August 24, 2007

end of the week almost

I got through this week, yay... the orientation is almost over... tomorrow, we have a half day, and most of it is taken up by a lecture that we're attending- the author of a book required in Eng 1010 is going to have a talk... then later at night, we'll have a GI party to celebrate the craziness that we're about to enter!

I found my right office, it's okay- I didn't get the island, I have an almost imaginary corner- the "column" implies a wall- the good thing about my space is it's near the door, and near the book shelf, and there's plants around the room... I have to decorate the floor... I have to get my keys...

my handbooks are piling up... I'm thinking of getting office toys/decor (like bendables etc.)

today wasn't as intense... we spent hours talking about law regarding affirmative action... then harassment especially sexual... we discussed about student-athletes and their role as students first.... the director of the gay, lesbian, bi, transgender alliance (allies) stopped by ... we're doing a lot of comunications... the head GIs did more lesson plan samples...

I signed up for some committees of SAGE (Student Association of Graduate English) - I signed up for undergraduate mentoring committee and the grad newsletter committee... I learned more about Helicon West, a group that meets for poetry or creative writing readings, I might practice some story-telling here...

I'm glad that I get a chance to walk around campus and familiarize myself with the bus and the buildings before all of the undergrads arrive... it's going to be so crowded and overwhelming with the population...

on other news, I have to get my books for my classes and stuff...

Posted by Admin at 6:20 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2007

more policy and worst case scenarios

as the days go by, it's getting more serious, and a reality happening...

I made some changes/revisions to my addendum (my contract with my students-- I actually went back to J-Web and reviewed my old syllabus, which I found reasonable)...

I saw a room that can possibly be a facsimile of my office... I have an office, which I share with other GI's (at least 8 in a room)- it's okay, except I feel like the others already claimed their spot, I'll probably be left in the middle, an island (I don't mind this, except, I'd like a corner with good outdoor lighting- but if I have to, I'll make the most of my island)...

we talked about disability issues and privacy issues- what to do in a seizure episode, how to adapt with a blind/deaf student, and others... how to stay calm...

we met with the multicultural coordinator... (I want to join the Polynesian club and learn how to hula, the latino club to practice spanish, the Native American club for folklore reasons, and the Asian club for the food festival)

we talked about violence in the classroom (the V-tech incident came up)... I was shocked to find out that students (part of their State rights here at UT) are allowed to carry consealed weapons in CLASS (as long as they have permits)...

we were advised, when in doubt/feel threatened to go ahead and call the cops...

we took a break and went to a grad student orientation (exposed to resources that I'll take advantage of, since I paid the fees already- I want to try having a personal trainer, use the indoor climbing practice, go hiking with the outdoor recreation center, etc.)

I met my Eng. 1010 librarian, who will work with me and my class- her name is Flora--- (oh yeah, Karissa, the head librarian here used to have a stitching group, she likes to stitch and she reads that "stitch" and "bitch" book- I think that's the title)...

we met with the whole English department.... so far I'm impressed, USU is really trying to integrate the Writing Center, the Library, the Eng. 1010 classes, and the English Department together... they're trying to do a lot of collaboration...

I started collecting publications- I went to their newspaper office- and wow, it's humongous (Val and Amanda will totally love it)- their newspaper comes out three times a week- it's really deadline oriented- (I saw a couple of typos, and depending on how this semester will go, I might volunteer to do some copy-editing)
...I talked to Sabine (a name similar to me mom), one of the editors for this journal of essays and non-fiction, they gave me a free copy... I talked to Leslie and Chris, editors of the literary journal called "Isotope"- about a possible future jobs (just in case the teaching doesn't work out, just thinking about options)... they advised us to network as early as possible- I learned that Chris, one of the instructors of the creative writing program, is part of the art museum committee, one of his class did a collaboration with art and writing- this might be along the line of my possible thesis project...
I got a copy of Scribbners, USU's undergrad literary and art magazine (but grad students are allowed to submit)- it's only once a year during the spring- I'm planning to submit poetry and some pictures (I started carrying my b/w camera just in case I see something I like to photograph)...

in spite of all the worst case scenarios, when I walk out from the Ray West building, I see the mountains looming up, engulfing me (not in a claustrophobic way), then open space, green grass, a breeze, and the soft hued sky...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:53 PM | Comments (2)

August 22, 2007

overwhelmed in a good way

GI training sessions began Monday, today is Wednesday, it feels like it should be two weeks later... sensory overload, nonetheless I see the value in this type of cramming session- it exposes us to situations so that way it's not going to be as "new"...

by the end of this week, theoritically, we would have experienced the semester in a nutshell...

the first day, we discussed the different roles we have- writer/teacher/student/etc. In one of my reflections, I wrote about being comfortable as a writer but not as a teacher--- I was familiar with writing terms such as drafting, brainstorming, writing badly, etc.-- the only teaching I did was doing presentations... I know how to prepare, to interact, to pass on knowledge- however doing presentation is a one time thing- teaching lasts for a whole semester (which means more connections and questions)... there's a lot of literature people, and they're showing interest in doing more reading than writing but the emphasis at USU Eng 1010 is writing (I even heard some of the Lit-fanatic that they abhorred writing, they just want to read and analyze---- I like reading, but I'm more pro-writing- so instead of reading literature, I like to make literature...
I like USU's approach, because they're focusing on writing process and because I majored in creative writing and took a lot of writing classes, and I do a lot of writing myself and feel comfortable talking/teaching about the writing process- my weak points maybe the reading and discussion sections

we did exercises, such as fastwring, icebreakers and others... on the second day, we focused on the assignments (this session was comforting, it gave me a clearer view of how to explain the assignments to the students-- I saw my roster and saw the pics of my students- it's really exciting)....

since everything is so new, I'm learning to translate for example, at SHU we used the J-Web system, here at USU we're using the Syllabase- this is good for discussions, and outside classroom resources...

a representative from a textbook company visited us and talked to us about the on-line companion of the textbook- it's a good resource ot have but with everything going on, it's hard to incorporate or add this to the designed course-- of course it's helpful (but I don't even know yet what works- the important thing is that the resource is there--- one of the benefits of big university is the resources- but coming from a small university such as SHU, made me more creative in trying to find resources that are limited)...

our head GIs showed us worst case scenarios, we did exercises in grading papers, we talked about policy, conferences, gave advices on different situation...talked about teaching clothes

veteran GIs had a Q & A session about teaching, being a grad student, more teaching and worst case scenarios...

the people from the writing center came and talked to us, then we signed up for our hours, we worked on our addendums (borrowed a lot especially from some of my old SHU syllabus), the grad director talked to us about graduating on time

so in between GI sessions, there's Grad sessions- tomorrow, we're supposed to meet with the whole English faculty/department and have our pictures taken... so far I'm really impress with our GI instructors... I'm learning that USU is using similar approach as SHU in terms of writing process...

sad thing- I'm not trying to be too serious, but I'm hearing other grad students doing the same "bs" they did in their undergrad course- of course this is not all grad students-- maybe it's a facade/veneer that they're trying to project to their peers- being all nonchalant.... one of my GImate, spent two years in the Phil. and he and I sometimes conversed in Tagalog- it's fun! :) I don't want to appear frantic, but at the same time not cocky... I know if I apply myself, I can do this...

away from the tangent, I figured out my office hours, the time I'll be working at the Writing center, my classes for teaching Eng 1010, the classes I need to take for my program and for being a GI... I still have to finalize my payroll, I've yet to see my office (omg), I'm trying to establish sleeping habits--- the veteran GIs shared stories about sleeping in the offices (I see this as a possibility, but it'll be really bad if it gets to this- more omg)...

I'm trying to get use to the bus system, I can walk it, but it's still far... this is a lot, and I don't want to miss opportunities of getting to know my roommate or other people, exploring Utah, taking advantages of the resources offered at USU, trying to enjoy the moment, learning, being sane, more exploring...
we've been eating good food (which won't last)

I'm taking a deep, a very deep breathe...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:57 PM | Comments (1)

gaps in education

a professor once told me that graduate school is good for filling in gaps in one's education- ideally this type of gaps deals with academics, however I'm finding that graduate school is also filling in the gap in my education of being independent specifically cleaning a bathroom, ironing dress clothes and going grocery shopping...

after buying toilet scrubber, gloves, mildew/scud remover spray, the powdery thing that you put in the toilet bowl, my mother demonstrated- it's pretty self explanatory... it was the icky factor that inhibited me from learning this skill until know...

ironing is tricky... we bought this high-tech iron with lots of option- bad for beginners trying to grasp the basics... the technology at first was intimidating but once I decided to ignore the many options and focus on the "on" button and the "universal" mode, the session finally got rolling... I decided to take the step by step approach... my mother started with the collar's inside and out, then went to the shoulders, sleeves, one side of the front all the way around until the other side was reached, then finishing touches... after the shirt, we did the pants, a lot trickier because folds and creases were considered... then there were techniques using steam, damp clothe, pressing hard and following the direction of the crease, etc... my mother also added some of her superstitious caveat such as "never iron and then wet your hands"- I just nodded and most likely follow her adage...

on monday, I went food shopping by myself
side note- originally I wanted to go on sunday, but I found out that the bus doesn't work on sundays- I ended up walking for a mile trying to find the nearest gas station- the first one I found was close, and finally the second one was open- in it was an Indian Restaurant- I was going to continue my exploration of Indian cuisine however the restaurant was close but not the food mart section- I ended up eating a cup of noodles and moon cakes for dinner...
going food shopping without a car, relying on a bus, was difficult- I didn't want to make many trips so I dealt with carrying 8 bags of grocery food instead (4 in each hand)- people thought I was crazy, But I was hungry so everything was justified... the important lesson here is budgeting and selecting- I know how to budget money for everything else but food (usually I try not to delineate any lines (money wise) with food as long as they are delicious)- i factored in expiration date, nutrition (healthy), am I going to actual eat it or is it just good looking to the eyes? etc.--> my meal plan hasn't started yet and it's good to have snacks at the apartment...

Maintainence of living space/ neat appearance /affordable budget, is a learning experience for independent living.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:26 PM | Comments (3)

August 21, 2007

apartment/dorm and roommate

Aggie Village
my room is a little smaller than my SHU room... my roommate's room is bigger than my SHU room (Caniven singles)... but others compensate for that, I have a kitchen, living room (with couch and arm chair), and a bathroom (with good water pressure)... lots of storage spaces... because of finances, I'm not going to go extravagant with decorations...

even though I'm surrounded by mountains, my room doesn't have an immediate view of the mountains (so I can't wake up to the view of the mountain and right behind it the sun rising)... advantages, my room is facing west, so no direct sun, which means warmer/hotter... since my room is in the back, there's good air flow...

all my art background and exposure to trading places paid off, I'm proud of turning my little bland room into a place of solitude and respite... my room has brown carpet (not the doo-doo brown, but more earth clay-esqu)... I sticky-tabbed a poster of starry night (this is cliche but my choices were limited, either a violent reddish "Scream" of Munch or the serene blues of Van Gogh- I needed to be sane- irony, also scrutinizing starry night, there's a similarity in the mountains compared to Logan's)... I did bring another small art from Philly... I had navy blue reversable comforter with plaids on the back... matches my blue lamp, digital frame... a giant calentdar, small cd alarm clock, to beautify my window with a bad view of the parking lot, I put up using crafty wires, a a cool mint green curtain- drape style... a wall designated for memos etc. ... it's comfortable... I also bought new pet plants... their names are faux-hawke and heart

there's speculation that my roommate is Thai... this is confirmed (his name is Surasak, he did the same thing I did, he typed my name in google search and found my blog, and some facebook picture)... he's older than me (I'm finding out that I either get along with older people or younger people, people in my age bracket is rare) he's at USU, working on research for his thesis... he's a civil engineer, his focusing on water resources, irrigation, floods etc.

my section of Aggie Village (dorm apartment) is like a little global village- this is where most of the international students living on campus are housed... I hear Chinese/Thai being spoken outside, sometimes I'm passing Indian people... note on diversity- even though I'm around people from all over the world, sometimes, all I experience is just "seeing" diversity- it's perfectly logical for people with similar culture and beliefs to stick together and be safe in the circles-- for the more curious ones (me), I have to approach them and reach out for them so I can interact with them and learn from them... so yes, I see diversity, but more of the negative melting pot notion...

my roommate is a different situation, since I'm leaving with him, I get more chances to interact with him... English is our link to each other... sure he has his Thai clique, but his not around them 24/7... so far, all the chances I have with him have been learning experience

kind acts
he give me some pork-ribs cooked in the oven called "Ka-dook moo oop" (ka duke moe op)- pork ribs marinated in "parsley", garlic, with steak/ketchup sauce
I learned to say thank you, "kob khun" (cobb coon)
he doesn't mind me asking him questions, he's willing to demonstrate thai and chinese cooking (in return, I'll help him with his English)
I learned that Thai alphabet contain 44 letters/sounds... instead of having 5 vowels, they have 22 combinations of sounds that make up something similar ot vowels... almost each vowel-esqu letter have five progression of sounds... he demonstrated, I couldn't tell the difference... he demonstrated some more, I started to hear the nuances in pitch/length/volume/stress... a Thai word can be different parts of speech totally unrelated to each other, for example, the word my roommate said which sounded like "poh" meant "blind, pick up, find..."

even though I'll be watching the diversity... I'll be able to learn more in depth with my roommate...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:02 PM | Comments (2)

shopping and friendly strangers

would it be bad to go shopping at walmart, k-mart, or bed bath and beyond (I usually go to BBB but they're pricey)? the reasons why I don't like to shop usually at walmart/kmart is because of the horror stories associated with them: sweat shops, underpaid workers abroad, beating national market, unemployment because of cheaper labor abroad, etc... but

being in a new land (Utah), with a few bucks and credit cards, which build interests, I have to go as cheap as possible... I try to balance quality with price, make them somewhat proportional... Going to walmart was the first exercise of getting use to the public transportation (which is free, thank goodness)...

we walked to the bus stop closest to TSC (I'm learning a lot of acronyms, it's sort of addictive)... a lady came out of the education building, and I asked her about walmart and she started explaining to me about the transit center, transfering etc. at first this sounds really complicated but after being here in Utah for five days now, it's getting easier... the kind lady got picked up by her husband and 2 minutes later she came back pulled in front of me and me mum and offered to give us a ride to BBB (because they were on their way there-- not thinking about danger or anything like that, we just jump in.... on the car ride, we learned that the nice lady was also new to Utah, she and her husband were from Kansas... she got a job at the university)

I bought apartment/dorm stuff, some school supplies, room decorations etc.... people can tell that we were newbies, we're carrying tons of dorm stuff, waiting at the bus stop...

the next day- time for check in , it was Saturday... we ate breakfast at the university inn... the view was spectacular, mountains, birds flying, the sun hasn't completely risen,dawn, swallows flying... we got outside, wasn't sure if the transit was running around because of weekend, I asked the first guy I saw if the transit was running on weekends, he wasn't sure... so he gave us a ride to my apartment/dorm (later I found out that the transit did run on saturday) the nice guy helped us moved to my apartment/dorm, also to locate my RA- he was also a faculty, but in the science department not humanities- I hope I remember him and the nice lady when/if I run into them...

after he dropped us off, it was just crazy bringing the other luggage and shopping bags from the university inn to aggie village without car, relying on public transportation...

I came back to the mentioned stores to buy other things (most likely these type of shopping will continue considering my financial status)...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:36 PM | Comments (1)

Impressions of Utah

it's been a crazy few days, and the semester as a GI hasn't even begun yet... here's the catch up

I arrived in Utah on Friday (me mum was with me)... from the get-g0 it was just soon as I landed on Salt Lake's airport... I've never seen so much cowboy hats, pick up trucks with license plates that yelled "Utah!" (with the exclamation points)... the mountains just bordering... I passed by the downtown area of Salt Lake City... I kept falling asleep in the shuttle... OCHRE, the color ochre came to mind, the sun was shining, golden dry almost white grasses (the color of hay), dirt, gravel, stone, clay red, Blonde people, paisley-green shrubs bleached by the sun, although the sun was up, it was pretty dry not humid, there's a bit of a breeze... as long as you're under the shades, the temperature dropped... cow and horse pens in people's backyards...

after at least 5 hours of flying, I didn't have time to have jet-lagged... we checked in at the University Inn at Logan.. and then walked to the Taggart Student Center and headed straight to Registrar's office (remember my run-around episode) and set up a tuition installment plan (I have to pay the first half by Sept 26 and the rest by Oct. 26)...

I was taken by surprise by the nice reception of the lady at the registrar's office... maybe she sensed my apprehension, or my newbieness... originally I assumed that since it was Friday, the last hour of work (I arrived at 4 and they closed at 5), everyone would be moody and ready to go home, nope she wasn't (maybe it's the western laidbackness versus the hyper-busy and moody east-coast attitude, maybe it's the mountains and clear air versus the skyscrapers and pollution, maybe)... basically instead of rushing to get me out of her office, she took the time to listen carefully to what I said and to my predicament, basically I came out of the office feeling a lot better (even if I owe all that money)- and wow their registrar's office is really big, with lots of desk and a tall counter and several people are walking around... the nice lady gave me a MAP of the bus/shuttle route and campus...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:09 PM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2007

Sabra Won!

Sabra, a dancer, an inspiration, won today, the title of America's favorite dancer in the hit show, "So You Think You Can Dance."

She beat over 20,000 hopefuls who auditioned way back in May. The great thing about Sabra is that she dances with her heart first before technique; this is not to say that she doesn't haven't technique... she has potential and she's proven that, also beautiful lines and extensions... she has musicality, flexibility, personality, passion/fire and a cool afro! And she's only been dancing for FOUR years-unbelievable.

All the hard work paid off, and all the times that she fell or dropped by Dominique, she got up and continued dancing. I'm glad she won!

Other news, today is my last day here at Philly, and guess how I spent it? Packing of course- way to wait until the last minute... I have three luggages (one will be mom's pretend one)-- I packed clothes (summer/winter), shoes, work clothes, some stationary set, books, a lamp, extension cords, etc.... I also ran/toned...

my bro and his girlfriend took me out to dinner, we ate at TGIF- I ordered fried green beans with wasabi dip, island grilled mahi-mahi, water and vanilla milkshake- we shared a cinnamon doughnut with cream cheese dip-- got home, finalized packing, and watched "So You Think You Can Dance." Sabra won!

I know next week will be an academic boot camp... and as soon as I get to Logan, UT the first thing I'm going to do is to go to registrar's office and fix my tuition payment plan and then go dorm shopping... it'll be plain crazy...

I'll do my summer recap once I'm settled in Logan... my flight this morning is at 7 am... it's almost 1 am, I'll take a power nap and wake up around 2:30 am to get ready...

to the West...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:15 AM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2007

starbucks update 2

I tried the sweetened shaken blueberry white iced tea- it's okay, it's like a tease, I guess I'm not much of a tea person- the sweetness of the blueberry is tempting, you can smell it, then once you've taken a sip, you'll taste a hint of blueberry and then wham bland tea- it took a while for the blandness to disappear- when it was diluted by the ice, plus a packet of sugar, and lemon to sweeten it some more...

I'm reading the Curious Writer (the text I'll be using to teach), I finished chapters 1-4... it had a lot of good writing prompts and tips... some topics discussed such as brainstorming, fastwriting, writing badly, etc. I've experienced from my classes such as Writing of Ficiton, Publication Workshop, working a bit at the writing center and more... the challenge will be passing on/transferring all these information and my experience to my students- make it relatable/applicable to them... some words kept popping out such as, dialectical thinking (relationship of opposing ideas), rhetorical (study and practice of written and verbal communication- purpose/goals/audience), recursive (back and forth)...

I got a haircut... the lady said she blended it this time (correcting the mistakes of the barber who gave me a faux-hawk)- time will tell... I still wish I have personal hairstylist to style my hair everyday. It's nice to be a self-made person and be able to do it yourself, but the advantage of hairstylists is perspective. They can step back and distance themselves, to see the whole picture/your whole head...

I finally talked to one of my advisor, and he's completing the form that will waived my out-of-state tuition... hopefully he'll have submitted it so the guy who would approve it, will have it filed by this Friday... because I need to finalized my tuition payment plan (the detached operator directed me to find and fill the form online)... I'm hoping that I can catch them on Friday before closing time and hand in the papers, so when deadline comes (Monday Aug. 20), at least they have the document.

Summer summary/recap and final packing will happen tomorrow...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:18 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2007

storytelling festival

On sunday, I went to the storytelling festival at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (part of their family program). There were lots of kids and "kid at heart"... I went for professional reasons- to get ideas, to "research," and to hear stories (trying to get ideas for a possible thesis/project for my program- to learn more about folk storytelling technique and try to incorporate it in art and text, and transfer oral techniques to the picture book medium).

there were two storytellers present: in a traditional sense, they were leaning towards oral storytelling. Their names are Bill Wood and Denise Valentine. Author/illustrator Deborah Kogan Ray was also present, her type of storytelling dealt with the medium of picture books.

the first to go was Bill, and he told stories at the Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, which currently displayed William Ranney's paintings that depicted scenes of American life and themes of western expansion (mountain men, hunting, Indians, horses, dessert, adventure, nature). It was the perfect setting, set the mood for the Indian legends he told. He told a story about prairies dogs, the rain people and stink bugs (he heard this tale from a Pueblo Indian), also the adventures of a porcupine and coyote, and a story about his grandmother, who had a "trained" fish.

Denise told her stories at the Berman and Stieglitz Galleries, which currently holds (blank) Johnson's prints, watercolors and other mixed media. Not only is she a storyteller, she's also a keeper of the culture. She had a fellow member with her, to help her narrate stories with his drum- setting the tempo, the beat/rhythm. She told stories about slaves escaping through the underground railroad, freedom by a box, and a bit of jazz/spirituals...

during Bill and Denise's storytelling, they did several things in common:
-employed props (stuff owl, drums, bag full of wonders)
-got the audience's participation (asked them questions, gave his rational, asked them to use their imagination [being able to visualize something from your head], clap along and repeat phrases)
-performed theatrically (miming, sound effects, exagerrated facials, movement, modulating voice pitches)

-didn't use as much props (she had a rain maker percussion instrument, and she wore a costume to grab the attention, signifying that she's a storyteller?)
-got the audience participation (not so much as verbal as Bill- mostly she asked audience to clap, she also employed chanting/singing- for the people who like to sing, this was great, but for the shy ones this might be too much)
-she wasn't as histrionic as Bill (she had her own persona about her- she had a calm voice for the most part, changed them when necessary, when she gets ready, she takes a deep breath and begins - she really took her time to get started and once she began she just rolled- a tour de force in storytelling)

each had unique interpretation/flavor depending on their culture/ability; they entertained and had a point (I remember them, they made an impact).

after listening to them, I went to Deborah's demonstration and reading- her presentation was totally different... she didn't have performing tricks like Bill and Denise- she relied on her pictures and selected/printed words (this will be more like up my alley)- so my whole point for grad school is to try to find a successful fusion of both.

I still found Deborah's presentaion interesting (even if it wasn't as theatrical as Bill and Denise). Deborah gets her inspiration for her books/pictures in a serendipitous fashion... she's an illustrator first before a writer, she deals with art 24 hours so to support herself financially she took on odd jobs (her bias is that one can teach an illustrator to write but not a writer to illustrate)... she found her agent/editor accidentally, and she likes to write/illustrate about non-fiction people who like outdoors/nature and has an urge to find out/explore their dreams/goals/what they dream about... when I asked her about her connection, she said that the publishing world is "weird" and the picture book industry is so different now than it was back then (from small handfuls to big industry jumping on the band wagon of Harry Potter mania). according to her the committee, bestowing the Caldecott awards, is biased towards good words in stories; they don't know how to look at art/picture... she adviced that that best way to meet editors (put face on the faceless) and get one's name out there is to attend conferences (specifically the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for the field I'm interested in)... she just finished her picture book about an explorer who traversed through the Colorado river, and she's working on another picture book about Wanda Gag... Deborah showed her process, the dummies she made, the finished print of her watercolors, her detailed sketches in black and white...,

she adviced that a good illustrator can "take words" and be able to dramatize them, "elaborate" and to "make tangible"... she told me that "if words can make pictures in [my] mind then [I'm] an illustrator," overall an interesting and insightful session and I got to talk to her personally...

after talking to her, I also talked with two artists, who attended her talk... they were trained in fine arts, but were interested in illustrating... one of the lady that I talked to used graphite and watercolor together. Her name is Indigene... she gave me her business card... On it, I immediately fell in the liking of one of her art piece, called "Solitude"- it's a woman sitting on water- it was lyrical, and the contrasting texture was unbelievable- mind stimulating- I was drawn by it... I told her how the dry/rough grays of the graphite really enhanced the ripply, flowing blues of watercolor. I knew that it was a picture, but I still had this uneasyness about it- the feeling that the watercolors will wash away the graphite- this tension added to the poetry/story of the image... I emailed her and asked for one of her prints, I hope she gives me one... she gave me some tips on watercolor (do it everyday/write process down/ limit your palette until you've mastered the few combinations you can make)

so before leaving the festival renewed, I attended the Make and Take workshop at the Wintersteen Student Center- basically it was a crafts workshop for all ages, but most of the people there, who weren't part of the crew, were kids- so I had weird glances directed at me because I wasn't a toddler- they shouldn't have advertised "all ages" then if they were going to look that way. I wasn't daunted, I wanted to do something creative... I colored a horse, cut it out, and made a puppet out of it- I colored it blue, and it reminded me of the German art movement/group, the blue rider/"blue ritter" (expressionism/and colors)... it was a nice souvenir...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:01 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2007

Being a Philly Tour Guide

Today, I resumed my faux summer job of being a tour guide. Karissa and Mike drove from Harrisburg and visited Philly for a day; I was their tour guide. Not only did we walk around, see the sights, ride/chase the "Sphlash" bus, we caught up and chit-chat about the latest news (face to face, personal conversations are ten times better than email because the possibilities of the topics of conversation can trail off in any direction- the different connections/associations between shared stories are dynamic and exciting).

Originally, our itinerary was divided into three sections: Historic Philly, Urban Philly/Shopping, and Artsy Philly. In summary, we covered the historic part pretty well, and we ran out of time exploring the artsy part (we're recent graduates with lots of loans so we didn't do much shopping nonetheless, we saw a lot of free outdoor art).

Mike and Karissa arrived at my house (the one with lots of flowers in the front yard) at 9:30 in the morning. After a bit of rest and cantaloupe, we began our adventure. We took the bus that went through the nice "ghetto" filled with mural art.

Even though we had a plan, we didn't strictly follow it- the plan would just "guide" us (I remember when I was in Europe, our tour guide rushed us and kept our schedule- sure we saw lots of things, but I don't know if I created fond memories with all the things I saw. So learning from this tour guide, I wanted the tour to be somewhat comprehensive and memorable).

The first thing we saw was the Quaker's Meeting House, it was a good simple first stop, a good set-up to contrast later with the flamboyant Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. We passed Betsy Ross's house (SHU will be proud of her entrepreneurial skills), and walked through Elfreth's alley to get to Christ Church, where Betsy, Washington, Forbes, and the rest of the colonial gang practiced their freedom of worship/religion.

On the way to the National Constitution Center (NCC), we passed by Benjamin "Benjie" Franklin's grave (there's a story about the pennies on top of his grave, but I forgot it). Walking wasn't that bad, the weather was excellent- not humid, a bit breezy, and when one was under the shade, it felt like a spring morning.

NCC was fun. We watched "Freedom Rising" on this high tech theater that integrated live narration with sound effects, lights, and video clips. The technical problem episode was hilarious- we were asked to exit the theater to come back 10 minutes later. And people started protesting, wanting to stay... nobody moved so we didn't move either. The show was inspiring and very patriotic. The exhibit on the constitution was saturated with media and interactivity (a good place to bring people/students who are learning about the constitution). The architects had fun designing this museum (cool sculptures, cartoons, and lots of curves and circles).

We were famished after this so we went to the Reading Terminal Market (RTM) for lunch (via the Phlash bus and an all day pass). There was a smorgasbo(a)rd of food to choose from like the classic hamburger to middle eastern dishes. I learned something new today- I always regarded the RTM as a place for lunch and heavy food, I didn't think about it as a place to get desserts. They had a lot of desserts to choose from: Amish dutch apple turnovers, flying monkey pastries, bakclava. We ate hoagies from Famous Carmen (either we ate a late lunch or the hoagies we got were so darn fulfilling because come dinner time (6ish) we didn't feel hungry but we still got authentic philly cheesesteak to go). We witnessed a tourist losing her temper and asking for her money back. Mike and Karissa ordered sharp cheese with their hoagies, I wasn't sure what cheese to get, so I stayed neutral and got the Swiss. For dessert, Mike got coffee, Karissa and I waited for the gelati at Chestnut street (italian for icecream, but low in fat, very flavorful, more delicious than regular ice cream). I tried a Zambione (Marsala wine, coffee, eggnog- flavored gelati), and Karissa also got Zambione with a scoop of Raspberry (cream-based mixed with the water-based, with enough punch and twang).

We sauntered through Chinatown (3rd largest in the nation), took a picture of the friendship gate, and went straight to Independence Hall, then crossed the 2nd Bank of America (we couldn't find the first one), saw the portrait exhibits of American patriots and finally saw the most popular and photographed "crack" in the east coast, the Liberty Bell, and its gap a.k.a "irreparably cracked."

By the time we finished the historical part, the artsy museums were already closed (5 pm). We went inside the Basilica, where we saw people coming out from a wedding... glanced at the first free library, and saw King Tut, well a picture of him anyway. We said hello to Rodin's "the Thinker," and peeked the "Gates of Hell"... we saw Rocky's statue, walked up and down the Rocky steps, and gazed at the Philly skyline.

We chased the phlash bus, and the sadist driver, instead of picking us up on the the spot, told us that she liked to see us run up the hill for the bus... we entertained the other tourists, we saw smiles on their faces when we got on board.

Before taking the bus home, we stopped by JFK plaza/Love park and city hall and the plaza with lots of gigantic sculptures of game pieces (fun, quirky photo shoot). We met other tourists, asked them if they could take a picture of us and vice versa (three of them were going to move to Philly to be part of Teach America). While at the bus stop and in the bus, we talked about grad schools, SHU memories, pets, jobs, future, etc.- it took a while for the right bus to arrive (plans changed)... we finally got back to my house around 8:30-9:00ish at night (passed intended departure time- Mike and Karissa still had at least 1 hour and 45 minutes of driving back to Harrisburg).

"In conclusion" it was a fun day.

P.s. I hope it happens again and all are welcome, just contact me to make sure that I'm free...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:17 PM | Comments (5)

August 10, 2007

finding motivation

now that I'm getting ready to go to UT, I'm finding it difficult to finish last minute things before heading off... lately I've made shuttle and hotel reservations... I'm making a list and checking it twice of what I need to get when I'm there... I'm trying to fix/straighten my financial situation... I still have 4 and 1/2 chapters in Spanish review...I'm trying to hang with friends and family... I started packing... I need to do last minute shopping... I've invested some of my savings in a cd (can't touch the money for 6 months but the interest is higher than the usual annual rate, according to the guy, there wasn't any risk, it was just like a savings account, the difference is that you get penalized for taking out money during the 6 month period), I'm reading humorous essays by Jessica Zafra, and a short story by Henry James, finished reading Thoreau's "Walking" and articles in National Geography about Parks in general... saw the movie "The Ten" at the Ritz Bourse (scandalous and comical)...I've updated my mp3 player, created a professional email address and this weekend, I'll be a tour guide yay! :)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:18 PM | Comments (4)


I am no longer called Michael B. Diezmos... I am now called Student ######. For the past couple of days, I have been getting in contact with my new school, and it has become part of procedure, whether inquiring or leaving a message, to state my student number foremost before stating my name... I don't have my number memorized, I still refer to the piece of paper given to me...

Besides getting used to this numeral existence, I experienced my first big run-around episode (out of my entire academic career thus far)... dealing with money, specifically financial aid and tuition... it all began with an email... in a nutshell, the email demanded that I pay $5000+ by August 20th or all my classes would be dropped...

"WHaT! Where did $5000 come from, then I was reminded that I haven't paid the Aug. installment of my dorm -but that was only circa $500- where did the $4500 come from? maybe they made a mistake and thought that I was going to pay up front my housing and meal plan for the year.... I did the math and that only came down to around $2500, after some musing, I wisen up and checked my account summary online... the rest of the bill was for my tuition...I got confused, what happened to my "tuition waiver"... I shuffled through my portfolio looking for the contract I signed..."

It became clear to me that the "out-of-state" tuition was waived (back in April, when I was making my decision, my head wasn't as clear as possible- I'm thinking about graduation, the next two years of my life, friends-- it didn't clearly register in my mind the full meaning of that statement: tuition waiver) BUT what about the "in-state" tuition? I started to panic a BIT, then came to my senses, in-state tuition is always exponentially cheaper than out-of-state's... I was relieved to find out that the money I'll be making while being a Graduate Instructor will be enough to pay for the in-state tuition but before I got into this happy enlightenment I expereienced the "run around"

I called the registrar's office... gave them my number and asked them about my tuition : "Why was it so high?"... they got a bit defensive and pointed out that I was "out-of-state".... then told them that I was a "Graduate Instructor" , the lady I talked had an inkling of my problem and sent me to human resources to look for this other lady... I tried her extension, and her answering machine kept picking (which I didn't understand because it was just the beginning of the day), I thought she was sick so I finally left a message... my paranoia got the best of me, so I called the main receptionist and asked her to connect me to the general HR telephone line...

once there, I told my situation and another lady tried to correct me "don't you mean graduate assistant? "No, a GRADUATE INSTRUCTOR-- at that moment it dawn on me- about what Brock Deither said about the low status of GI....She kept correcting me "don't you mean graduate assistant (she corrected me the way people tried to correct me about Seton Hill being Seton Hall)..." eventually she got annoyed at me... in my mind, if I was going to get the run around, I needed specific direction, get their "word." I asked directions on the things I should do, so if I did anything wrong, it's because they gave me the wrong direction... she tried to end the session because she didn't want to deal with me "you're not in the SYSTEM yet, and you have to be in the system" (AH MAtrix! ), She tried to argue using the point that I had to work at USU for at least three months before getting the "in-state" benefit- she didn't know about the little loophole that exempted Graduate Instructors

she finally brushed me off and gave the infamous line "go and talk to your department" before leaving I checked if the lady that I thought was sick, was there, and she was so I asked if I could talk to her...

When she got on the phone, obviously she got my message, and she might have heard the frustration and sigh in my voice and tried to correct the situation by first apologizing and ADMITTING that I was experiencing a "run around"... she finally gave me the info of the person who handled tuition waiver... I called him, he was sick,

I called my department, not really assured- the lady I talked to said that she'll "call me back if there were any problems" and if she didn't call me it meant that everything was fine ... she didn't call me back...I thought this response was very unprofessional, I'm left wondering, I know about patience, I know that you can't always get straight answers... but the scary thing about big university and being part of the system, letting the computer do all the organizing is that computers' automatic responses don't handle the gray areas of predicaments, they see things as black and white, and I do believe that if I don't straighten this financial conundrum, I'll be having a hard time during my first few weeks, I don't want to start on the wrong foot, I don't want to add this type of stress on top of the other things going on like teaching my first class, and taking my first classes for my program)... I called the waiver tuition guy again and found out that my department hadn't submitted the tuition award request yet...

my next action is to email a reminder to the director, then confirm with the tuition waiver dude, then call registrar again to set up a tuition payment plan to coordinate payment with my first pay check (hopefully I'll see it)... pretty soon I'll be part of the system, and when I call the office, I'll have to first state my student number and confirm it with my name in order to interact in this faceless numeral existence...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:45 PM | Comments (3)

August 6, 2007

GI: Ch. 11 Building Your Future

The book, which began on a good and encouraging note, also ended with the same positive and uplifting outlook. As of right now, I don't know if I'm going to be a teacher/professor, and I see this job as a transition (but just because it's a transition, it doesn't mean that I'm going to be lackadaisical about it. I'm going to put effort, hard work and 300% energy and enthusiasm to it). Being a graduate instructor is a learning experience, and I might actually like it (who knows?). I'm going to do my best, besides I already bought the shoes for it (lol).

"Teaching composition may seem like a professional dead end, but as you do it, you learn a wide variety of skills that can prepare you for professions from librarian to corporate manager to, well, English professor" (162).

-Hone your writing skills by editing your students' papers and teaching writing concepts (writing coach, editors, ghost writers etc.)
-Pick up managing skills through planning and organizing classes and activities. "You may be young and feel that you're relatively untested, but how many people your age are responsible for twenty-five or fifty or a hundred college students? Taking on that responsibility is no mean feat" (165).
-Collaborative work/team work
-Reading and researching skills
-Personal people skills
-Computer skills and survival skills

Remember to connect, relate and integrate!

"For a writer, every experience offers potential material... To appreciate what we do, we must not feel that we're trapped in it; composition isn't a dead end but a path that can lead to a thousand places, including more composition" (171).

Always be professional!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:09 PM | Comments (1)

GI: Ch. 10 Outside the Classroom

This chapter encourages instructors to spend time outside the classroom by joining committees and attending staff meetings. Sometimes these could be helpful or aimless, they can even "make or break" careers. The "default" thing to do is to "accept a committee position only if the group includes people you need to impress. Always ask for time to think over a committee invitation, then ask a veteran or supervisor for advice" (156).

Definitely attend staff meetings if you can.

I remember my crazy committee/activity days while at SHU. Of course in the first two years, I did so much that most of them where just for interest's sake but eventually, I sifted through the activities and kept the most important activities which actually pertained to my major and priorities... but I don't have four years to find out, I'm only supposed to have two. I don't have the leisure of being an undergrad, I'm a graduate student now, and on top of that I have a job as a graduate instructor.

Responsibilities so far (and I haven't even begun yet):
I have two classes to teach, which meet 3 times a week (M/W/F).
I have office hours and I have to put in 3 hours of tutoring time at USU's Writing Center.
I have my classes for my program.
I have a GI workshop course.
I need to find time to take Spanish classes.
I can't forget about my sanity and ART.
I need to explore the "West" and have FUN while I'm here.

-Professional Conferences (attend and network)
-Professional Associations (join if you can afford them, make sure they are pertinent to goals)
-Continue writing (no matter what genre/style)
-Do community service

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:42 PM | Comments (0)

GI: Ch. 9 Nightmares

This chapter is a mini worst case scenarios for instructors and teachers. The author rationalizes that "if you ponder these scenes, you'll be in a better position to avoid them or to deal with them if they do happen" (134).

1. Angry students (not your fault, you're the scapegoat)

2. No one does the reading
(rational- students don't want to learn- action- ask troublemakers to leave, have a quiz, short essay on details of the reading to start discussion, extra credit for those who actually did it)

3. Students challenge your authority
(actions- get the class involved (ask their opinions), give yourself time to think, use humor, be firm, confront the student one-to-one, stare silently, ask a veteran, get supervisor involved, don't ignor it, read about it, keep in mind that "rebellion is healthy"

4. Diversity scares you (be sensitive to the issues...)

5. Too much or too little time
(spend free time writing, brainstorming [makes me remember Publication Workshop and Writing of Fiction classes], connect, always work toward the assignment, plan, have extra materials)

6. The class is dead
(I remember sitting through some of these classes, usually on Friday, before a big holiday, or when i finished a big research paper prior and felt very exhausted- advice, be patient, silence will push somebody to talk, small group projects is good, start going around in circles, just call on individuals, journals)

7. Their papers are horrible
(remember Tom Carnicelli's twelfthweek rule- on the twelfth week, progress in writin gis usually visible, examine the prompt, see if it's clear, change focus, look at the papers again and reevaluate see which ones are sloppy versus inability/illiteracy, ask a veteran/supervisor)

8. A student accuses you
(keep tab, take notes and date them, get help from veteran/supervisor, watch out!)

9. Plagiarism
(Understand your school's policy about it, enforce it, talk about with students, spend time discussing, prevent it by monitoring students' papers, have preliminary work to show steps, develop personal relationship with students, always get a second opinion when find a cheater, ask around, google it, find the sources, "" et al, follow punishment policy)

10. You're the student's only friend
("The issu is boundaries. You need to decide where yours are and make them clear to students" [152].)

11. A student disappears
(Send email, ask around, and don't forget about those who are still present)


I finished reading the graphic novel Pride of Baghdad, and I watched the Bourne Ultimatum movie (it was really cool, action-pack thriller... my friend and I were late to the theaters so we had to seat on the third row... too close to the screen... the fast movements were hard to discern, it was a rollercoaster ride!)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 5:58 PM | Comments (0)

August 4, 2007

financial matters: college loans

On Friday, I talked to the telephone operators at American Education Services (AES) for an hour... I found out that I had an extra $10,000+ loan... I totally forgot about this one... before leaving SHU, the statement I received only mentioned the Federal loans I borrowed but neglected to mention the private one I have...

I'm in the process of consolidating the federal loans... the private loan can't be consolidated in the same sense as the federal loans... it has to be a variable (changing- depends on the market)...even though I'm going back to school, I'm going to start any way paying little by little...

there's no such thing as joint consolidation for federal and private loans... but I can have a joint bill, handled by AES...

the operator said that they can't send me a bill during the grace period. Nonetheless I can still make payments now via internet and print out a receipt. In the long run, it's cheaper to pay "principle" and "interests" at the same time instead of "targeting" the interests first (Do you agree with this, reader?)... I'll get the first bill in November... Most of the money I received for graduation will go for the first couple of installments...

Tengo suerte porque mis padres van a ayudarme until I'm fully employed.

In other matters, I'm thinking of building up my checking account and maybe putting some of my savings in a CD...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 3:14 PM | Comments (2)

GI: Ch. 8 Avoiding Stress

Some tips...

-be prepared (know your environment)
-when in doubt ask a veteran
-know your department's goals and rules (the heirarchies)
-manage time wisely
-be yourself (as comp teacher, you'll be playing many roles- "Years from now, our advice about essay leads or paragraphing will have evaported from our students' brains, but students may stll remember, may have internalized, the enthusiasm we bring to writing, our empahsi on discovery, our high standards and generosity" (110)
-ask, what would my good/bad teacher do? with discretion, don't cling to everything your teachers did
-be human "struggling always to 'make teaching personal' without 'taking it personally'" (113).
-continue to REFLECT
-like your students and be positive, have conferences
-use your imagination
-keep it simple, less is more, keep your word
-be flexible, open to interpretations, CONNECT, accept change (don't be stubborn)
-refer to p. 121 for Grading Persuasion/Rubric, p123 for Feedback Guidelines

Being an English major (Creative Writing), I was surprised to find out that composition was usually not highly regarded by other departments (even in most English departments). Composition is at the bottom of the learning/academic heirarchy (132).

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:52 PM | Comments (0)

GI: Ch. 7 Confident and Humble And Other Contradictions We Live By

"Composition is a world of contradictions" (99).

1. Clear and Concise
The odd thing- when I first heard this from my teachers, I didn't think about it as a contradiction. One can be detailed and not be wordy (the details can contain brief-straight-to-the-point sentences).

2. Graceful and Political
3. Creative and Comprehensible
Sometimes I have problems with this paradox. Sometimes I make associations unfamiliar to my audience... but from the past, I learned that even if I felt like my paper wasn't technically creative (in terms of syntax and form etc.), my perspective/ and the evidence supporting it is pretty novel and not so mundane.

4. Write for yourself/Write for your audience
Whenever I'm doing an assignment, I always keep in mind the requirements and after that, I write about things that'll interest me and at the same time satisfy the requirments.

5. Deductive and Inductive
6. Directive and Student-Centered
"It's a tricky business, balancing the desire to let the student make decisions about the paper with the need to give the student some direction, some help" (103).

7. Challenge Students and Lower Anxiety (Be like a Coach!)

8. Be a devoted Teacher and Have a Life
This is a funny one. "It's not exactly that I favor the better students; I'm just willing to match the studen't own energy" ... "The best teachers live, inside the classroom and out" (105).

9. Confident and Humble
I have problems with this one... sometimes my confidence can be mistaken for cockiness... and being humble can be mistaken for being spineless.

10. Entertaining and Serious (Don't try to hard to be funny, just "be," make sure the point is relevant, CONNECT!)
11. Authority and Peer (Develop human relationship)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:18 PM | Comments (0)

GI: Ch. 6 What You Need to Know About Theory (For Now)

"All good teaching is theory-based... which is just another way of saying that good teachers know what they're doing and why" (82).

Composition is good for mental development and growth because "writing is the most concrete mode of human thought"... and "composition courses still focus on the practical" (84).

Always be flexible!

-Working on something meanigful to improve writing is a theory.
-Improved attitude affects every aspect of a writer's performance.
-Make students more comfortable with writing.
-Writing as a process: can be small steps/broken down to pieces.
-Writing as expression of what matters to students- a chance for student to express themselves.
-Writers products of their culture/environment/bias (social construction) but can still go beyond with their imagination.
-"Composition and feminism often share politics and pedagogies: belief in collaboartion, emphasis on cooperation rather than competition, delight in the discovery and construction of new meanings" (92).
-Active learning, motivated, learn from others
-Immerse, demonstrate, expectations, responsible, practice, response, applied, engaged
-Interpret text using textual evidence, use gut reaction backed up with evidence
-Consider audience, how meanings will change to different audience
-Open up, REFLECT on experiences

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:47 PM | Comments (0)

GI: Ch. 5 Grading, Attendance, and Other Pains-in-the-Butt

This chapter is about grading and other issues involved in classroom management. I don't know what to reflect about because this chapter would make more sense while I'm actually applying it to my students. This is definitely a good chapter to refer to when it comes to pratical teaching matters. It advocated being prepared for the worst, and the best quote that summarized the chapters stated that "we have to establish rules and policies not for the one hundred students each year who act like reasonable, civil human beings but for the one per year (or decade) who acts like a bad lawyer on steriods..." (63)

The rules should be clear (answer any questions unclear) and honest.

-follow the models set forth by your school/department and once you're experienced modify it accordingly
-keep tabs of everything for now (attendance, browny points, participation, etc.)
-time management (be timely, follow deadlines, be flexible with excuses, etc. )
-subjectively/objectively (content, technique, grammar, requirements, etc.)

Some of the things I agree with:
Should we grade improvement and effort?
Yes -Students who improve but still don't receive good grades get discouraged.
No -It's a shame to discourage untalented writers, but it's even worse to punish writers just because they wrote well before the semester began.
Default: Grade the product, but make students aware that effort and improvement affect the "fudge factor."

Work for consistency

Grade participation?
Yes -as long as it's genuine not some sort of BS
No -no deduction for silent ones, we should encourage multiple forms of participation...

Grade attendance?
-part of Fude factor and penalty (3 missed classes or frequent tardiness equal lower final grade) unless family emergency

Grade everything- so not busy work, doesn't have to be letter grade, plus, minus, check will work

Cover Your Ass (CYA)
Write everything/keep evidence just in case of future lawsuits and arguments with boss (I don't like this part- you're trying to help people and if you're not to their liking you can get prosecuted)

Syllabus =contract (assignments with explanation and due dates, plagiarism statements, changes, special exceptions and excuses, athletes)

Document inappropriate comments/harassment

Don't sign anything without carefully reading it!

Phone acting up- sometimes the keypad is frozen... I don't know if it's the network or the phone, but sometimes, voices get cut off/disoriented/muffled- not like "dropped call"

finished 1001 Nights of Snowfall (Fable's comic book series)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:11 PM | Comments (1)

August 2, 2007

GI: Ch. 4 The First Day

I actually started thinking about this a long time ago... some of the things I thought about were brought up, for example,:

1. Going through the syllabus- cons (can be boring), pros (tells students what's expected of them)... I do agree to some of the points brought up... such as... most students wouldn't read it word for word... for me, everytime I get a syllabus, I looked up the due dates of major projects, the grading system, sometimes I read the objectives... and over the semester, I looked at it to check the homework... if something is unclear, I ask questions

2. Creating community- cons (not sure yet who's going to stay and who's going to leave), pros (spends time wisely, not getting out early, accomplishes something, establishes authority, maximum laughter is good for icebreakers, imagination and silliness)

Think about everything (exercises, activities, readings, etc.) as part of the overall picture/goal of exposing students to the importance of writing as clear communication. Don't waste a day or activity, connect everything (practical steps complete in itself but continue to build on in order to create a bigger step)!

Quirky Activities to get Started
- listening to music (I did this in Wansor's class [American Lit])
- gut reactions (a good way to start writing, why did it take a long time for most students to realize this? why didn't high school teachers teach this?)

Accomplishing something in the first day is better than dismissing class early. "It will leave both you and your students expecting each class to be purposeful and worthwhile." (62)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:32 PM | Comments (0)

GI: Ch. 3 Resources

The most important resource is people. They can share with you, (mis)lead to the wrong/right direction (depending on how you've treated them), and no matter how much of a loner you are, people will make your life heaven or hell whether you like it or not.

Secretaries- underappreciated and underpaid... if on your good side, will do all the nit-picky, little things for you that you don't have time to do... will help you go to the right people and more

Administrators- handles clerical/office stuff, famous for red-tape bureaucracy

Mentors- someone more powerful and succesful who believes in you

Colleagues- peers and veterans (teaching with you), veterans like novices (like yourself) because you make them feel appreciated, succesful and important.. in general veterans sympathize, likes helping and sharing their wisdom with you

Students- you learn from them and vise versa, collaboration is important, community

Offices- more legalities and policies, like disabilities, plagiarism, sexual harassment, equality, etc.

The Writing Center- encourage students to visit and let their experience dictate whether they'll come back or not

Websites About Student Demographics/Books and Articles- follow the trend to begin/get your feet wet, then follow your road

TRUST your INSTINCTS! and remember to refer back to this book when faced with the circumstances mentioned!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 5:59 PM | Comments (0)

GI: Ch. 2 Preparing

This chapter talked about being prepared and over-preparing. Most of the topics discussed made me laugh. For example, the mention of presentable clothes- the author talked about dressing to be more authoritative- I looked at it as dressing to have a different state of mind (I actually did my work-clothes shopping months ago- for me it's psychological- it puts me in teaching/presenting mode, being professional).

This chapter reminded me of doing a presentation for class. To be not so nervous, as mentioned above, I wear special clothes, I wouldn't normally wear on a daily basis (the clothes are physical manifestation of the job I'm trying to accomplish), signifies something different...

-at SHU while living on campus, I was fortunate to have the chance to go in on any empty classrooms almost at any time (as long as campus PO hasn't lock up the room yet)... sometimes I'd practice my presentation (imagining that the seats are not empty)... I also find it true that once memorize the "first line" of my presentation, everything after that do follow- most of the time it's not verbatim, but I get the general idea, less mechanical, and I get a better grasp at the subject I'm talking about, I keep recapitulating my point in different ways...

the importance of a syllabus-
- spine of the semester
- don't forget to enforce what's written
- contract
- be flexible and specific, clear

My first exposure to syllabus happened during my sophomore year in high school, when I took American Lit. with Sr. Marianna... I liked the idea of syllabus very much because I get a chance to work ahead whenever I finished a section early... I also didn't have to keep writing what the homework is (unless not specified)... and if I was going to be absent, I already know what I have to do to make up

In a nutshell, planning is important...cohesiveness and connections are beneficial to students (learn more, applicable)... sharing is caring (adapting materials to better understand for self, sharing is the only way to show others that your system works), and when in doubt ask a veteran comp teacher.

I just have to remember the rituals I do when preparing for a presentation- having a point, practicing, dressing the part, handouts/visuals, interacting (prizes/questions), emphasizing the point...etc.

Thinking about all this stuff is overwhelming... but according to the author being prepared can be "calming and reassuring."

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 5:21 PM | Comments (0)

summer of dance

this summer is the summer of dance for me.

I have seen so many dnace performances from the dance festival from Wilma Theater, to the performance at Kimmel Center and recently the performances at the Mann Center. On the first day of August, dancers performed in Mann Center different types of dances: Irish, Japanese and African dancing:
Irish -steps, tapping, a bit of ballet [changement-like movement, restricted leaps]
Japanese- theatrical, miming, kabuki-esque, nature movements-using props, stylized with feet pose and movement, symmetrical
African- beats, rhythmical, bursting, big movement, liberal, jumping, energetic, isolation

later that day, I watched the movie Hairspray- broadway musical turned into film which was inspired by the 80s' movie with Rikki Lake-- it's about rebellion, change, segregation/integration, 60s civil rights movement... with talented cast: John Travolta, Michelle Pfeifer, Christopher Walken, Queen Latifah and more... it's energetic and funny- this musical was more dance oriented than other song-oriented musicals (the songs are okay).

At night, I watched "So You Think You Can Dance" on Fox... Sabra is my favorite dancer this season!

the only thing left for me to do is actually go enroll in dance classes again for fun (I wish)!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:46 PM | Comments (0)