Back when he was in seventh grade, my son undertook a science fair project. For 60 days he monitored the germination and growth of four populations of bean plants: one control group, one with longer daily exposure to light, one with warmer soil, and one with both heat and light enhancements. His conclusion was that warming the soil significantly sped growth, but that lengthening the (simulated) sunlight did not.
This week I’m planning my summer class, ordering books and sketching out the syllabus. I’ve also just put in a request for my fall schedule (courses already set, of course — this is now about times and rooms). I’m organizing a lecture for next fall, and I feel as if I’m already a little behind on that one. I’ve bought tickets for a trip to England this summer, and I’m looking ahead to the week in September when we’ll take my daughter to college and wondering how that will fit in with my teaching schedule.
Michael Pollan pretty famously wrote The Omnivore's Dilemma; A Natural History of Four Meals. If you haven't read it, you probably should. Unless you're really hung up on your current eating patterns.One of Pollan's points, of course, is that the way North Americans eat takes no account whatever of the lifespan greenhouse gas emissions created by the food we choose to eat. It's a legitimate point, and a significant one, and my family has changed -- to an extent -- the way we eat, as a result.
A new correspondent writes:After six years of teaching and academic administration at two proprietary schools (neither one being your Proprietary U unless you've disguised it incredibly well), I am applying for a position at a local community college. As someone who has made the transition, what concerns do you think I should be prepared to address on the off chance I get an interview?
A regular correspondent makes an interesting point about "retention" in a different sense of the word:Every time you write about remedial classes, retention, or the K-12 preparation your comments seem to get thread-jacked with folks who basically say that the K-12 system sucks...Maybe it would be worth trying to host a slightly different conversation on your public forum... The nugget of my question, "What do you do to ensure that students retain their knowledge and skills from a class?"
It is ironic that the two jobs by which I define myself; mother and teacher, are the two jobs that I began without any real training. Like many mothers, I am still looking for the “owner’s manual” in how to raise a child, and every time I think I have things figured out, everything changes and the child starts walking and climbing and more.
As any good student, the more I study this sustainability thing, the less I think I know. There's so much pragmatic certainty to the problem, yet so much technical uncertainty about the specific mechanisms, measurements and models. And the social/political/economic dimensions are Gordian.The good news is that, at least in the early stages, we know what we have to do.