Tag Archives: class

Brushing Off The College Spanish

Optimistically speaking, I have not used my college Spanish for five years. And I don’t know if my senior year of Spanish actually counts because the professor was, ah, unique. So we’re talking closer to 8 years since I took Spanish. 

But, being home, I have set myself the task of getting my youngest brother through his second semester of Spanish. 

It is, ah, going. With varying degrees of success. At least I kept my pronunciation. 

Tomorrow we see what we can do to catch him up in 4th-year German. I’m sure my one year of German in middle school is going to come in real handy. (I remember…auto?) 

Snitches Get Stitches

On the half a block walk to class this morning, the professor I TA for asked how discussion groups went on Monday. I answered him honestly: I had the hardest time keeping the students focused. At least one told me that as an atheist, he didn’t believe in what Luther wrote, so why bother reading it? Others tried to distract me by sparking debates about the authenticity of Scripture or the meaning of separation of church and state. I hoped he would say something about the relevance of Luther in class.

And oh, did he ever. 

Professor: “My TA* informs me that some of you godless atheists think you don’t need to read Luther and can get away with ignoring what he has to say. Well, you can’t. Get out of your bubble and read something you disagree with. It will do you good.”

And at that moment the student who made the atheist comment turned and locked eyes with me. The message was clear. 

Image result for snitches get stitches


*Actually, he didn’t just call me his TA. He referred to me by my last name–which I don’t share on this blog. But basically, “Miss Amy says…” Which sounds even more like I went and tattled on them. 

Presenter Extraordinaire

Do you ever speak before a group of people and then conclude to dead silence? 

That happened to me after I gave my class presentation. The professor even said, “Oh, is that it?”

So I sat down thinking, “I talked too fast. That must have been it. Or I didn’t elaborate on my points enough. But if that was the case, why didn’t the professor ask more questions?!” 

You know how it goes. But then, after class, the professor walked up to me:

“Great job with your presentation! You seemed very confident up there. Were you a teacher?”

The first thing that popped into my mind I could not say. Namely: “No, but I have a lot of experience B.S.ing my way through group projects.”

So instead I thanked her and assured her I was shaking with nerves inside even if I looked outwardly calm. 

Because no matter how hard my school tries to drill into my head that as a woman I am not confident enough and I need to own my skills more, it still comes across weird to say, “Yeah, I was confident because I read that dissent like 6 times and then practiced my speech a dozen times.” Then again, maybe I should have. In the moment, though, I was torn between gratitude and a desire to deflect, deflect, deflect

Semester Reads

Christmas came early (or perhaps late? I did accept this job last year) for me. I got finally got the syllabus for the class I am TAing for this semester and it includes the books we will be reading. The authors are:

  • Machiavelli 
  • Luther
  • Swift
  • Hobbes
  • Locke
  • Kant
  • Smith
  • Rousseau 
  • Marx
  • Nietzsche 

Going to be good!! I do hope my students are prepared for how much of a Locke fangirl I am.

Cheese > Head Cold

I have a head cold. It is pretty miserable. It hit me in the middle of the afternoon and all my classmates in my evening class suffered listening to me sniffle. 

More relevantly to this story, a very small window exists between my evening class ending and my bus arriving. I usually make a beeline out of the law school.

But today they had cheese in the foyer. 

And as a good Wisconsinite, I do love cheese. So, sniffling and miserable, I happily loaded up a plate and hurried out the door. 

I missed by bus by under 10 seconds. I then had to stand in the cold for 35 minutes waiting for the next one. 

Totally worth it. 

Wisconsin Culture

Today in Evidence class we studied evidence offered as a character attribute (not allowed in court) versus evidence offered about a habit (generally allowed.) One of the defining attributes that differentiates the two is whether it is “morally ambiguous.” In other words, if the evidence tends to make the jury make a moral judgement about the defendant (i.e. he kicks puppies and so is a bad person), it probably won’t be allowed into court. (Probably?)

Anyway, one of the examples that came up today was a piece of evidence from a bartender stating that the defendant in a hit and run case came to the bar consistently for five years in a row every Saturday and Sunday night, drank vodka for an hour, got rowdy, and left. Thus, even though the bartender could not say that on that specific night the defendant was at the bar, he had a habit of drinking on Sunday nights which lines up with the hit and run. 

All this as background to say: the non-Wisconsin native professor took it as a given that “he drinks for an hour every Saturday and Sunday night” would obviously leave “negative” impression on the jury. 

And all of us from Wisconsin were like, “But would it? Would it really?”

Which made for a very funny debate.  

Because we Wisconsin natives had several caveats before we would agree that a habit of drinking regularly was more negative than “morally ambiguous.” 

Like, was he chugging vodka, or just nursing a glass? Social drinker or in isolation? Who defines “rowdy”? Was there a football game going on? 

The poor professor did not know what to do with us. I don’t know if we ever got to the real crux of his question. 

Image result for dd switches to light beer memes

Quadruple Booked

The problem with scheduling every waking moment of your day is that inevitably you forget and book something else for the same time. Or three something elses. 

I triple booked myself Friday. (Meeting-seminar-work.)

I quadruple booked myself today.

First, I have a night class. I have had a night class the last 6 weeks. I have no idea how I forgot it. 

Second, I agreed to chaperone a movie night. I find it hilarious that I am requested to chaperone college kids until I realize I’m 6-8 years older than most of the students anyway. And that makes me feel old. 

Third, the city chapter of the Federalist Society hosted a social event for us Fed Soc students. It included two Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices. I got to chat with both of them. Let me tell you how it went: 

Me to Justice 1: “I fangirled so hard when your decision came out. Like, I told everyone about it. It was the best! I really loved it. Your due process argument was so good! I’m such a fan!” 

*Judge 1 looks faintly alarmed and begins to slowly back away* 


Judge 2: “Have we met before?”

Me: “Oh yes, I was president last year.”

Judge 2: “Where are you working now?”

Me: “Still a student.”

Him: “…”

Me: “…”

Him: “…”

Me: “…”

* this goes on for about thirty seconds*

Clearly I made a meaningful impression on both.

Fourth and finally, I agreed to pick up my sister from work. At least, I think I did. Possibly she just announced I was picking her up. At any rate, when I told her I had a busy day ahead of me, she just glanced up briefly from her phone and said:

“Just don’t be late.” 

TA Training

I am TAing this coming semester for an undergrad class! It is a very exciting opportunity. I have no idea what I am doing. 

I read the handbook very carefully and it said TA training would take place today and gave a building. I asked the department I am in for more specifics. They didn’t know anything more either. 

But it said all day training so I took off work today and showed up at the building. All for nothing! If the training did take place, they hid it well. I wandered around the entire place and found nothing. 

Which is fine and all, but I still have no idea what I am doing. 

School Uniform

Literally everyone at Bible study: “Whoah, Amy, are you wearing a school uniform?”

Me: “Yup. Finals today.”

*awkward silence*

Me: “I know it makes me look like a middle schooler.”

Everyone: “Yes, yes it does.”

First & Last Day of Class

First Day of Class:

A Monday. Class does not start till 2 pm but I show up at 9 am because I do not know where I am going. Orientation the week before did not include a tour. I wander around for over an hour before I finally get pointed in the right direction. I end up eating a chicken sandwich from a food stand nearby because I do not understand how the cafeteria (excuse me, canteen) works; yet another thing orientation did not cover. 

The class before mine runs late. Then the professor stays and chats with students. At 1:30, I impatiently walk in and sit down anyway. The professor in the class before me turns and includes me in the conversation. Air quality. Better wear a face mask. 

1:40 rolls around and I am the only person in the classroom.

1:50 and still no other students. 

2:00 and the cleaning lady comes in and starts shutting everything down. She turns off the computer and begins wiping down desks. I ask her if the class was moved. She doesn’t speak English. 

2:05 and the professor walks in. He is surprised to see only me. He gets the cleaning lady who is also apparently the tech woman to turn the computer back on. We wait. 

2:30 and no other students. He decides to start the lecture anyway. We wrap up without anyone joining us. 

We meet the next week but he informs me the school decided to cancel the course due to lack of interest. I feel rather bummed. I was really looking forward to Law of the Sea. 

Last Day of Class:

A Saturday. Since March began, I have had makeup classes almost every Saturday. For this one, the professor assigned us group presentations.

We had a month to prep, but my group started working Wednesday night. It involved a group phone call where we divided up the work and I had to keep reminding everyone to speak English since I don’t know Thai. As it was, they spent 50 of the 60 minute call in Thai. 

Class begins at 9:30. My group mates want to arrive at 8:45 to practice. I show up at 9:20. We are still missing nearly half our group. The professor punctually shows up at 9:30 and wants to kick things off. Unfortunately, all of the groups presenting are missing members. 

We wait nearly an hour. 

The professor asks if we have any questions. We don’t. He sits scrolling through his phone. My group is still missing a member. This happened the last time we did a group presentation with the exact same person. 

The professor asks if anyone will do the presentation without their missing group member. I’m all for volunteering us. Not like our missing member actually did much work anyway. Plus, his usual style involves reading straight from the slides. Any of us can do that! 

But my group members are made of kinder stuff than me. They worry that presenting without him means he will not get a good grade. I think that sounds brilliant. Maybe next time he will show up on time. 

Eventually, someone walks in and the first group gets up to present. The professor announces he will interrupt with questions, so instead of 15 minutes, they can present for 30.

They present for 50 minutes. 

During that time, our missing group member strolls in. We present and manage to keep it around 30 minutes. During both presentations, the professor frequently looks bored and scrolls through his phone. 

The third group goes up to present. By this point, I’ve mentally checked out and all but pulled out my coloring book. Everyone around me stares at their phone or computer. The group fumbles around for about 40 minutes, laughing at their own mistakes and forgetting who to pass the mic to. Every now and then the professor glances incredulously across the room, as if to say, ‘Y’all saw that too, right?

We end 30 minutes early. The professor pauses to remind us about a take home test. It is the first I am hearing about this, and I suspect the first my classmates are too. Apparently he sent it to the office but they forgot to forward it to us. In acknowledgement, the professor offers to push the deadline back from May 31st to June 15. I now understand why it takes forever to get final grades. 

Instead of chicken, I take a 40 minute bus ride to get Domino’s Pizza for lunch. My resolution to eat only Thai food while in Thailand lasted until March. Still, not even deep dish pepperoni satisfies my craving for food from home. I swear Thailand has never heard of tomato sauce. WHY does all pizza here come with a weird sauce? 

I have finals over the next two weeks (at least, of the finals I know about) but I, for one, am grateful to be done with the classes portion of this semester. I’d say we’re not ending on a positive note but in truth I’m not sure we ever found one.