach and here would be an excellent opportunity to keep track of them and allow for asynchronous discussion from the different vantage points.

Here’s what I’m imagining; though have no clue if it will ever be this good.  As I come across articles, ideas, thoughts, and relevant material that I think is worth mention but also discussing, I will include in here.  But, by assigning different tags (comics, history, literature, etc), I will also categorize it for future use.  At the end of each segment, I plan on asking questions directed at the different courses/subject areas that the article might be applicable to. 

What I foresee and hope for the project is an ongoing discussion with students of different times (both with me and with each other over a singular semester and beyond) as new students enter, others exist, and still some linger around because it’s a good conversation.  In a lot of ways, this corresponds to my ever-evolving philosophy of teaching.  I tend to see my “role” as a college-instructor as symbiotic, gaining a great deal of material, ideas, and inspiration from my students and hopefully, that is reciprocated and will continue to be so beyond just the standard classroom setting.  I’m invested in my students’ intellectual development and want to provide opportunities for them further engage and benefit from my experience, knowledge, and resources.  I think this forum will significantly help me reach those goals in new ways. 

Well, I feel good; I feel like I’ve found my place and can surge ahead in my discussion and purpose. 

Of course, this sounds either really interesting to my non-existent (or not yet fully formed) readership or just redundant/irrelevant to those future students who are subject to scouring this blog for material to discuss.  To the former, I have nothing to say since you’re nonexistent.  To the latter, I simply say, this should be familiar to you; you know, me rambling on, trying to make sense of things.  Share and enjoy. 


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Greetings and Salutations: Or, Why I Think the Slogan Works

Welcome to this new blog.  I would love to have a solid and clear mission statement here that was inspiring and cause you, the dear reader, to be awed and moved and ready to RSS this thing in every way possible.  But it’s not likely.

The slogan I’ve come to decide upon with this blog is:

The Hitchhiking Adjunct:  Taking a ride into whatever direction opportunities and life takes me.

I like it, because it accurately represents me in so many ways.  As a full-time adjunct, I am among the nomadic tribes of college educators who go everywhere but settle nowhere.  I say that not negatively, but rather compellingly because for me, that’s part of the beauty and reality of my life or just life in general.  Us, “humans” are a pesky lot that strive for permanence in a universe where no such thing exists.  To be in flux is what life is and being an adjunct, merely an accent upon it all.  I know, I’m probably a bit too philosophical about it, but it works for me.

The slogan seems also appropriate since it does indeed represent my versatile interests.  I follow where the wind takes me.  And by wind, I mean my interests.  Indeed, they’ve taken me far.  My father and I still joke that while he thought I was wasting my time reading comics as a kid, I have managed to get paid at several schools to teach courses on comics or in other college courses use my knowledge of comics and introduced them into the class.

Anyhow, I’ll keep this short and save the more verbose and tedious entries for the future.  Thanks for coming.


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email.

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