Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Like a Fish out of Water . . . so Far out of My Realm






          I remember taking a communications class in college.  I think it was an elective.  It turned out that there were only seven or eight students, the instructor and me.  We all sat around one table to have discussions.  We were told that we didn't have to purchase a book, but each of us would teach a lesson.

          I was the only student in the class who was not a communication major.  For the most part, they seemed to be talking in languages that I, myself, did not understand. The week before I was assigned to give the lesson, I wrote down the topic name and went to the library to do some research.

          I'd be lying if I didn't say that I had bluffed my way through the assignment.   I had used an example that somehow got out of hand.  The subject I had picked at random was also advertised on a button that one of my classmates had been wearing.  I honestly hadn't noticed until she pointed out.  Or perhaps I had, and used it on a sub-conscience level. It was a good conversation, as I recall, but for the most part, I wasn't even a part of it.  The one wearing the button apologized for steering the class away and getting "off topic".

          "Actually," I said with semi-faked confidence, "This conversation has been a great example of what I was hoping to convey."  And summed up whatever notes I had prepared for the remaining two minutes that were left.

          This mod I am taking two classes: Management Principles and Pre-Algebra.  The math class (once again) is non-credited, and yet I would much rather deal with my math class and not even deal with management - and yet this is a series of eight required management classes.  I honestly don't know what everyone is majoring in, but I get the feeling that many of the students are business majors striving for this coveted management position - or are actually in management positions at this very moment.  

         And then there or those in health care who will obviously need teamwork and leadership skills.  I admire them so much for going into health care as we all depend on them and I am grateful.  And then there is me.  Uncomfortable at the topic of business, seminars, incentive rallies, and big corporations.  I did not move to Myrtle Creek to go corporate. 



          I worked for a chapter of Swire Coca-Cola for a few years when I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Our paychecks were issued out of Atlanta, GA.  I would rather know the person (or people) who sign my paychecks than to feel like a number in the system.  Our department was okay.  Sometimes there'd be some of us who would go out to lunch together, or support each other with wedding showers, baby showers and what have you.  But the turnover of employees was constant - either due to advancement or being let go. 

          I was in the imaging department - working at converting paper documents over to an electronic system.  I did not have to be on the phone, deal with complaints, or handle confrontation.  I was a responsible employee who went in, did my job without supervision, and was comfortable in my situation and really saw nowhere within the company in which I wanted to advance.  I'm introverted.  I enjoy being introverted.  It was an okay job.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if there had been less goofing off and if everyone else had worked as hard I did - or that I could have been paid 2-3 times the amount as I was working three times as hard . . .           

         Several years before that I was at Nordstrom working in the Cafe.  I felt like our department was the pion of all departments and seemed unwelcome participants whenever we were asked to go to meetings . . . we didn't sell the prestige merchandise that glorified the other departments (although I personally wasn't/am not a fan of Nordstrom products; for as much money as one may spend on an item, I should think it would be better made)

         My brother works for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  Neither Swire nor Nordstroms was not near as overwhelming as MGM.  What a tremendous mass of people day in and day out.  Too many people.  I felt claustrophobic as a tourist.  How would I ever handle a work situation?  seriously?  I realize there are benefits that come with oversized and prestigious companies that one would not find with a ma and pa store.  But given the opportunity of prestige or ma and pa, I'm going to go with ma and pa.
         
          I love the interaction with small businesses, the socialization of truly knowing those that I work with.  Making a personal connection has always been more important to me than money.  But I'm not saying all big businesses are so focused on money that they forget how to be personal.  Corey says MGM Grand has been great.  I think he is treated like a person for the most part.  I think he's had to force himself into that role, and maybe it doesn't bother him so much.  But Corey is introverted, too. 

           Then again, there are those in health care who I would like to respect and admire who also have to deal with management andI suppose have had their share of conventions and pep rallies. I heard that Costco is a great company to work for. Costco is closed on federal holidays.  Good for them!

        So our first assignment for my management class is to watch a video and visit this website on One Smooth Stone and answer three questions with opinionated answers but also references to back those up.  I am impressed with what they do, but at the same time, pep rallies and incentive seminars really aren't my thing.  Swire used to have those.  A lot of people all gathered in a room and lots of cheering and laughter and what have you.  It was generally overwhelming and out of my comfort zone and I was never happy about having to be there.  There's nothing wrong with being enthusiastic or trying to get your employees excited.  It was the idea of being in a crowded room with a lot of noise that made me squirm.

          It isn't just in a job situation either.  I don't like crowds.  I don't like the applause and cheer drowning out the music.  Or having to stand up every 15 seconds if I want to watch the activity going on in the field.  Why did those people in front of me purchase tickets for seating if they're not going to sit?  Given a chose between intimate gatherings vs. rubbing elbows with glitz and glamour . . .  I'm going for the intimate.  



          I also don't want to be in a management position - which probably doesn't account to what the interviewer wants to hear when I go out to "sell myself" for a job position that everyone else is also applying for.  I do know how to play the game.  But again, I seriously would rather my job be intimate as well as my life.  I need to be happy.  Conventions don't make me happy - even if they're entertaining.  I'd rather watch them on YouTube from the comforts of my own home than sitting on somebody's lap for a better view. 

          I should also be working my assignment rather than creating this post.  It's just so dang hard when there's no passion!  

          Yesterday Roland and I went to the senior event where we watched "Sully".  I'm amazed at all the cautions that were taken and the lack of understanding or communication among those trying to discredit Captain Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger, I realized that my training for management may have nothing to do with my career or current position, but maybe something greater.


Nature's Way


Roland is
allergic to birds
but he insists on
filling the bird feeder
with seed so
he can watch the
birds fly around as
he looks out the
window in his
office.

There aren't magpies in
Oregon.  I thought they
were pretty birds but
learned to hate them when
they wouldn't leave our already
pathetic crops alone.  In
Oregon the most hated bird seems
to be the blue jay.  I think
blue jays are really pretty birds  - but
blue jays are bullies.

Funny, I remember watching
"Peep" with Jenna and there was
one story in which Peep, Quack and
Chirp encounter a blue jay who
thinks she is special and is
unkind to other birds.  I didn't
know that I was watching an
accurate description of the real
life bird.

So Roland has watched blue jays
bully other birds and he has
purchased big seed and
little seed and
has decided to feed the little birds and
let the blue jays fend for themselves.

I have opened the front door a
few times after Jenna goes to
school and have seen a
black cat scurries off as
I step out on
the deck.

He runs away looking like a
rather guilty culprit afraid of
getting caught.  I'm not
interested in catching him.  If
he should be interested in
the birds (which I think is
the reason for hanging around our
yard) and catches them, I hope
he removes their corpses.  I
really don't want a bunch of
dead birds in
our yard.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sunbeams and Blackboards



I taught Sunbeams twice in my mom's ward.  Both times I was blessed with four reverent children who folded their arms and listened to the lesson.  They may have been too quiet.

Ever since I've married, each class - not matter the age - that I have taught in primary has had at least one very quiet and focused child and at least one who is all over the place - except for my lesson.

Since coming to Oregon, I have had the sad and traumatic, the devastation, the "Oh, I love my teacher" and the "good helper" - that's all been the same kid overall.  I think the most that I ever had attend a single class last year was three.  Before the year came to an end, it was generally just me and Elizabeth.  My lessons were of no interest to her. For the most part, she pretended she was a horse.



This year I have her cousin, Hayden, who just recently turned four.  He's been with me since January.  Then, just a few weeks ago, they added Christopher who had turned three in February.  I don't know who thought he was ready for sunbeams.  He's still in diapers. I don't think he's ready to be in sunbeams.

Granted, three years is a long time to be in the nursery.  It is a hard transaction going from playing with toys to just sitting.  From my observation, those that are in nursery for the longest, have the hardest time  adjusting to being still.  I know my Jenna did.  She still does, actually.

 I thought that perhaps having two children would be easier than just having one, but Hayden has taken it upon himself to be the boss of the class and to discipline Christopher and forget about me.

The lesson I had prepared for yesterday was on food and clothing. I cut an apple in half to show them the star inside.   



Hayden was impressed, but did not want to eat any of the star.  I cut the sides of each apple to give to Hayden and Christopher.  I also gave them pretzels and continued my lesson as they ate. 

 I told them that the clothes we wear come from different sources: for instance cotton comes from a plant which comes from seed,



 wool comes from a sheep;  his bumpy coat gets shaved off and it is used to make sweaters and socks.   



There is even a fabric called silk that is produced by tiny creatures that we call silk worms.



Hayden thought I was quite entertaining but refused to believe any of my "tales".  In his mind he knew that all people are smart enough to figure out that all clothes come from Wal-Mart.

Christopher found some chalk near the chalkboard and decided to start drawing with it - which upset Hayden.  After all, he is older, therefore he should be able to delegate Christopher's every move.  Oh, please.

If I notice the chalk and erasers, I will put them in a bag and hang it from a hook above the chalkboard as they can't reach it, and so I knew there was a piece of chalk hanging in the bag.  I retrieved it and let Hayden have the larger piece.  He proceeded to draw what he said was his name.



Hayden then excused himself to go to the bathroom, so I sent him down the hall to get a parent or grandparent to escort him while I kept my eye on Christopher, who decided to add his own handiwork to Hayden's.



Hayden came back all upset that Christopher would dare mess up his name, and so I told Hayden he could stand on a chair and rewrite his "name" so that it would be too high for Christopher to mess with.  His signature looked a lot different from the first.



Friday, September 16, 2016

Constitution Day - My First Online Assembly Experience



Well, the assembly was mostly on our voting responsibility - or at least that's what I got out of it.  The instructor asked.  What is November 11?  Here are some of the answers:

"Doomsday"  

"the best liar wins"
 
"Election hot mess, the day of voting"

We were referred to this website and quote.


John Adams said:

"There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution."

We watch a less-than-exciting video and then the conversation starts up again:

"I've heard that many reports say that the voting system is rigged, can be hacked, is faulty, that is fixed, that we just show up with false hopes in that the decision is already made by the 5 big families"

"The election is like, you have to pick your poison. My question is this. If the votes do not go the way that the ones who govern our land. Who has overall finally say so?"

"Trump is going to make our country file for its own bankruptcy"

"you can vote for any one even Mickey Mouse"

"there is a city in Georgia in which it's illegal to vote for Mickey Mouse - I don't know how they enforce that as our ballots are supposed to be private"

"what happens if someone gets the most votes to be president and they weren't running or don't even want to be president?"

The instructor didn't know, as it has never happened; perhaps we'll learn this year?

"So basically make sure you complete your ballot and won't no one vote for you, pretty much is what you are saying?"

"I get my ballots mailed to me...so I'm definitely voting"

"When did the popular vote start?  Article II Section I talks about electorates, equal to the number of reps and senators per state, and they vote.  So why do we even have the popular vote?"

"Utah is a Republican State.  I only know of one time when all 5 electorial votes weren't all Republican.  One time.  If I were to vote Democrat, I feel like it's such a waste.  It's like my vote doesn't even count.  Heck, just in my own household we seem to cancel each other out."

". . . but if almost the whole republican state vote democrat than what? because i know Idaho is a Republican state but I remember a year we were blue so that confuses me a little"

"At the Constitutional Convention, Ben Franklin stated his belief that public servants should not be paid a salary, for in paying the civil service, our government would not be made of "the wise and the moderate ... the men fittest for the trust" but instead by "the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions ... in their selfish pursuits.'"

"funny how I learned all of this in government and i don’t remember anything and everything you are saying right now is like a reminder of oh yah we learned about that."

Our instructor asked the question, which constitution states: “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,”

"15
no"

"i honestly have no idea"

"How 14"

"the one in the Constitution"

"14"

The next set of comments were made during the second video.

" i like Donald Trump's hair!"

" Isn’t that awesome??"

"exactly
lol"

"Donald Trump and Martin Van Buren.  Fine hair."  

"This is true; They might be related lol"

"There is a lot of awesome Presidential hair out there- Van Buren and Buchanan both had Presidential hair!"

"What happens to the money left over after they get the job? It is not going towards the US debt. Which I think It needs too. Since getting a government office is just pretty much based on
how much money you can raise."

"It goes onto a server in their basement..."

". . . fine haircuts"


"Elvis has left the building!"                       - I don't know why that got put in there



Now, this video and comments


"blast from the past"

"Please say that is the Steven Crowder video..."

"now that takes me back"

"I love this!"

"omg i member watching this in government class lol"

"i watched this in high school"

"Really school house rock....lol"

"I love SNL version better lol"

"This used to be on Saturday Morning cartoons.  I loved this!"

"i watched  this as a kid every sat morn"

"Saturday morning cartoon were the best!"

"yea i watched in a history class my Junior year"

"I know they should put these back on for our children"

"yup...good ole Saturday morning cartoons...and Reading Rainbow...<shutting up before my age starts shining thru"

"LOL…me, too"

"great and fun way to learn"

"hahah!!"

"Everything I know about history, I learned from schoolhouse rock"
"The good way to Learn"

LOL…. I hope you learn more here!"

Of course that was only just some of the dialogue.  Conclusion.  Class members said their good-byes and the assembly was over.  90 minutes after it started. 

Messing with Technology - Turn It In




          The topic for our last discussion in English class was on Turnitin - a device that supposedly makes it easier for the student to submit his or her work and get feedback on originality.  A colored icon appears in a column next to our graded assignment.  Green is the best color to receive.  It means that only 24% of your work or less was borrowed, paraphrased or quoted from other sources.  I just recently learned that there are five colors: 


What I don't get is the color coding on the inside that marks your assignment.




          I would have been more interested in viewing Grademarks or Peermarks, but the tabs wouldn't even open, and so I did not see the point.  Having the colors and source names in columns didn't mean much to me.  It might have well have been sent back to me in Japanese although my understanding of that language is even more limited.   



          I suppose I could research it further, but was told that the site is having technical difficulties.  The way Roland understands it, the university will no longer be using Turnitin.  I would think that may be more stressful for the instructors than for the students.  Maybe not.  I don't know all the ins and outs - except that Turnitin was supposed to be some kind of helpmeet.  I find it ironic that our last discussion was about something that the school has done away with.  Maybe not.  Maybe it has nothing to do with the school.  Maybe it was infected by a virus or sabotaged - which is a shame really, even if I didn't have a full understanding of it. 



          I don't dislike Turnitin - nor do I dislike Blackboard Collaboration (last post) once I get into it.  It's the 30 or 40 minutes of trying to get in (and I have tried several computers) that I don't like.  We were told that if we couldn't get into the writing center because of the Blackboard issues that we needed documentation of trying to get in.  That seems bogus that there would be that need.  If we can't improve for student conveniences (because the way it is set up right now is nowhere near convenient - at least for this student) I am in favor of doing away with it.  



          As of now, I don't know what all the technical rigmarole is involved, but I'm guessing the school has more than just Turnitin to deal with.  Perhaps I will know more this afternoon.  There is an assembly scheduled in an hour.  Should be interesting.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Not Having Success With Blackboard Collaboration

       
          I had an English class on paragraphing during my second mod - which was a great introduction to my class on English composition.   I am happy that this is last week of my third mod.  Love my instructor, but don't care for all the rules that apply to informal writing.  



            So I have been working on the same assignment for four weeks now.  I could pick one of three topics.  I chose soft skills - again, but had forced myself the view it from a different angle - so it wouldn't seem redundant with two other classes that I took. Instead of being part of a team of employees working together, I decided to approach my assignment from the customer's point of view.



            My main gripe is proper communication between the employee and the customer.  Right off the back I came up with two examples of poor service that I had received personally, one from a photography studio that never did establish credibility (at least to my knowledge) and of course my gripes is with T-Mobil as found here




            So, our first week is about brainstorming ideas, or mapping, or free writing, or however, we choose to create an outline.  Our assignment was to be a reflective piece, however, the feedback I received was that it appeared more as a rough draft for my final paper .  She liked my outline and said I would be ahead in the game as I had already created an outline, but I did not receive full credit - though still an A.




            Our second week was to gather evidence.  I LOATHE research.  I loathe referencing and citing.  I followed the instructions for the assignment.  Our instructor was very impressed with the class as a whole.  She said it was the first time she had seen so many follow through and do so well.  It is the only week which shows I have 100%.

            Last week was the rough draft - which I had changed up a bit.  I didn't end up using my complaints (or anybody's regarding any cell phone provider) on T-Mobil.  Instead, I added some more positive comments on customer support with Lowe's as a whole.  I had researched soft skills.  I had researched employment.  I had researched T-Mobil and Lowe's.  I had researched my sources.  I revised my paper over and over.  I had made an appointment with the writing center to go over my assignment.  That was a stressful week.  I had an appointment for a 30-minute one-on-one session. 

It took me 30 minutes just to get in!  It was so stressful!  I hate blackboard collaboration.  I thank the instructor at the other end who took the time to critique my assignment and get it back to me - though she was unable to get it back to me until that evening.  It was the latest I had turned in an assignment.  I think that's part of what was stressing me out - that and stupid blackboard.  28% of my grade depended on last week's overall grade - which is the lowest I've ever had in any of my college classes (but actually quite terrific for my high school GPA - which was actually pretty pathetic)



           
            And then I had come up with all of these other thoughts related to the topic, but not customer service.  Here is what I had thought up:

                "What do Philosopy221 or the Motivation of Psychology have to do with my major? Whether it be in graphic arts or health care, we need to learn soft skills first. But why? Because we need to know more than just our trade. Soft skills are needed by each student to interact with classmates and instructors, to conduct self during an interview for employment and to work well with others in the workforce.

            "I like the idea of Stevens-Henagar or Independence University drawing up my schedule instead of just handing me a catalog and telling me: these are the courses that are needed, and try to pick and choose upon availability. That is frustrating. It is wise on the school's part to assign classes in which soft skills are the focus we need guidance as we post discussions, e-mail our tutors and instructors. Thank you for starting us out on the right path!"

          I had even come across references that I could use. My instructor said I could change it if I wanted, but I thought that was too big of a challenge for just one week - or a week and a half, maybe.  None of my paragraphs seemed to connect - not with the two paragraphs above, not with what I had turned in.  It was awful.



            This week, I think I've got a good final product.  Again, I spent 30 minutes trying to get into blackboard.  My husband finally got me in on the relic laptop that he has.  More stress, but this week is only 18%.  I'm not as stressed.  I have been more prepared this week and had submitted my questions along with the assignment in which I have to have feedback. I have since corrected and submitted my assignment and am done for the week
 YEA! 
           I will miss my instructor, but I will not miss the rules.  I really hope that I don't have to use blackboard again.  If so, I hope that it is a less painful experience for me - or anyone.  What a headache!  I can't remember what bbss stands for:   blackboard collaboration student support?  Right now I fail to see the success.  Stupid blackboard!