With the end of yet another semester upon us, I’d like to give a little gift to all my teacher friends…and all those they teach.
So for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been teaching an intensive filmmaking class for the Baltic Summer University. The class itself had gone through various permutations, since this was the first time it was being offered (and so, it stands to reason, my first time teaching it). Originally, the plan was to have the students break into two groups, with half making a scripted film and the other half doing a documentary. With only 5 students, however, that wasn’t going to work. Add in that four of the five were really interested in documentary work and we changed plans on the fly, eventually deciding that each of them would make their own 5 minute documentary. Continue reading “Baltic Summer University and the birth of documentarians…”
Earlier this year, in a post called Two Side of Teaching, I talked about a student who wanted to know what I could teach her that she couldn’t learn from a video. I responded “not much” and then went on to explain my answer. Continue reading “How YouTube Became the World’s Best Film School | WIRED”
There are two types of teachers in the world (two types of adults, really, but teachers works for what I want to say), those who want to participate in the education of their students, who want to help them investigate the topics at hand, to guide them along the way, and those who want to belittle their students, to make sure those students know who is in charge and take great delight when their students fail to overcome those teacher’s own unfair machinations. Continue reading “Two sides of teaching”
On a midnight, dark and dreary
As my eyes had gone all bleary
revising my c.v., so weary,
Then I heard a knocking knocking,
knocking on my chamber door
Lightning flash and peals of thunder
tore my peace of mind assunder
I stood and toward my door I blundered
toward the knocking at my door
shadows cast upon my floor
The door I opened, there to see
A Raven, in his finery
an ebon tenure committee
Come a’calling at my door
Knocking, cawing at my door
His eyes were black, my mood was blue
For his dark post-tenure review
Turned all my horses into glue
with sticky student eval scores
(It seems that they expected smores)
I told the Raven of my vigor
Maintaining academic rigor
and trying hard not to trigger
memories that open sores
and make the kids wander the moors
The Raven gave a caustic laugh
and showed me all his charts and graphs
with cuts in faculty and staff
The victory in culture wars
going to the well-paid whores
Who make the budgeting decisions.
My mind grew dark with tangled visions
“What of the education mission?”
I heard my quaking voice implore.
Quoth the raven: Nevermore.
— Orson Welk
Yesterday, in an offhand conversation, I was asked whether someone should pursue teaching in Lithuania. My immediate response was “not if they want to make a living.” Here, the powers that be are trying to “fix” the education system with all sorts of radical ideas, including combining all of the many and varied universities into three umbrella institutions among others. And yes, there are issues which should be addressed. One of the areas is pay for the faculty. It hasn’t gone up since 2001. In fact, over all, the baristas at the local coffee houses make more money than your average university lecturer. Continue reading “Why I teach.”
I owe a huge chunk of that to this women here. So if you think I’m good at what I do, you should read this article and learn about the source!
End of November and End of May…
This is the life of a VDU Professor!
On Final Exam day, one of the first students finished came up with their finished exam, handed it to me and then cheekily gave me an apple. It was cute. Then another student handed in their exam… and an apple. Then a third. Eventually, about 150 students all handed in their exams and an apple.
And when the exam was over (first session – there were two) they ave me a t-shirt. I’m wearing it in the picture. It’s the best exam question I’ve ever written (and the answer is on the back).
I do love what I do…
Last week, as class ended, a student came up to me and handed me a small box of chocolate, saying “this is for you.” I said thank you and asked why. “Just because.” was the answer.
Inside was this note.
This is why I do what I do – to try and keep the stories moving forward.
So about 6 weeks ago, I got a weird email from someone saying they were casting for a movie filming in Vilnius and would like to know if I was interested in auditioning for a small speaking role (basically, they needed native English speakers). I agreed and we set a time for me to head to Vilnius.
To be honest, I didn’t think much about it, figuring it was some sort of student or sample thing, the kind of thing I get asked to participate in from time to time. So I went to the audition, in Vilnius, read in front of a camera, remembered why I’m not an actor, thanked them for their time and headed home (a little over 6 hours door to door – there and back). Continue reading “Life as a Movie Star (Ha!)”