oxymoron67: (Default)
This will likely be friends-only in about a week.

A NSFW attempt to be romantic )
oxymoron67: (dino head)
I was turned down.

My grades are a little uneven. I'm guessing that's why.

I don't know.

I ALSO don't know what to do from here. Try to get into an MA program next year? Give up? I mean, I have a decent career.

Like I said, I don't know.
oxymoron67: (Default)
Turned in my grad school application!
oxymoron67: (Default)
Here is mine. Please read and give me feedback. (This is a second./third draft.) Also, I have a 32,000 character limit, which I am nowhere near. I am supposed to include my educational and job history and discuss what I want to specialize in and why and my qualifications.

so here it is. )
oxymoron67: (Default)
My application is almost finished: the essay is all that's left. Two of my three letters of recommendation have been submitted (the third is written and will be submitted soon); my transcripts are on order and I take the GRE on Sunday.

I could have the whole thing wrapped up by Thanksgiving.

But... nerves.

Part of me thinks I'm a no-brainer:

1) I have tenure. If they want proof that I am capable of functioning in the Academic environment, this is, perhaps, the ultimate measure of that.

2) 20+ conference presentations across the country.

3) I come with funding. Since I'd be attending grad school at a different college in my university, they wouldn't have to find funding for me.

4) They have mentioned that they encourage interdisciplinary work. This would work for me: combining Linguistics with either Public Policy or Urban Education.

But.., downsides

1) On the theoretical/applied scale, this Department of Linguistics is much more theoretical than what I do now. I have the background for this, back when I was a grad student in the French department, I did lots of theoretical coursework. This could affect my chances. I don't know.

2) No publications. My current position (non-instructional instruction staff) doesn't require it and, honestly, language/communication and technology.. you'd be surprised at how few publication option there are.

3) I've been out of the game for almost a decade. Yes, I work in Academia, but I work on the other side of the desk as it were. Returning as a student? Serious adjustment. Not just personally, but professionally. I'm working a full time job plus an extra class.

Well... who needs spare time?

I want this. For career purposes, I almost certainly need it to advance.

It's just... my experience in the French graduate program was less then optimal. Since I was the only grad student specializing in Linguistics in the department at the time, I was kind of left to my own devices. Which, in some respects, rocked: I took a lot of classes on a wide range of subjects.

BUT I also got no support from anyone. My advisor's "advice" frequently was "You know what we're offering. Find out what Linguistics and Spanish are offering and take whatever."

The only support from the French department that I ever had was when I decided to transfer.

In the end, this worked out. I ended up specializing in ESL, and landed a tenure track job a year after graduating (almost unheard of), whereas, a Ph D in French... yeah, not many jobs there.

Still, I wonder if it'll go sideways again, you know?
oxymoron67: (Default)
I'm doing it this time. (I meant to do it last year, but got hung up on the personal statement, and then the job interfered.)

I've already asked my boss for a letter of recommendation. I can't imagine he'd say no.

Still, I'm scared. For one thing, my grades were not the greatest. I mean they were good, especially when I went to the ESL area.

On the other hand, I already have a full-on career in Academia and the multi-page CV that comes with it. My CV is light on publications, but I have presented at over 20 conferences around the country, done committee work, participated in college wide initiatives and seminars and am in the process of putting a class online.

Not for nothing, I EARNED my tenure.

I just get nervous. I already screwed up the PhD thing the first time I tried. (Of course, THAT Ph. D. would have been in French, where there are no jobs right now AND the faculty there were not particularly supportive.

I mean, I want the PhD, for personal reasons as well as professional ones. Even if I don;t get a faculty position, a PhD would give me a $2500/year raise.

I'm doing it through CUNY so I won't have to pay, though I would only be a part time student. (Of course, working full time AND teaching a class... I'm not sure I'd want to take more than two classes.)

So, that;s where this stands.
oxymoron67: (Default)
It was a hot and absurdly humid Wednesday. The AC was malfunctioning in the Foreign Languages Building, where all my classes were, and I ended the day covered in sweat.

I went back to my dorm room and took a nap. When I woke up, I decided to shower, then go to supper.

I was in the shower, shampooing my hair and beard (hey, it keeps my beard soft and fluffy), when the alarm siren went off. At the same time, the dorm's intercom turned on:

"A tornado has been sighted in Champaign County, please relocate to the basement now!"

Never having been through this before, I panicked a little. I barely rinsed out my hair, ran into my room, threw on clothes, but no shoes and ran down to the basement. But first, I looked outside. The sky was this odd purple color; the wind was blowing furiously, and the lightning was flashing across the sky. I could see people outside running for cover. I opened the door for a few of them.

Between the sirens and the intercom system, I didn't really hear the thunder, though.

Honestly, I looked like ass: all dripping wet and disheveled. People assumed I was out in the storm until they saw that I was barefoot. The folks who were interrupted while having sex looked less disheveled than I did.

This particular tornado stayed in the southern part of the county, and did no damage where I was, which is just as well, because if it had hit where I was, since I was footwear-free, I would have been in trouble.

Tornadoes became part of my life after that. There were a few big ones, but you never forget the first one.
oxymoron67: (Default)
An friend's entry jogged a memory.

I grew up in the Pittsburgh area, which isn't exactly Tornado Alley. I'm not saying tornadoes never struck the area, but they were infrequent.

Then I moved to Champaign-Urbana, in east central Illinois, to attend grad school.

My first semester there, I didn't have any classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I spent afternoons at the Proust Archive, working on digitizing the information there (Yay for open source HTML coding! Most of which I haven;t used in forever!).

But the mornings were free.

One beautiful Tuesday morning in September, I had an errand to run about oh... financial aid and my tuition/service fee waiver. I was walking down this street, right by the Quad at around 10:00 am. The street was empty. Scary empty. Horror movie empty.

I had no idea why. I just figured that everyone was in class and assumed that that meant a shorter line for me when I got to the Financial Aid Office.

Then the siren went off. For two long, painful minutes, the emergency siren wailed. Where was the emergency siren? Why it was on the street where I was walking. It did deafen me for a few minutes and was quite painful to listen to.

After recovering my hearing, I staggered into the financial aid office, where I still must have looked stunned.

The woman helping me with my financial aid (which went extraordinarily smoothly, unlike my undergrad experience) looked at me and asked what was wrong.

I told her where I was and what happened and she started to laugh then explained it to me.

See, every Tuesday morning around 10am during Tornado season (i.e. not Winter), they do a practice run with the sirens to make sure they work. Everybody knows this, and avoids being on that street at that time.

I was flabbergasted. It never occurred to me that you'd have weekly drills about such things. It just struck me as odd. Of course, I understood why a few weeks later...

... but I have to go give a midterm now,so that story will have to wait for later.
oxymoron67: (Default)
Background: This particular friend and I went to grad school together. We stay in touch, talking about once or twice a month on the phone. She's a blast.

My friend and I were taking History of Language Acquisition Studies. (That wasn't the title, but it WAS the topic.) Every class, we had to read two or three articles, discuss them in out little groups, and then discuss our discussion with the class. Our professor would circulate from group to group: asking questions and gathering our opinions.

My friend's group consisted of her and the two hot guys from our grad program**. My group was myself, a woman from the Dominican Republic, two women from Brazil and another many who was writing his Master's Thesis on Discourse Analysis.* My group was loud and fun: we fought, we talked, we laughed. Meantime, my friend's group did what was required, but little else.

The groups never changed. My friend and I wondered what would happen if her group had merged with mine.

Her: We would have had more fun.
Me: Yup. But your group mates?
Her: We'd tell them to sit there.
Me: Absolutely, we'd do all the work.
Her: All they'd have to do is look good.
Me: And we'd tell them to wear really tight t-shirts.
Her: They wouldn't have liked that.
Me: No, they would have been upset.

*Discourse Analysis was one of the really cool research topics at the time. It may still be. I, personally, find that DA isn't cost effective. You put in an immense amount of work, and I've yet to see anything worth that much work come out of it.

**They were genuinely good looking and not in a "Well, look around the people in this program, the pickings here are slim" good-looking.
oxymoron67: (reading)
Okay, so I've decided to drop the language planning/policy option and instead focus on the language and technology option.


I was doing some linguistic theory reading and remembered one of the prevailing linguistic theories that has leaked into teaching:

On a strictly linguistic level, all dialects of a language are created equal. They all enable communication. Therefore, no one should teach speech or accent reduction, because non-standard varieties of a language are just as valid as the standard.

This, believe it or not, is the reason I have been given, on several occasions, that my college has no speech/public communication requirement. Never mind that 58% of our students are foreign born, and most of the rest are their children. All classes at my college are ESL classes: but the focus is on writing skills.

When I point out that our students need to have speaking skills, if only to do the interviews necessary to get the job, I am met with a repetition of "All dialects are equally valid.".

This fails to take sociolinguistic issues into account. As I tell my students, if they go into a job interview in a big company and they say "axe" instead of "ask" or "liberry" instead of "library", the HR people are going to think that they are stupid. Or criminals.

Many people say that this is true mostly for Ebonics speakers, but it is also the case for speakers of ANY non-standard English. Pittsburghese, with its "yunz" and "dahntahn" instead of "downtown" has the same effect. As does just about any Southern dialect.

So, rather than deal with that problem, I've decided instead to focus on technology and language acquisition. I can mention many things I've done at work, including ePortfolio and digital storytelling.

Now, I have a focus.

Makes sense?
oxymoron67: (Default)
So, here is the discussion of the personal statement on the grad center's Linguistics Dept. Webste:

Each candidate is asked to write a personal statement describing why he or she wishes admission to the graduate program. This statement should discuss problems and concepts that have interested the applicant and show how the applicant has thought about them, being as specific as possible. The personal statement provides the candidate an open-ended opportunity to convince the admissions committee that he or she has the required commitment to research. Although the committee understands that many candidates may be unprepared to define specific topics of interest, an expression of curiosity in some definable area of language is expected. It is in the personal statement that applicants may choose to explain any aspects of their personal or academic records that they think need clarification.

Oh.. in 32,000 characters.

I have no idea approximately how many words that is.

So, if we are talking research possibilities... I'd like to do something regarding language acquisition and technology or communication via technology. Or maybe language planning/policy issues.

Should I discuss both of them? Part of me thinks that I should... but detail is the issue here. For instance, with Language Planning/Policy, I could discuss how I co-wrote out Speech Assessment Rubric, and how that is changing (or not) the college's outlook on speaking skills.

In terms of language acquisition, I'd probably discuss something like digital stories: digital stories provide the student with practice in organizing materials for presentation but NOT actually giving a speech in front of class. I wonder if that makes it a useful tool for teaching speaking skills: digital stories as a helpful stop along the way to public speaking, as it were.

Does it sound like I'm on the right track here?
oxymoron67: (Default)
A friend's journal entry discussed Literary Theory and the Theory wars, and it reminded me of Linguistics.

In particular, it reminded me why I stay away from Lit Crit and much of the scholarship in Linguistics: it's unreadable. And, to my mind, an unreadable argument is an inherently weak one.


This all came to a head for me the semester I was teaching Freshman Comp and taking a course on Topics in Romance Language Syntax. Most of the articles were surprisingly readable: dense, but if the author is dealing with a complicated topic,some denseness is expected.

Then we had to read this article that made no sense to me whatsoever. It was about placement of movement of direct and indirect object pronouns. That's all I got out of it. It was thirty pages of blathering that resemble English. I mean, except for the examples, all the words were English.

The course itself was split into four broad topics, and we had to write reaction papers for one article from each topic. Alas, for the fourth topic, this was the only article.

I sat in front of my computer trying to figure out how I could stretch "I got nothing out of this paper because it was so poorly written" into 10 pages. I finally decided to critique it the way I'd critique a paper one of my composition students would hand in.

So, I criticized the paper's lack of organization, the crimes against English it perpetrated, and the fact that I could not make heads or tails out of it.

When I got the paper back, the only note written on it was "You missed the point."

Duh. My reaction was all about the fact that I missed the point. Frankly, I doubted that there was a point to miss, It has been my experience that when anyone deliberately writes in a style so unreadable, they're using it to mask bad or poorly thought out ideas.


oxymoron67: (Default)

October 2013

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