A Degree In…What?

Another semester for my English degree has ended. I’ve had about a week of freedom so far and I’m all ready counting down the days until I (unfortunately) have to start up again.

I can’t complain. I do like my classes and (most) of my professors, but that doesn’t mean I want my schooling to last forever. Also, like most people, I’m sick of the homework.

Now I’d be lying if I said I haven’t learned anything; I have. Some information is more useful than others, but there are a few things here and there that stick with me and I’m going to explain one thing that I’ve learned this past summer.

I took a class called Theories of Rhetoric and Composition. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but once I started the class I realized it was mostly about teaching writing. Okay, I thought to myself, I can do this. I mean, I’m a teacher; I love to teach. Granted, the most English I teach is the ABCs to preschoolers.

My textbook, Cross-Talk in Comp Theory, is a series of articles written by scholars and writers discussing the English language, writing in general, and teaching/learning to write.

Textbook

We read almost the entire book during the ten-week class. Some articles I got into, others I didn’t care for, and some I didn’t understand what they were talking about at all. Yet, there are 18 articles we didn’t read and I plan on reading them in my own time anyway. It’s still an interesting book, nonetheless.

However, do you want to know the number one thing I learned from this textbook and the class as a whole? The English language is the hardest, most complex thing in the universe.

Every article in that book is written by a different person, but every article we read quoted at least one or more of the other articles in the book. Why did they quote each other? Because each author was trying to prove the other one was wrong.

Should grammar be taught in the classroom? Some thought yes, others thought it was (or should be) common sense and only be taught to those learning English as a second language. What age should grammar be learned? The ages varied; some said as early as possible, others said college. How should teachers teach grammar? Tests, worksheets, memorizing, etc. There were so many different options.

That was just a few articles arguing about grammar alone. There were so many other “issues” they touched upon about writing, reading, and even speaking English.

I think that was part of the reason why I had such a hard time trying to understand some of the articles. I read one thinking, Yeah, that makes sense. Then the next article I read I would think, Well, that makes sense as well. I wasn’t too sure what to believe.

Then it dawned on me: If these “professionals” don’t know how to teach English, then what is going on in the minds of my professors? I have all ready had two professors give me mixed signals. One professor said when I cite in-text I should write, “(Author’s last name, page number)” and the following semester my professor took off points and said it should be, “(Author’s last name page number).” Do you see the difference?

Yes, one professor said I should use a comma (and my textbook told me to as well) while the other professor told me not to. I mentioned this to the professor who “corrected” me asking which was actually the “correct” way to cite and she never got back to me. So, I have decided to do whatever the professor wants for the sake of a good grade, but the bottom line is…what am I truly learning?

Keep in mind these two professors were not my professor for my Theories of Rhetoric and Composition class. So, when reading this textbook it gave me great insight on how I’m spending so much money, time, and effort for a degree in…what, exactly?

So many people assume I want to teach English because I have an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and now going for my Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. The main reason I did this is because I want to teach preschool if publishing novels doesn’t pay the bills, but it’s always been in the back of my mind to teach English in case I ever want to stop or take a break from chasing three-and-four-year-olds around all day.

Of course, after reading these articles, I question whether I would ever want to teach English or a creative writing course. I believe teaching is one of the most difficult occupations out there (and seriously underpaid). A teacher prepares a child for the future thus creating all the doctors, police officers, fire fighters, etc. Teaching should be taken seriously and I have run into many teachers and professors who don’t take it nearly as serious as they should.

Everyone learns differently and at their own pace. What might work for one child might not work for another. Therefore, it’s the teacher’s job to accommodate; create new, interesting ways to get the child to learn and understand while enjoying it. I realized that all the suggestions in the articles in my textbook would all work…they just might not work for everyone.

To know that my professors aren’t on the same page and there is no true way to teach and learn the English language as well as writing…then who’s to say who’s right and who’s wrong? The citing is a prime example…I got points taken off an assignment for listening to a teacher; a colleague of my (at the time) current professor.

It’s annoying, but at the same time, I feel proud to be writing. I’m working in a difficult field and even though I don’t have any novels published yet, I’m still plugging away at it. I research and I learn from other writers as well as myself. I do learn things from my classes, I’m not trying to say school is useless or anything, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that writing is most definitely hands-on.

I write because I love it and since I love it so much, I’m willing to keep writing and teaching myself to get better at it. That is one thing a course and a textbook cannot teach me.

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School > Life…Again

Homework, Homework, Homework…

 

It’s day two of classes and I have a good amount of homework so far. And this is only two classes. My other class meets on Mondays, but I don’t think I’ll have too much homework for that class, anyway. Science is only seven assignments for the whole semester, so I could sit down and do those all that once if I really wanted to…and I just might. It will be one less thing that I will have to worry about this semester.

Anyway, I’m telling you this because I did not write at all yesterday. I was in class from 10:30-2 and then I had work at 2:30-5. I did really well. The first day of classes went good, work went good…but it was a long day. I was fine and then as soon as I stepped into work I immediately became drained…and I didn’t even do anything with the kids, yet. But that was alright because they all got picked up early, so I wasn’t complaining.

Today I had class 9-10:15. It was math, so it was boring and horrible. I have the same professor as last semester, so I know that I’m going to be suffering a lot in that class because she does not know how to teach. Anyway, I’m waiting for my friend to get out of class so we can go home and relax a bit before we have work.

But here’s the plan for today: I’m at school until 11:45, which is when my friend’s class ends, and then I have work 2-5ish again. Random ti-bit about my work: we close at 5:45, but all the kids we have this year get picked up really early. We leave when the last kid leaves, so I end up getting out of work between 4:30 and five. That’s why I tell people that I work until 5ish. But I still get paid until 5:45, which is nice.

Back on topic: I’m at school for another half hour or so and then I have work 2-5. I’m probably going to try to get some homework done in between that. After work I’m going to try to get some more homework done again, depending on what I don’t have done already. After all of that, I’m going to try to get an hour of writing in.

Tomorrow I have school and no work, but I’m going out to eat with the people I work with, so tomorrow is going to be hard trying to write, as well. We’ll have to wait and see how that goes…right now I’m just trying to focus on today.

So tomorrow I will either post again about not writing tonight/tomorrow or that I did write tonight/tomorrow! The suspense is going to kill you, I know.

 

2013: 15,139 Words Written
2013: 825 Pages Read

Merry Christmas!

And a Happy New Year!

So it has been a little while since I have updated this thing; however there is a lot that has been going on. For example, I got sick. Yes, again. I came down with the stomach bug. And, to make the story more interesting, I came down with it right in the middle of finals week for school. I missed my math final, but my professor was nice enough to let me go in the next day to take. Except she wouldn’t shut up while I took the test…

Anyway, there are a few updates I would like to share; especially about my writing, but I’ll save it for later. I just wanted to come on and wish everyone a Merry Christmas! 🙂

Hoping Santa Clause was good to everyone, I will update soon with some good news!

About One More Week

NaNo starts next Thursday. That gives me a little less than one week to finish my outline for Saving Each Other. I know that I started working on this outline around the beginning of October, but I have been busy with a lot of other things. For example, homework. Not to mention that I have a little more homework now because I skipped school this past Wednesday.

Yes, I am sick. Therefore, I have not been working on anything at all. No writing, no homework, no nothing. I haven’t even been able to go hang out with my friends. The only thing I have been doing is playing Pokemon Conquest and I have to say that I am getting very far in the game. Well, I also have been going to work, but that’s only because we’re short-staffed and I hate calling out of work in the first place.

I’m angry because I only have science class on Mondays and this upcoming Monday my science class was cancelled. No school for me! Which is a great thing because I’m sick so I can have an extra day of the weekend to sleep in. Well, I checked my e-mail last night and guess what? Math class is cancelled for today. Fantastic, yes? Not at all…we have to “make it up.” And guess when we have to make it up? Yes, on Monday. -_- So here I am in the library at school waiting around until 10:30 for my science class. I guess for today it’s good because having one class is better than two. But on Monday…one class is definitely not better than none.

Yes, I am at school waiting around for two hours for my class to start that I don’t even want to go to. I’m coughing up all my insides, wheezing, I’m exhausted from lack of sleep, and I’m a bit dizzy. Of course, I can’t miss this class because then this would be my third time skipping this class this semester and that would mean I would have to attend all of November…let’s face it, I am not going to attend all of November whether I’m sick or not. I’m going to go to class early and talk to my teacher about missing Wednesday and I’m really hoping that she’s like, “Oh, Rachel you look awful! You should go home and get some rest.” And then I’m home free. That could happen…right? No, probably not.

Here’s a funny story for you: yesterday I came to school for my Health class. On Thursdays Health is the only class that I have. My professor is very weird and awkward. She’s in her 50s (I think) and all she talks about is her boyfriend. His name is Steve. I shouldn’t know that. Anyway, she can be nice when she wants to be, but if she doesn’t like you, she makes it known. For example, she talks to me just fine and I could actually have a normal conversation with her if I wanted to, but all the other girls at my table…well, we can just say that my professor is very bitter towards them. If they’re talking while she’s talking, she’ll call them out on it. If anyone else in the class is talking while she’s talking, it’s as though she doesn’t notice.

But enough about that, I got to class at 8:45 yesterday when class starts at 9:00. It was just the two of us in the room and I was coughing:
Professor: “Rachel, is that you I hear coughing over there?”
Me: Well, there’s no one else in here, so I guess so… “Yeah, that’s me.”
Professor: “Do you have allergies or are you getting sick?”
Me: “I’m sick.”
Professor: “Oh, that’s too bad.”

And that was the end of that. Now here’s the real kicker; about…maybe five or six times during the course of the class she kept asking me if I was okay. Whether I was coughing or just sitting there paying attention to her talking about absolutely nothing, she would interrupt herself to ask if I was okay:
Professor: “Now what that means is–Rachel, are you okay?”
Me: *Completely confused* “Yeah?”
Professor: “Anyway, what that means…”
And again…
Professor: “If you work–Rachel, are you sure you’re okay?”
Me: Can you just leave me alone? “Yes.”

And then at the end of class she says to me: “You know, you really do look lousy.”

…Thanks. -_-

Anyway, I really hope no one says anything to me today because then I’m not going to be a happy camper. I already feel like crap from being sick. I have to get myself through this school day and then get myself through work…with ten children today. I have an extra one. Yipee…yesterday I was trying to talk to the kids and the more I talked the softer my voice got because I kept coughing so I was losing my voice. Eventually the kids turned around and walked away as if they were like, “We don’t know what you’re saying, so we’re just gonna go now…bye.”

Let’s hope that this is an easy day for me and that I don’t have to do much at all. Except I have to finish that outline and do some homework. Meh.

Home Alone

Not Really, I Got The Two Dogs, Cat, and Turtle…

Comet is actually being quiet right now…I gave him a bone, that’s why. Chip is whining because I did not give her a bone. The reason for that is because she has about a million bones hidden throughout this house. If she really wants a bone, she can use that tiny powerful nose God gave her and find at least one of the many bones. I know she has at least two…one is buried in my pillow and the other is buried in my blankets. Damn dog. Hunter is howling at absolutely nothing, but I think it’s just too quiet for him…or maybe he thinks he’s home alone. I don’t know why he cries like that. Raph, I think, is finally going into “hibernation mode” like she should have a couple weeks ago when the weather started getting cold, but instead she got more hyper.

She flipped her house over and then began using it as a playground…

Right. She should not be doing that in the fall. However, I noticed that she has been “redecorating” less and has not been trying to walk through the tank glass as much to get out. I think she thinks she can walk through walls. No, instead she has been like this:

On her way into the pool…then she said, “nope” and wasn’t having it.

Yes, she was in that position for a very long time. Of course, as I type this, she is knocking on the glass shouting, “Let me out!” I can’t complain, though. I like working while she’s walking around. I feel as though I have company. This is what it comes down to…I have no friends.

Just kidding, I do. But they’re all at school right now. You wanna know why I’m not at school? I only had one class today and it was cancelled. I am super excited! Not because I was able to sleep in, no, because it was my health class. And my teacher for my health class bites. I mean today we were supposed to meet in the library to do research on our projects. Of course, I’m doing something else that I will not go into because it’s a long story, but to keep it short and sweet, I’m exempt from the project. So I don’t even know what I would be doing, anyway. It would probably have been nothing.

But this is great because now I have the whole day to myself…well, until I have to go to work. But I would much rather be at work than go to school…especially when I have health. What am I to do with myself? I could go some more homework done so I have less to do while working on NaNo. I could work on outlining my NaNo some more. I could clean, I could sing and dance, I could play video games…preferably Pokemon. But I just don’t know because I am just way too excited right now!

Speaking of NaNo, I am outlining Saving Each Other (SEO) and I decided that I might as well write it for NaNo. It’s almost the middle of October and I don’t know how long it will take me to outline SEO plus another novel and then decide between the two. I’m on chapter twelve for SEO and I have no idea how many more chapters there will be.

The other reason as to why I decided to write it for NaNo is because I was thinking a lot about it the other day…well, yesterday. In the shower. I don’t know about any of you people out there, but I do my best thinking when I am in the shower…or trying to sleep. Which is probably why I never actually sleep…huh. Anyway, in the shower I was thinking about the novel and thinking about the outline and realized, “I’m on chapter twelve, but really, nothing’s happened yet.” I mean, let’s face it: at this point, I’ll be on chapter 100 and the plot will just be beginning. Then I realized…what is the plot?

Seriously, I really had to ask myself this question. I honestly had no idea what the plot was. I came up with a cool title, I made up some awesome characters, I even came up with a cover for the novel. But what is the plot? Someone is after them, yes, I understand that. But who? And why? I got nothing. But when I was in the shower, I came up with a wonderful idea. I am not going to tell you what that idea is because I don’t want to give anything away, but…I guess you could say that it’s kind of “cliche” for a fantasy novel. But that’s alright, because I have tricks up my sleeve.

The summary for SEO is in the post right below this one…just so you know. So scroll down. A lot. Or…turn to the last page or something, I don’t really know how my blog works…I never really look at the finished product. I just type, proofread on here and hit “publish.” The summary was something quick I whipped up for you guys. It’s not the “final” summary and still needs a bit of work. Just a warning…

So I still don’t know what I am going to do with myself today, but I know first things first: get some more coffee. I drank it all while writing this. Don’t worry…it’s decaf. We ran out of caffeinated. Boo. 🙁

Stupid School

I have been trying to get my writing done. I really have. The fact is that school just keeps getting in the way. My anxiety at school has been coming back, which is making things a little bit difficult, I think I’m coming down with a cold, and I just have school, then work, then homework, and then on the weekends I have Sunday school and such. It’s too much. I’m getting stressed out, but I’m handling it. I have good grades in all my classes so far and I have been going to school despite my anxiety trying to kill me. However, when it comes to writing…that’s a whole other story.

I just decided all of this this morning. I made a huge list of all my homework that I need to get done. My Health class never has homework, so that’s not a big deal, but I made a list of all the math homework, science homework, and discover teaching homework I have for the rest of the semester. I didn’t list my multicultural communications homework only because my professor gives us the homework week by week and not for the whole semester. Anyway, I’m going to get a good chunk of it done because it honestly isn’t that much to tell the truth…it just looks like a lot. I am going to go home today (because I don’t have work today) and between today and Monday (October 8) I am going to try to get as much homework done as I possibly can. Hopefully I can get all my homework done for at least October, but we’ll see.

This way, with homework out of the way, I’ll be able to focus on writing instead of homework. It’ll be the same amount of stuff I have to worry about, except I’m replacing homework with writing. I think it should work out. The other thing that I thought of doing was going through my novel list and writing summaries and/or outlines for each novel. I was looking at the list earlier and realized that there are a couple of stories that I had no idea what the plot was supposed to be. So if I outline each novel then not only will I remember what it’s about when I start writing it, but I will also have an idea about what each chapter is supposed to be about and it’ll be easier and faster to write the novel.

Does this all sound good? Does it all make sense? Probably not because I know that I said I was going to work on a book full of short stories and such to be self-published and now I’m changing my mind…again. But I guess that’s fine because I have to coordinate everything with life. Unfortunately, life is a little important. Anyway, so when I get home today I’ll start working on all my homework…I can’t start now because I only have my books for the classes I have today…which of course has no homework.

This will also be good because if I get all the October homework done early, I can try to get my November homework done really soon. If that happens then I will be able to focus more on NaNoWriMo! Yay! I can write my NaNo novel while in school and after work and such things like that instead of doing homework. When I start outlining my novels, I’ll outline the novel I’m going to do for NaNo…whatever that may be, I don’t know yet.

Anyway, I’ll update about NaNo sooner rather than later since it’s already October and November will probably be here before we know it. I’ll also update about my homework and we’ll see how that goes. I have about 100 stories to outline…this is going to be interesting!