Some thoughts about teaching

So life update, I recently accepted a position in student affairs working as the Assistant Director of LGBTQA+ Affairs at West Chester University. I suffered from bouts of impostor syndrome in the job because I was switching from an academic role to a more student life role. You know, now that the impostor syndrome for this position is wearing off, I’m now critiquing my teaching career and honestly? I don’t think I was that great of a teacher. I encouraged students to do the bare minimum because I didn’t want to grade their papers or web posts, which I saw as busy work.
I mean, I still grilled them on the material and my end goal was to make sure they could at least carry a conversation about the materials covered, but in terms of assessment? I did one on ones, I did reflections, I did narratives instead of asking students to parrot material back to me–and I wonder exactly how effective that was, if at all.
Does experimentation really belong in the non-STEM classroom? Does experiential learning produce results?
I wish I kept in contact with more of my students who I’m not “friends” with to ask them–what did you gain from my class other than a grade?

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Projects are fun, right? Right.

My partner and I are going to be diving into a project together. I’m both scared and excited. Scared because, well when you start a new project there has to be a lot of planning and forethought and foresight that goes on with it, but excited because it’s a fun project idea that both my partner and I are excited about.

However, when you start a new hobby, I wonder about the start up costs and everything. I mean, other than committing time and energy, there are always things to consider.

Well, here’s an example. I’ve recently rediscovered my love of making costumes (which helps with my further settling into my gender identity because, there’s no such thing as a wardrobe, only costumes). However, costume making, heck even just regular clothing making is expensive! I mean, I had to buy sewing supplies, batting, fabric and dye. I’m looking at investing into a sewing machine because sewing things by hand takes so long and I’m not that great at it. Hobbies are expensive because you have to invest time and money into something you want to do, so are you getting what you value out of it?

Here’s what I made for my partner and myself, I made pokemon hoodies for us. I could have bought them, but I wanted something personal and my own (also buying them would have been more expensive) So what service or value do you get out of your hobbies?

 

So I’m investigating the start up costs for this new project/hobby my partner have discussed starting and seeing how feasible it is in terms of money and time. I’m still in the discussion phase, but I’m wondering for you all who have partners or have done collaborative works or shared hobbies with people, how do you approach it? Do you keep your collaborator accountable?

I’ll keep you all posted.

Character Creation, Avatars & Personae

character sheet
Example of a character sheet

In my life and in my hobbies, I create a lot of characters. Character is important in role playing games (Table-top, online, etc) for me, it creates a sense of visceral storytelling. When the game City of Heroes was active, I had about 13 characters I actively used because I was invested in their stories. Some people use their character sheets for their games or come up with bios for their characters when writing, but I find it lacking sometimes. I feel like there’s more that needs to be asked.

Here’s a dossier I’ve used to question all my characters to get a feel for them. If I’m interested after writing filling this out, I continue with developing them. I made off the cuff characters for RPGs and had to fill this out to cover any holes in their story. I have a character, Ahminda who I’ve used for years through different platforms (D&D even in Skyrim). The story has made for a strange character that I’ve grown very attached to and will use in almost every game I try out.

Without further ado, here’s the dossier.

Continue reading “Character Creation, Avatars & Personae”

What does the perfect home look like for you?

Trait #1:

Anywhere that the Donald isn’t president.

But failing that, I’ve started to think that the partner unit and I have outgrown this space. We moved into a new space because our previous living situation was garbage. We had a housemate who told us he takes pride in gaslighting people.

I know that was a major red flag, but we were desperate for a place to live.

Right now, we live in a very affordable space that’s walking distance to work for the both of us–which is great except.

  • It’s tiny. (two people & two cats, and less than 700 sq ft)
  • The upstairs neighbors suck.

The rest of the things we’d like aren’t necessary, but for the location and price, the space isn’t that bad at all.

But if I were to list what features would make a perfect space for us, it would need:

  • Pet friendly
  • Two bedrooms
  • 1.5-2 bathrooms
  • Free heat (very important in the Midwest–something I didn’t have to deal with in California)
  • tub (no shower-only bathrooms)
  • Off-street Parking
  • Washer & Dryer or Laundry Facility in complex
  • Gas Stove/Range
  • Close to groceries (no food deserts please)
  • Central air
  • Dishwasher

It seems like I’m asking for a lot, but the first two are necessary for us. The rest are just nice to have. We might be moving soon, if not out of state, then to another apartment–so I’m hoping I can find a place we like that’s comfy and has features that suit us. Blah. What would you perfect home look like?

The internet never forgets

I had to google myself for actual reasons other than ego-related reasons (I’m updating my CV. I was quoted in an article related to my research but I lost the link to it). While going through this rabbit hole, I found things from my high school years.

Now, I don’t mean videos of me dabbing or poor selfies (I still take those). I used to be an active member and moderator of a debate forum site. It was something I needed as an introverted shy young queer still coming out with their identity. I joined and became very active. My close friend joined as well, and she became very popular. As a a result, we both made great friendships that lasted her life and some that I hang on to, even to this day.

However, this attention wasn’t all positive. My friend’s younger sister joined and became the target of attention of a man who was obsessed with her. He began stalking her. She was able to drop off the site and as a result has been offline and social media-free for most of her life. Without a target, he focused his attention on my friend. He accused her of sexual misconduct and attempted to smear her name. She stood up to him–made sure he was put in his place. Then she died due to natural causes.

He then turned his sights onto me. Now, at this point it had been years since I had left the website and was no longer active. I was about to graduate from college and join the real world, but was being chased by some annoying internet troll. He would have random bursts on the website that I no longer visited making threats that I heard of only because of people who I knew who were still on there.

It was annoying. He would lace his racist threats with a defense that it was ok because we had all offended him because my friend and I wouldn’t let someone meet up with someone 5 years his minor (and considering he was obsessed with her, we did so for fear of what he’d do to her). I thought it was going to be just a minor thing.

I was wrong.

You see, I represent 1 out of 33 men who is the victim of a stalker. He began stalking me. He found information such as the location of my office and the times I teach. He made very clear threats of violence, referencing the conceal & carry laws in Wisconsin. He made references to school shootings and how he would get away with it.

This bullshit was affecting me….more than a decade later. I’m writing about this quickly because it’s late and I’m tired, but when I found posts when I googled myself written by this person, still raging against me after I had no longer been a factor in his life for over a decade frightened me. The last time I saw he was active on the website was about 3-4 years ago. In this time, it seems he’s limited his presence on the internet, and that scares me. If he was able to hold onto this active hate, enough to the point where I had to get a restraining order against him–I’m afraid he’s waiting.

The internet doesn’t forget. It holds onto logs of activity. Saves it. Just in case. It was triggering for me to find these, I started to spiral into a panic attack just like when he made the threat of violence to myself and my students, a legitimate threat that I had to file with the school I was working with (and talk to my students about as a real fear–yet something my PhD advisor dismissed…hmm), and made me afraid for my students, my teaching assistant and for my partner.

It’s easy to just dismiss it all, I mean, he’s been silent for 4 years. Well, silent on forums and modes that I know about. He had spent over a decade actively raging against me and making threats and developing conspiracy theories in his delusional mind about me, (sidetone: he paints himself as a liberal and a “nice guy,” yet the language he uses in his threats against me are archaic racial slurs, like someone trying too hard to be offensive, or using the word faggot as an adjective, just had to throw that out there) and now it’s strangely silent. I don’t want to live my life in fear, but I had all but forgotten him. It makes me wonder what he has in store in those dark parts of his mind.

Last active social media accounts show him doing a series of burger reviews on YouTube. Seeing him doing a video review and being “normal” was unsettling. Makes me wonder what terrifying emotional baggage people around me are trying to forget–but with the confessional-mode of the internet, they’ll never really get the chance to.

Gender Education Post that Ends with an inappropriate question

Student: Hey, teach. You’re Gender-fluid, yeah?

Me: Yeah.

Student: And that falls under the umbrella term of “transgender,” right?

Me: Yes.

Student: So when you fuck someone, does that mean you T-boned them?

Me: Get out.

Now, while I am glad that they retained some knowledge of the terminology use of of transgender or “trans*” I hate that it was a set up for what was at best, a weak ass pun.

 

The Hairy Beast in my Life

Meet Kiwi. 

He’s my little sneezy snot. He’s about a year old and was a barn cat rescue that I adopted from my soon to be sister in law. He used to have bad eye sores and a constantly running nose but with diet and with grooming and getting him out of a wildly allergen filled area, he’s become a feisty affectionate fucker.


He aggressively seeks out pets as well as cheek and chin nuzzles. And he’s pretty damn adorable. 


He takes after his parent since he sleeps almost as much as I do. Do cats take depression naps? He’s my little love floop. What hairy beasts are in your lives?