Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sentence Length

A short sentence can easily capture the tenor of my life two months ago. To adequately express how things are going now, with the confusion of adapting to a new location (Why does this bus schedule only show the times for the eastbound buses? Do the buses not return? Is a mass of municipal buses building up in east Cleveland like a blood clot, or perhaps an infestation of feral cats, with old ladies giving saucers of milk to the cute, but totally untamed alley buses?) and a new job (my tenure seems to depend on five annual documents [the Course Assessment Record, the Individualized Work Plan, the Continuous Improvement Goals Form, the Annual Professional Activities Summary and the Peer and Self Evaluation Form; the last of these at one point asks "The faculty member is an effective teacher: disagree, agree, or strongly agree", while the second of these asserts "generally, in addition to his or her primary teaching, library or counseling responsibilities, a faculty member will engage in two activities listed under (I) a combination of one activity listed under (I) and two activities listed under (II) or four activities listed under (II)" {as per the Faculty Load and Reassignment Guidelines 4.A}] and it is not clear to me whether I need to actually change anything I do in order to satisfy the requirements of these forms, or whether I simply need to document my current work habits using the appropriate jargon [Is blogging a level II activity? If I blog long enough, can I become a Fourth Level Magic User?]) compounding stress of coping with the ordinary crises of teaching (A student says the audio files for my online lecture are just static, the bookstore can't find the book I ordered, even though it is published by OUP, another textbook went into a new edition while I wasn't looking, so now all my assignments are wonky) and childcare (when we dropped Caroline off at her new classroom, we thought it didn't look very Montessori-ish, and then later we get a call asking if we had signed her up for the Montessori program or the regular program)--given that in good personal writing the structure of the sentence expresses the lifeworld of the speaker (so that, for instance, a life where attending to one task always seems to require attending to another [for instance, bringing vegetarian food to the children's schools requires a note from a pediatrician which in turn requires actually finding a new pediatrician] so that the ordinary day consists of a series of sidetrackings would be best expressed by a sentence with frequent and iterated parentheticals) would require a longer sentence.

4 comments:

Thomas said...

Um, didn't you already post this yesterday? ;)

Matthew said...

My brain hurts now . . .

Evelyn Brister said...

I don't get it--you have to get a note from a doctor in order to NOT feed a child meat? What makes vegetarianism a medical issue? Does a child get sent to the school nurse if they pick the franks out of their beans? But not the beans out of their franks? If you ask me, it's hot dog parts, bologna, and unidentifiable ground-up deep-fried chicken pieces that should be bringing on health worries.

Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

It's not as bad as that. You have to get a note from the dr. to bring in any food from outside. If you simply want to pick the meat out of the food they provide, that's fine.