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Messages - Alecto

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well, I'm procrastinating finishing my Master's thesis AND packing to move home in less than three weeks, so let me see what I can dish out . . . .

1. What do you think you did "right" in 1L? 
2. What do you think you did ok, but could have done better?
3. Where did you go way, way wrong, and why?

Trust me, more will be coming soon as I have a meeting with my major professor and procrastination tends to peak before those.

paid or unpaid?  ft or pt?

I like the Greek system in concept (sisterhood, brotherhood, lifelong friendships, etc.), but I am not so impressed with what I have seen in practice.  Of course, I have a couple of friends that have been in sororities, and I hear it varies widely by campus and also by house, so who knows. 

Anyway, I have nothing against the swoop, as long as it's an expression of the person's style and not just something she does to fit in with everyone else.  Sort of like the empire-waist craze that seems to be (thankfully!) fading away: that was a terrible look for about 99% of the girls who wore it (unless the goal was to look pregnant), but that's all I saw on certain types of girls when they went out.  That's more what I have a problem with.  Then again, the swoop seems to be pretty flattering on most people, so maybe that's why it's so popular!

yeah, I couldn't narrow it down any more than that.

but no, the middle part does not look good on most people.  there are variations of side parts, however, and it does seem that a lot of southern young women favor the dramatic side part as opposed to the more moderate side part.  I have to say, I'd do it if I could, but my hair just won't cooperate so I have to go with the more boring off-center version.

TA = teaching assistant.  I had a lot of students from a variety of backgrounds in my classes over a period of several years.  By "freakish" I meant to convey that there seems to be much more conformity among students here (particularly those in the Greek system) than I remember at my UG, which had an almost non-existent Greek system and was in New England.  by conformity I meant that I often had trouble learning students' names, because of their tendency to dress in a very similar manner, do their hair in very similar styles, and carry similar accessories.  Students who did stand out (in appearance) usually were not involved in the Greek system.  so that is my experience.  and yes, you do see conformity in a lot of different places, but I have lived in the Midwest, New England, and the South, and my observation is that I have seen the most uniformity (to use a different word) of dress and style here than in the other regions in which I live.  now, maybe it's just that that particular group of people tends to be more fashion-conscious and adhere more carefully to fashion trends, I don't know. 

Actually, I was a TA at a large southern U and I got a pretty good slice of the population in my class.  I'm speaking from experience.  But maybe my U is wildly different than others?  I sort of doubt it . . . .


you need to have a very symmetrical face to look really good with a middle part (or so say all those womens magazines).  also, the Greek system is very strong in the southern UG culture, and that encourages almost freakish conformity.  I think there are rules about it . . .

General Off-Topic Board / Re: One of them will be President?
« on: May 15, 2008, 12:00:35 PM »
ok, so I am not an expert on education or education policy (and I imagine most of you aren't, either), but I do have several friends who have been teaching for a few years or are in grad school in and education program and will be teaching next year.  I think there are a lot of different issues affecting education in our country and, unfortunately for politicians, each issue is complex in itself, and the various issues interact in complex and nuanced ways, which means no straightforward or simple fix.  So, here are the issues as I see them:

1) Students are coming in to the school systems less prepared, and now learn in different ways than in most of our previous history.  For a great (though depressing) discussion on this subject, check out the book Endangered Minds: Why Children Don't Think and What We Can Do About It By Jane M. Healy.  Much of this has to do with home environment.  FWIW, this problem has been observed in all socioeconomic and racial groups.

2) Inequitable distribution of educational resources across socioeconomic lines (which often mimic racial lines).  For an excellent (and even more depressing) explanation, read Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools by Jonathan Kozol.

3) Lack of institutional support for teachers.  This is a problem in a lot of the graduate programs in education and a problem in the schools once graduates start teaching.  This doesn't just include salaries, although they are pretty low, especially when you consider that most teachers are probably coming out of school with student loans these days.

4) NCLB.  Most educators really dislike this.  From what I've heard, the consensus seems to be that it unnecessarily restricts what teachers can teach, and the emphasis on testing is detrimental to actual thinking skills and learning, b/c it forces students to focus on memorization.  Also, funding is an issue in many ways. 

I don't know about merit pay, b/c I can see how it could be both beneficial and harmful.  I do think teachers should receive funding to help them improve their teaching, for things like continuing education and workshops.  Perhaps bonus may could be tied to how much a teacher actively strives to improve his/her teaching?  Anyway, I wish more people in positions of power were having more nuanced conversations on this topic, b/c I think we (as a country) our setting ourselves up to fail.

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