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My Semester starts tomorrow

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Click this image to go to the CDC’s flu-tracker website

This has not been a good weekend. I started feeling ill on Friday evening and have been getting progressively worse since then. I was unconsoled by my first exposure to free HBO and Cinemax as I watched ‘Contagion’ while my wife and son were out shopping. It took me a while to realize that I didn’t want to watch hundreds of people fall prey to a wildfire infection, but when I did, I was greeted with a post from the CDC’s FluView app sating that flu has reached epidemic proportions.¬†

Immediately upon receiving that post I developed generalized body-aches (which I’ll be damned if I can tell are psycho-symatic or not.) To be fair, I have had the flu once before… in about 1999… and there’s no question what it’s like. I couldn’t get off the couch for a week – quite literally. Luckily, I couldn’t eat or drink, so the sequelae to those processes sort of shut down too. So, no, I don’t think I have the flu this year.

What I do have is a semester starting tomorrow ¬†with one class I am taking (introduction to C++ algorithms, or some such nonsense) and an in-service meeting where I teach. Then, on Tuesday I start teaching Microbiology and General Biology. What I need to do is get over this cold as soon as possible and get myself a flu shot, so I don’t have to stand in front of a class promoting the efficacy of these vaccines when I have not gotten one myself.

I admit it, I’m whining and I have no real purpose for this post other than to seek sympathy. This thing must be affecting my mind as well…

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Semester’s End

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Our Jeopardy-themed final exam review

It’s the last week of the Fall 2012 Semester and I’ve been spending a lot of time working on getting the final exam written and edited, making sure all my students’ papers are graded and accounted for and putting together a good review session complete with a double batch of chocolate chip cookies and a pot of coffee.

Attendance was really down today because a lot of my students are sick (actually I am pretty ill as well) and our review day is actually not an official school day anyway, so I couldn’t even guilt students into attending. Nevertheless, I thought the cookies were good, the coffee was hot and our review session Jeopardy went very well.

There were only a few times today that I felt driven to drink as we went through a semester’s worth of material and tried to untangle any remaining confused lines of reasoning and replace them with what I hope are clear principles. This is the time of year that I think, “All I want is for them to understand a few key ideas,” but the reality is that key ideas are hard to examine – tests have to cover the details of some specific condition, and I just hope they exemplify the important points.

Mostly, what I want to say to any of my students who might read this, is ‘Thanks for taking my class. I hope you learned something this semester that makes you look at the world a little differently. I look forward to seeing some familiar faces in Microbiology next semester, but if I don’t have you in class again, I wish you all the best.’

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Extra Credit

You made itI’ve been asked by several of you (from my General Biology Class) whether I would consider making the chapter 33 questions extra credit since we won’t be doing that chapter in class this semester. I really do think that that chapter is important, so for those of you who are willing to o those questions, I suppose I am willing to make that worth 5 pts above and beyond the 50 total extra credit points you can earn this semester.

My only caveat is that they be done well for full credit (i.e. no omitting the question and writing out abbreviated answers). My motivation is to encourage you to actually read that chapter and learn something – make me believ it and you’ve got the points. These can be turned in up until Tuesday’s Review class – if you choose not to come to that class, be sure to turn them in at the office or email them to me before 12pm Tuesday.

Also, I should take a moment to thank you all for a good semester. I’ve enjoyed having everyone in the class and I hope to see you again in Microbiology. Congratulations for making it through the semester.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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