Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Extra Credit Deadline!!

The deadline for extra credit posts is midnight tonight (Tuesday 12/16). Any posts submitted after that time will not count for your second quarter grade. This should not be a problem as you should all be quietly tucked away in bed getting plenty of rest for your final exams long before midnight.

Sweet Dreams.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Vacation

Like all of you, I am desperately looking forward to Christmas break. Don't get me wrong, I love my job and getting to spend all day with all of you makes me glad I chose the profession I did, but everyone likes a break now and then. I look forward to spending more time with my family and not having to worry about grading or lesson planning for a week or two.

My holiday plans are pretty hectic, but they should be fun. On Christmas Eve-Eve, we will be going to my parents house in Kansas sometime in the afternoon and will be spending the night. On Christmas Eve morning, we will wake up bright and early to open gifts and spend the day relaxing and enjoying each other's company. That evening, my wife, kids, and I will head home to attend service at our church in Mattoon. We will wake up bright and early again on Christmas morning to open presents. After that, we will pack-up and drive to my wife's grandmother's house in Pana for more holiday food, family time, and presents. Once we leave there, we will go spend the night at my in-law's house, also in Pana. The next morning, we will wake up bright and early once again to, you guessed it, open more presents. Hopefully, we will then be able to relax for the rest of the day and let our hands recover from wrapping-paper-shredding syndrome before making the drive back home to Mattoon.

I hope you all have exciting plans laid on for the holiday season as well. Feel free to share your plans with all of us.

Finally, I would like to ask all of you to keep our brave servicemembers stationed around the globe, as well as their families, in your thoughts. I know from experience that being away from the ones you love during this time of year is difficult. I spent two Thanksgivings, two Christmases, and two New Years in the middle east, and I have a bunch of friends deployed to Afghanistan right now as part of the 33rd Brigade Combat Team.

Happy Holidays!

Bow Before the Altar of Semester Exams!

"As long there are tests, there will be prayer in schools."

I don't know who said this, but it is funny only as long as it is true. Now, I will admit that I have done my fair share of praying before a big test, but I have never felt the need to ask for help from above when I walked into the test knowing I was prepared.

As a student, the worst feeling in the world is looking at the first page of a test and realizing that you did not study enough. I remember taking a midterm exam in a poetry class in college. I don't remember how or why I was so unprepared for this test; I only remember sitting there for over an hour fumbling through this monstrousity and feeling like I was drowning. As painful as the experience was for me, I learned a valuable lesson: The pain of really preparing for a test is far less than the pain of taking a test for which you have not prepared.

When the final exam for that class rolled around, I spent two days prior to the test doing nothing but living, drinking, and eating poetry. I had done the math, and my grade was such that getting an A on the test would not bump me up from a B to an A in the class, and all I had to do was not fail the test in order to keep from dropping to a C, but that was not important to me. Proving to myself that the content of this class was not more than I could handle was the only thing that mattered to me. I wanted to crush this test just to prove that I belonged in the class.

I realized early in my college career that judging my value or intelligence based on a series of five letters was about the most useless and destructive thing I could do. I have seen brilliant students get C's because of circumstances outside of their control and complete baffoons get A's because they are really good at "school". What really mattered to me was whether or not I got what I needed or wanted out of every class. Don't get me wrong, good grades can open a lot of doors, but do not make the mistake of thinking that getting less than perfect grades closes all doors. You may just have to find a window here or there.

What is the point of all this babbling? The point is that many of you either need or deserve to do well on the semester exams next week. However, I can tell you that needs, wants, and aspirations will not translate into a good grade. The only way to ensure that you do well on the semester exam is to pull out the material from the semester and make sure you know it forward and backward. It will be painful, but not nearly as painful as taking the class again next year.

Now, since you need to be studying instead of reading my musings, I will leave you with a final morsel for thought. After you finish your tests next week, you have sixteen days straight in which to recover. All you have to do is push yourself for seven days, and then you get to rest. Why does that sound familiar? Anyway, you all can do it. I know you can, or I wouldn't waste my time trying to help you do it.


*Author's Note: I totally owned that poetry final --I think I got one of the highest test scores in the class. I still got a B for the course.*