Archive for the Education Category

Survival of the fittest

Posted in Education on 20 February 2010 by jason

As many of you know, I work at a local technical college. If you know anything about academia, you’ll know that community colleges, especially Technical colleges, are kind of…well…laughed at by those who go to more reputable schools. OK, now that we are on the same page, I want to tell you about my job a little.

First, if you go back to my last few posts, you’ll see that I complain a lot. I’m a whiner. What can I say? You’ll see that I whine about not getting the internet, about my neighbors, about about a girlfriend breaking up with me.

Well, in the last two weeks, here are some things I’ve encountered from students who got my “expert advice”:

One student asked if, instead of writing about a person who influenced her, she could write about an event that influenced her. She asked this because war came to her village in her home country and taught her that everything you own can be taken away in an instant.

Another student told of how his adoptive father physically abused him and molested (and, in some cases, raped) his entire family.

That same day, yet another student told of how his daughter was born brain-dead, and how, when he and his wife made the decision to take her off life support, he watched her die. For 45 minutes.

I hear stories like this every day. I usually don’t talk about them, and in fact, I could lose my job talking about them here. But I had to say something.

These students come to me for knowledge…to learn from me. Seriously, though, they could teach me so much more than I could ever teach them. I mean, how can you go through what these students have gone through, then sit in a classroom to learn about commas? How does one do that? How does one even get up after going through that?

I have no idea. I doubt that I could.

Like I said…a lot of people in more reputable schools look down on these students. However, you want to talk about survival of the fittest? I meet them every day.

Well…(Week wrap-up)

Posted in Education, inturwebs, Karaoke, Music on 30 August 2009 by jason

…I got my laptop fixed, but I lost access to the internet at the same time (no comments from the peanut gallery), so I haven’t been on like I wanted to be. Also, my phone’s been having problems, so I’m basically cut off from the outside world when I’m at home. It’s kind of weird, actually. So right now, the only way to get a hold of me is to come to my place and knock on my window.

Besides that, though, this week has been OK. I’ve been getting to work early to go to so I can watch old episodes of The Prisoner. I never got around to seeing that show, so I’m happy to get the chance. Good stuff, that. The first week at work has been relatively slow, bit I know it’s about to get extremely busy.

I’ve also decided that if I ever find the Weezer song “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn),” I am singing it, no matter how poorly I actually know the song. Here’s the video:

Oh, yeah…that’s happening.

Back to work, slacker!

Posted in Education on 24 August 2009 by jason

Well, another semester starts here at the college. If you don’t know, I work at my local college as a writing tutor, which means I’m technically back to work today, but the real work won’t begin until next week when the students have papers to write.

Although I don’t welcome the coming workload (our enrollment us much, much higher than we were anticipating), I do welcome the paychecks, which will be better than the ones I got all summer.

So, I’m back to work, back to blogging, and just back in general.

This Week…

Posted in Education, inturwebs, Music, Writing on 3 May 2009 by jason

Ah…the hardest part of the semester for me is done, and finals week is here. As you may know, I’m a writing tutor, so the week before finals is the last week students have to bring papers to me. That means that last week was the busiest week of the semester for me, hence the lack of blog activity.

Don’t think that that means I’m just working and sleeping, though. I’ve also been writing and workshopping a couple of short stories that are just about ready to be sent out for possible publication. I’ll keep you posted!

Also, I’ve recently discovered Twitter, or as I call it, “my micro-music blog.” Sign up, look for “jrobertnovak”, and be kept informed of all the music I listen to in a given day. I know, I know, you can hardly wait!

I’m also reading a lot, and I’m preparing for my Birthday celebration next week, so I’m a busy guy. However, this week, you should see more of me here.

Back to work.

Posted in Education, inturwebs, otter, Television on 14 January 2009 by jason

Well, this week, I’m back to work at the Writing Center. The first week’s always slow, which is great, but I also end up lacking motivation to do anything else.

this is not to say I’m not doing anthing at work, despite what the otter may tell you! I do “studio sessions,” which are basically group meetings with classes to discuss their writing. I like the idea of studio sessions because it gets the students to look at their writing as more than just something to get a certain grade. By having an audience, they have to determine what people want to hear about in their papers. It also gets them thinking about other people’s writing, which in turn helps them realize what good writing is. So I’ve got that going for me.

On an unrelated note, this cracks me up to no end:

How I Spent My Vacation: North Carolina

Posted in Art, Comics, Education, Food, Music, otter, Sports on 17 December 2008 by jason

Well, the semester’s over, so the otter and I took a short vacation to celebrate! We went to North Carolina to visit with an old friend of the otter’s, Lesley, and Lesley’s boyfriend, Adrian. Here’s how it all went down:

At about 7AM on Saturday, the otter picked me up and we headed out towards NC, passing through West Virginia and Virginia. It was snowy throughout Ohio, WV, and Virginia, but one thing we noticed is that the snow looked cleaner in Virginia. It almost looked unreal, like those Christmas trees with the snow painted on them. Besides that, though, and besides driving through the mountains, everything pretty much looked like Canton, Ohio.

We pulled into Chapel Hill, NC at about 5PM. Again, it surprised me how much it looked like the Canton, Akron area; the trees were the same kiind of trees, and it was about 45 degrees, so I really felt like I was at home. Anyway, we met up with Lesley, Adrian, and their friend Alan (or is it Allen? It doesn’t matter; they called him Steve). We immediately, without even unpacking at the hotel, went to go see a Tarheels game at North Carolina University.

The game was cool. I’ve never been to a college basketball game before, and those North Carolina fans take that shit SERIOUSLY. North Carolina won, getting 100 points. One thing that confused the otter and me was that when the score got close to 100, the fans started shouting “Biscuits!” As it turns out, this is because when NC gets 100 points or more, the Bojangles’ restaurant, which is kind of like a cross between McDonalds and KFC, has a special on sausage biscuits and gravy. You gotta love the South.

Anyway, the next day, we met up with Lesley and Adrian at their apartment in Durham. I was excited about this because John Darnielle, the lead singer of and creative mastermind behind the Mountain Goats, lives in Durham. We hung out at the apartment, talking about music and pop culture for a while, then went to Chapel Hill.

Chapel Hill is nice; it kind of reminds me of Kent, Ohio, a typical college town. We started out at the Ackland Art Museum , which was great (they had some really cool modern art on the second floor). From the museum, we went to some of the local stores, like a comic book store and CD Alley, an independent music store. It was there that I tested my hypothesis that it would be easier to find Mountain Goats stuff near Durham. My hypotheisis was correct; I picked up Ghana by the Mountain Goats and Martial Arts Weekend by the Extra Glenns (a Darnielle side-project).

After the stores, we took a tour of the UNC campus, and Adrian treated us to some awesome Italian food. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the place, but it was goog stuff. After all that, we went back to Lesley and Adrian’s apartment and watched Be Somebody…or Be Somebody’s Fool!, starring Mr. T! Here’s a clip!

The next day, after getting breakfast and the aforementioned Bojangles’ (which had GREAT Sweet Potato Pie!),Adrian gave us a tour of the Duke campus, which was beautiful but imposing. I think I would have gotten on better at UNC. After Adrian went to work, we hung out with Lesley at the apartment and watched the Youtubes. Then, we went to Twisted Noodles, a Thai restaurant, which was delicious (I had the Panang Curried Tofu…WIN!). After that, the otter, Lesley, and I had coffee at Franchesca’s Dessert Caffe (which, despite the bad reviews, had good coffee and good service). Then, we called it a night.

We met up with Lesley and Adrian one more time for breakfast before heading out again for good old O to the H I O. While it is good to be back, I definately miss the weather (which was almost 70 degrees on Monday), and I can’t wait until Lesley and Adrian visit Ohio!

Last Day

Posted in Education, Food, Holidays, video games, Writing on 12 December 2008 by jason

Well, today’s the last day of work before the semester is over. That means I get a month off from dealing with thesis statements, APA format, and, unfortunately, affording food. I tried (not as hard as I could) to get a job for the winter break, and I put an ad on Craigslist offering my skills as a tutor, but to no avail.

I can’t say I’m freaking out, though. I did manage to save a tiny bit of money, and the way my checks will fall, I will be able to pay my rent. I guess I’ll be spending a lot of time indoors, playing Gladius and losing weight. (And hopefully, writing.)

Conversation in the Writing Center today:

Posted in Education on 2 December 2008 by jason

(Only because I kow the student, so it was OK…)

Me (talking to another tutor): “Did you use this article…”

Student: “-Um, excuse me. I don’t mean to interrupt, but–”

Me: “So it was an accident?”

Am I trying to get fired?

Learning to habla spanish

Posted in and other fun, Education, Language on 29 September 2008 by jason

I’ve decided, quite at random, to learn spanish. Or is it Spanish? I can never remember if languages get capitalized. Anyway, I’ve just started, so the only thing’s I’ve learned are:

* That upside-down punctuation can go in the middle of a sentence
* That “v” is pronounced as a “b.” I’m having trouble wrapping my tongue around that.
* That I can not roll my “r”s. At all. Does anyone know if that cripples me?

I’m learning from a book that comes with cassette tapes, which I think will be better than a class because I can go at my own pace. Wish me luck!

Um…I’m back again?

Posted in Education, otter on 14 September 2008 by jason

Sorry I’ve been kind of scarce around this blog this week. I had to present at the North East Ohio Writing Centers Association Conference on saturday, and so most of my spare time near a computer was used to put that together. I had to write a speech, put together a PowerPoint presentation, and get other things together so that I wouldn’t embarrass myself or my school in front of tutors and directors from the other schools.

As it turns out, I had nothing to wory about. My room was away from all the other rooms, so no one knew it was there. Only 3 people (not including my boss and one of my co-wrokers) showed up. I was a little disappointed, but also relieved; we’ve been so busy at work that I’ve had no tiime to work on this. Plus, I’ve been sick all week (Thanks, otter!), so it’s probably just as well that I didn’t have a full house.

My presentation was on using a message board to coordinate staff, rather than flooding inboxes or having meeting after meeting.

Anyway, I’m back, though we’ll see if work will let up enough to let me post on here.