Category: The Day Job

Aug 01, 2020
By Michael Rupured

School Daze

When the fall semester begins in three weeks, I’m teaching two different classes. We’re planning for face-to-face instruction, but preparing to go online if necessary. Figuring out how to make things work either way has me dazed and confused. I’ve come a long way since March when UGA suspended classes for two weeks to enable faculty to switch to online teaching. I tweaked the syllabus and had class as scheduled via Zoom. Students didn’t enjoy 75-minute Zoom lectures any more than I did. A team of UGA experts put together a training for faculty about teaching online. I recently completed the course (mostly) and was impressed. The training was well done, very useful, and a great example of what teaching …

Jun 28, 2020
By Michael Rupured

Retirement Practice

A colleague has long been my retirement role model. Rather than quitting cold turkey, she transitioned out over three years. She dropped from full-time to 75% the first year, to half-time the next, and to 25% the year before she retired. She said easing in was good practice for life after work. Being home for nearly four months has been good practice too. I’m still full-time, but my work habits have changed. With no set schedule beyond Zoom meetings and doctor appointments, boundaries between work and personal time have blurred. Weekends and weekdays look pretty much the same. I’m up by 5 every morning and out like a light a good hour or two before midnight. Work happens in several …

Jun 06, 2020
By Michael Rupured

Working from Home

I’m a homebody. Even before COVID-19 restrictions, I rarely left the house other than for work, errands, or doctor appointments. Social distancing hasn’t changed my world all that much. Vision issues have limited my travel for years. The odometer in my 2015 VW has yet to hit 25,000 miles. Going to unfamiliar locations or anywhere at night means finding a ride. Toodles keeps me home too. I can’t see to check her sugar, so managing her diabetes is more art than science. Her behavior is my guide. Disrupting her routine is asking for trouble. Were I to leave her with anyone, I’d worry too much to enjoy the trip . My last overnight trip was more than two years ago. …

May 01, 2020
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on My Online Learning Experience

My Online Learning Experience

The semester I’ll never forget is just about over. Switching from the classroom to the Internet during a two-week hiatus after spring break was a daunting challenge. Except for maybe graduating seniors, students and faculty alike are happy to see the semester end. Teaching online isn’t all bad. I see the potential. How to make it work is the challenge — especially for crotchety old men like me. A greater command of technology would help. I can do what I need to do, barely. Call me incurious, but exploring the capabilities of devices, software, or apps never crosses my mind. The switch to online teaching forced my hand. I’d used our online interface to post lectures, collect assignments, record grades, …

Mar 18, 2020
By Michael Rupured

Coronagedden

Long before corona arrived, Pandemic, a documentary series on Netflix, scared me so much I quit watching. According to the experts, a pandemic outbreak at some point is inevitable. Now we’re living it. Bad as the Covid19 outbreak is, we got off lucky. Some who get it will die, but the novel corona virus isn’t nearly as lethal as Ebola, HIV (untreated), or smallpox. Many who’ve tested positive have no symptoms at all. I’m not trying to minimize the threat — just saying things could be a lot worse. I took off work starting 3/7 for Spring Break, before things got real. Other than outings early in my stay-cation, I’ve been sheltering in place ever since. Classes were suspended for …

Dec 04, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Teaching Evaluations

Teaching Evaluations

Classes end this week. Finals are next week. Another semester is drawing to a close. How did I do? I’m optimistic, but the summary of my teaching evaluations won’t be available for a few more weeks. Figuring out what to teach, the order of the topics, and how much time to devote to each took two semesters. Aside from a few tweaks here and there, that’s all settled. My goal for this semester — my third teaching the same class — was to be more interactive. Ages ago a couple of county extension agents got real with me about the shortcomings of the programs I developed. They explained the need to add activities, games, and videos to make programs easier …

Oct 16, 2019
By Michael Rupured

Countdown to Retirement

An udate and a surprising turn of event with….

Sep 25, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Hitting My Stride

Hitting My Stride

I’ve devoted more than half of my life to developing consumer education resources and providing training to teachers, county extension agents, and community educators. I do the occasional presentation for the pubic, but my audience is primarily professional educators. Or was. Last year, I agreed to teach a one-credit overview of Family and Consumer Sciences for freshmen and transfer students. Reagan was in the Whitehouse when I last taught in the classroom. In truth, very little teaching was involved. Mostly I arranged for guest speakers from across the college. After that experience, my department head asked if I could teach a 3-credit basic consumer course. I said I would, but only if I could keep teaching it. Putting a class …

Aug 14, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Third Time is the Charm

Third Time is the Charm

School starts back at UGA today. My class meets for the first time tomorrow. Having taught the same course twice before, I’m ready. My first time teaching the class was a hot mess. My biggest mistake was to follow the textbook, chapter and verse. Some of the content I hadn’t seen since my own college days. Creating tests was a challenge too — questions that looked straightforward to me were confusing to students. Lessons were learned. Things went much better the second time. I devoted an extra class session for some topics, combined others into one session, and added a few new topics. Test questions were less confusing too. Student evaluations of my teaching were very positive. My biggest shortcoming …

Jun 27, 2019
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Staycationing

Staycationing

I’m fortunate to have a job with paid sick leave and vacation days. We can accumulate unlimited sick leave, but vacation time has to be used within a given period. Some coworkers lose days every year. Not me. Forfeiting paid days off is against my religion. Nobody does my job when I’m out, so long breaks often make me sorry I took off. Using vacation days throughout the year around weekends and holidays works better. Teaching duties limited my ability to take off as much as usual, resulting in vacation days I need to use. Campus is practically deserted this time of year. The last week of June and the first week of July are a good time to take …