Saturday round-up: happy holidays & happy trails! edition

elvgrenxmasHistoriann et famille are off to celebrate the holidays in our special, special way:  with too much sugar, fat, a Jell-o salad or two, and “the airing of the grievances,” Festivus-style.  And lots and lots of bourbon–you know, for the children.  I hope all of you are somewhere you want to be this year, with people you want to be with.  (And if you’re not, then I hope your travels will be short!)

What’s in this box?  Salted caramels?  An I-Pod?  A NEW CAR??

While our wagon makes it way East, here are a few tidbits out there on the world-wide non peer-reviewed internets that just might keep you clicking back for more:

  • Squadratomagico is back, babies, and is more interesting than ever.    Check out this weird story courtesy of the magical technology for oversharing that is Facebook, and keep an eye out for reports on her experiment with a class blog next term.
  • GayProf reports that American historians aren’t teaching a large chunk of American history–the scoundrels!  When will U.S. historians figure out that there are a lot of non-English speaking people in American history?  (About the time they learn to read and write another language, like any educated people who hold the highest degree in the university should?  Think Santa will make that happen this year, finally?)  Don’t miss his provocative throwndown about Atlantic World history in the comments, kids!
  • Roxie reports that (GRADUATE STUDENTS STOP READING NOW–CAREER SPOILER AHEAD) “the declines in [job listings] in each of the last two years are the largest ever recorded by the MLA, since it started tracking the trends in the association’s Job Information List 35 years ago.”  Sucktastic!  For everyone–the lucky duckies who have jobs (and are doing more and more service work to compensate for their own dwindling numbers), the Roads Scholars and Freeway Flyers who are adjuncting and temp teaching, the Grad Students who are wondering what the heck they got themselves into, and the undergraduate students, who have more and more professors who have 100, 200, or 300 students a term (or more!)  Does anyone really believe that this doesn’t affect the quality of education we offer our students?  Seriously? 

I’ve just finished teaching another big class (this time with 87 students), and another one with 31 students, and guess which students showed up more often, got called by their names (usually by the right names), did the homework more often, and got better grades?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  It’s really hard not to become cynical when we’re asked to do such a cynical job.

Peace on Earth.  Good will to all creatures.  Give thanks for what you have.  Hang in there during these dark days and long nights–the Solstice is almost here, and we’ll be on the upswing again soon.

0 thoughts on “Saturday round-up: happy holidays & happy trails! edition

  1. Have a safe and happy holiday visit. We’re hosting Christmas at chez Big Nickel since I’m stuck in grading jail for the foreseeable future. The joys of two big exams writing at the very end of the session!

    I’m so chuffed, though. Next term is my lighter load! Only two classes and the biggest one’s capped by room capacity at 83. *happy dances*

    I was musing with the chair that the reduction that our institution effected (from 3-3 to 3-2) hasn’t reduced our workload in any appreciable way. We have growing enrolments from outside our major in anything before the senior level (and they even petition to enrol in those). This pressure will only grow with the increasing number of elective credits students can take with our new degree system (only 60 of 120 credits can be determined by the program in which they concentrate).


  2. But they don’t even need to learn another the language as most of the scholarship they would need is published in English (Though I am astounded by the number of Ph.D. programs in U.S. history/studies that don’t require a second language).

    Yay! I get to enjoy bourbon with HistoriAnn in her undisclosed holiday location!


  3. Have a happy holiday(s)!

    One needs only hear the sound of crickets that came from my blog this past term to see the impact of econ decline at pov u. I’m looking forward to some holiday time myself.


  4. I am on sabbatical with full pay due to extra credits. PhD students still have to be advised, papers to be written and proposals put together to beg NSF for money. Our classes are getting smaller, private and expensive school, and we HIRE!

    Still, I about had it with the infighting, the mediocrity, the non-responsive dean, etc.

    Otherwise, good students are a delight and we’ll celebrate Monday as a group with good cheers and excellent wishes.

    It’s a joy for an engineer to listen to smart and interesting historians. Happy Holidays everyone.


  5. I’m sitting still and trying to catch up. But a visitor from Gay Paree may bring chocolate. Scotch on hand. Gotta get our priorities straight.
    After New Years I take on strategic planning… more scotch, please.


  6. I don’t know what’s in the box, but we always said, if it’s heavy and it rattles, at least it’s not a shirt! The Delaware Valley is getting a blockbuster winter wonderland event all today and tonight, very rare for hereabouts, especially December. I’m stuck indoors in a grading blizzard, and so far from bourbon, all I’ve got is two sixers of Woodchuck Draft Pear Cider to last until whenever. Please send a St. Bernard with a barrel of hot buttered rum!


  7. I’m furloughed for the holidays. Well, except of course that I must prepare for next term’s classes. So it’s more of a pay cut.

    Much of our campus is closed and we’ve been discouraged from trying to work in our offices, which will be unheated. It’s bad for us but I expect it’s worse for employees at near-campus shops.


  8. Happy holidays! I hope our east coast blizzard won’t impact your traveling. We managed to move ahead of the snow, and are now tucked in at our final destination surrounded by 20″ of snow. I know that’s not that impressive by CO standards, but here it’s the snowfall of the decade.

    Squadrato’s post was fascinating – she was spot on, too. I would have defriended that person as well. I know a couple of people with permanent siege mentality – the types who always think that a) everything is about them and b) everything is against them. It could very well be a coincidence, but everybody I happen to know who falls in that category is also quite conservative, which makes a certain kind of sense if one takes a look at the paranoia that is now entrenched in the far right.

    And we all know of course that the economic crisis is only going to push enrollments up, up, up. The profs in my department have a super cushy gig and I think they’re in for a real shock when they finally have to absorb some of these big changes a-comin’.


  9. Interested in the last point on grades in relation to the size of classes. I had a writing seminar with 18 students this fall, and a good number of them did A work. I wondered if I was being too nice as I submitted the grades, but then I realized I worked with them individually — read their drafts, allowed them to rewrite papers, did a Powerpoint featuring some of their arguments…no wonder a lot of them got As. Now if only I could motivate and connect like that in a class with 60 or 80!!!


  10. Hi all–arrived safely and we didn’t have to dodge too much snow. Thanks so much for being such great regular readers and commenters–and thanks, KoshemBos for revealing your secret identity as an engineer!

    And now for the “Peace! Love!” and of course, the “Motherfucking Jameson!”


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