Monthly Archives: February 2016

Why I Will Sit at the Bar

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I hate going to conferences because I am by nature an introvert, however, I love going to conferences because learning is life sustaining. I am also a teacher, and if you have any experience with teachers, they are pack beings. Unless I am bringing teachers to a conference, which means that I am responsible for them, I prefer to be a loner. I find that I tend to meet the people who are most interesting to me by being untethered to a group.

My preferred dinner dining when I am alone, then, is to sit at the bar to eat, so tonight I crossed the hotel’s sky bridge to sit at the bar of a dim sum establishment. A young Caribbean woman, Clara, sat down at the same time and we sat next to each other. It was the most intimate conversation I have ever had with a stranger, and it was stress free, we shared food, and it was nice. She is soon to be a single parent of a fabulous 9 year old daughter. She is studying for her pharmacy boards and has been in Washington for 4 years. We both are patient when our plans go awry because we have the big picture view that┬álife happens for the best when it happens in its own time.

I sometimes would rather write on my computer than venture out into the world alone, but tonight’s dinner really brought home the fact that I need to sit at the bar more often.

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Finding the Discipline to Read

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I had the chancellor of our university talk to my introduction to teaching class this week and one of the things that she did when she was preparing for her doctoral exams was she read a textbook a day and although she felt like nothing was going in, when she took her exams (with her IBM selectric borrowed typewriter with a bottle of whiteout), suddenly all that reading came together. She says now she can read an article once and things start to click and she can quickly come up with questions and comments.

I am a horrendously slow reader and my vocabulary does not belie my degree or the fact that I am a 23 year veteran English language arts teacher with a BA in English literature and three years experience teaching advanced placement language and rhetoric. As an example, I know that hegemony is a word that I need to own because of where I place my research work, however, I have to keep asking Google to pronounce it. So no, I do not own hegemony. I use the words Hawaiian ways of knowing so I do not have to use the word epistemology.

But I want to/need to be smarter, not because I am trying to be more western in research and thought, but just because I need to be smarter. This is day 2 of my reading a professional article. I have to admit that yesterday my article took what felt like all morning. I decided I needed to get up earlier, so this morning I woke up at 4:30 but who wants to read a professional article at 4:30 in the morning?

The organization of the article is key. Where do I put it and what do I do with it. Today’s article was a possible article for my literature review course I am teaching this summer. I decided not to use it as a reading, but to share the key points in a PPT instead. When it is as simple as that, I decided to put the article already highlighted, plus my little note about how I am using it into my Evernote. Yesterday’s article was more related to my possible paper for AERA so I have it on my Google Drive research resources sheet, plus the original and the highlighted versions are on my Evernote.

I am not the most intuitive organizer, but that is what I am trying so far.

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