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Perfect fall weekend. Changeover to new trash system starting on Monday (meaning no massive cleaning). What does all of this mean? FOOTBALL, KNITTING, READING and…karaoke. Yup, the random conglomeration of activities that describe my life.

Friday night we went to Koy (the bar attached to a local Chinese restaurant) for karaoke. How much better does life get than opening a two performance sequence with All Jacked Up by Gretchen Wilson and closing with Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols. That’s right. It doesn’t. Unfortunately, some of the regulars were extremely nonplussed by the idea of some good old fashioned punk rock blasting in a rather off-tune tone. It also didn’t help that anarchy had broken out in Baltimore and Boston about the same time as Anarchy as supposed to be “sung” in the bar. DH could barely contain his excitement at the Bosox winning the AL East. Either way, definitely good times. Definitely.

Knitting and football are best ways to spend a Saturday or Sunday. Although Notre Dame did not win, they did manage to score a few TDs with Sharpley looking rather good. Thanks to Girl is Crafty , I had me some fantastic gold and blue yarn to work with in my humble attempt to make a Notre Dame scarf. Her football-along swap package came the other day with all the goodies thereunto appertaining. Talk about hitting the motherlode:

100_1486

See that yarn? 5 skeins Wool of the Andes in blue, 4 in Daffodil to make an HP house scarf in Fighting Irish colors, which, incidentally, are also my undergrad alma mater colors. Also, notice those macadamias sitting there waiting to be eaten? Directly from the great state of Hawaii they are. Girl is Crafty felt that since I had to wait for my swap package while she lived the high life on a Hawaiian vacation, I deserved a little giftie from there as well. AWESOME. All other projects have been shoved aside for the making of said Fighting Irish rooting scarf, including the baby blanket for a little guy who was born a few days ago. At least, I know that I’m not the one holding up his birth. I was convinced for a brief time that he wasn’t planning on arriving until he had some hand knit goodness to keep him toasty warm.

Of course, nothing can go completely smoothly in this household. While I was looking over this week’s fantasy football matchups, a little Mr. Someone (Max) decided he wasn’t getting enough attention. There’s nothing like turning around after being desperately disappointed with the players that you’re going to have to play to see several projects pulled from their happy little homes, sitting on the floor, with one of them having the working yarn chewed off. Of course, being so proud of himself, he needed to have his picture taken and tagged.

iz steelin ur projekt

 See that little bit of yellow and dark blue? Right, that would have been the chewed off scarf yarn from the Notre Dame scarf. Stupid Max. Stupid teething. Stupid.

I finished Blink before going to bed last night. I began thinking about whether blind grading of my students would be a good idea. One of the major themes of the book is that the more information we have, the worse our decisions become, at least when it comes to big decisions. Gladwell talks in depth about behind-the-screens auditions for different symphonies helping the maestros get better musicians because they are less focused on the visual aspects of the musicians’ playing or perceptions of how different genders play different instruments. This discussion harkened back to ye old law school days where in the larger classes, particularly in the first year, the exams were graded by number, and the professor did not know who was who until grades were entered. I began thinking about how my grading system of knowing students is both a positive and a negative for students. I tend to compensate for my personal feelings by doing the direct opposite of how I feel about them. In other words, if I really like you, I’m probably harder on you than if I don’t really like you. However, with writing and wanting to help students overcome their individual issues, this technque might not help them. Students’ personalities are one of the aspects of teaching I enjoy most. I enjoy getting to know the students and watching them grow over the course of the semester. I wonder, however, if I do any of them a disservice by getting to know them so well. I try to be as objective as possible. I have set standards for what I use as a grading system. I follow it as best I can. I weigh the aspects of their papers and usually give them the benefit of the doubt. For example, if 5 of the criteria for a C are met and 4 for a B, the student will end up with a C+. I try to keep things as mathematical as possible which is odd since I am not a math person whatsoever. I try to be as fair as possible, especially since writing can be viewed as extremely subjective and since I always hated that part of it when I was a student. However, do my personal feelings or the information I’ve gathered from students in class get in the way? According to Gladwell, most likely they do, at least subconsciously. How can I keep these from getting in the way? Should I perhaps employ, at least for the shorter papers, some form of anonymity? Should I try to get them to put their names on the last page of the paper instead of at the beginning so that I am truly grading each paper on its own merit without knowing who it is? Should I just resign myself to the fact that life isn’t fair, and I can’t always be fair? I can’t change it for this semester. I may talk to some other teachers I know both in and out of school. However, the impact of my subconscious on something potentially life-changing for my students is beginning to concern me. In the alternative, maybe I’m just overthinking things. Anyone with any ideas would be welcome to help me work through this logic problem.

Now that I’ve decided to solve yet another of the mysteries of the universe, since today is a perfect football Sunday, I should go watch my fantasy teams lose on a beautiful Autum day.

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