Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Being smart

I don't particularly care for The Huffington Post, but sometimes they have some great pieces on there from some really smart people. 

This statement from a professor to his future students is a good one, but what I like even more is this response a commenter had to several of the commenters who said a good professor is one who "personalizes" instruction for his or her students:

Rob Engle · Florida A&M University
Wow, you people need to get a clue.
I had a college professor tell me my freshman year, "I'm not your teacher, and I'm not your friend - I'm here to guide you to the knowledge you must teach yourself, because there's not enough classroom time to cover everything you'll be expected to know by this course's completion. So put on your big boy/girl pants and get ready to work."

Best advice I ever got, both inside and outside the classroom.
And they were right, the tidbits I picked up in class were nothing compared to what I taught myself outside the classroom, whether in the library doing research for papers or reading in any one of a number of books I brought home outside of required reading. The professors merely show me the way. It was hard work, but I thrived because I put in the time. I learned, I wasn't spoon-fed. High school, by comparison, was more like kindergarten.
But the kids, and parents, of today seem to insist on the new hands-holding mentality that held them back in high school, and leaves the overwhelming majority needing to take remedial courses in math and English, and will leave them unprepared for the real world. About time they get a wake-up call.

I'm considering homeschooling for a whole variety of reasons, but one is because of the sheep-like learning that can (sometimes/often?) occur in schools.

I wasn't a magical teacher when I did teach, but I did try to make my instruction dynamic and meaningful, and I would hope that I instilled the learning independence that this man received from his professor.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Yet another name - "gone" - ...maybe.

One of the tricky problems of infertility, though it wasn't nearly as important as other concerns, was the problem of "losing" names.

No, I hadn't forgotten them or anything like that, but the names I would like and add to a list eventually were lost to becoming popular.

Now, I don't intend to name my kids anything particularly extraordinary, but having a name that was particularly popular when I was born has lead me to none too few situations where I and another friend/classmate looked at a teacher to see which "Laura" they were talking to.

Additionally, I need to say that I wouldn't choose a name because it's popular, even if it's beautiful and fits so well with our intentions for naming.  This might sound goofy, but we really, really avoided names on the top 10 or 12 list.  Having a John and a Laura in the family didn't help. Having a sister-in-law named Laura, with the same last name, was also an incentive to name Suzy something not particularly typical.

So, as we waited to conceive, I saw names I loved suddenly shoot to the top of lists for most popular names.  Here are some I liked before they got "big":

              among others.  So, for one reason or another, these names dropped from my list, though if something came up that made a top name really, really, really necessary, we'd consider it. 

That said, now comes another name on my list that may be dropped - maybe.


When Adele, the singer, got REALLY famous after her "21" album made it, I went searching for names of similar sound or meaning.  Alice became a contender both with the hypothetical and actual considerations. The general order of preference for names, as they were over a year ago:

Elizabeth (as high as #12 at one time last year according to some website somewhere)

So when Suzy was born, Rosalind and Caroline were dropped pretty quickly for one reason or another. Alice was a #3 consideration for a while, and the debate between Elizabeth and Suzanna waged for 48 hours.  It wasn't that awesome.  After "sleeping on it," we didn't feel settled on Elizabeth, and - with about 30 minutes to spare before leaving the hospital - we decided on Suzanna.

I don't think Alice got the full consideration that Elizabeth and Suzanna did, but Suzy is definitely a good fit, and Alice has been on "reserve" for whenever we might have a daughter again.  It's not a definite, but it's a real possibility.

Now the new royal British babe has been born, and all the bookies have 6-4 odds or so than she will be named Alice.  Charlotte is also a consideration, but my money would also be on the girl who went to Wonderland. 

Would I take Alice off the list if the new princess were named as such?  I don't know, but there'd be more than a few comments, I'm sure, regarding the inspiration for the name.

That all said, there are plenty of Williams and Henrys out there,
but hey,
to my buddies, Will and Kate:
could you go ahead and pick some incredibly regal name and let the common folk have Alice for themselves - i.e. me?
Also, Kate - when you're over your clothes, just let me know, and you can ship them to me.
I'll take them off your hands - no problem!

- update: as the world knows, "Alice" will still be a contender for the next baby.