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Friday, February 28, 2014

Bloom Where You're Planted*

I'm  nearly 54 and job-hunting again.

This is one time I envy those who are under 30 and doing this. They can move all over the country, especially if they're not married yet. Life's one big adventure, and they're on the "upward slope" (Robert Louis Stevenson, Songs of Travel). There are times I wish I was 30 again, and no doubt it would have been a different big adventure.

I've applied to nearly 30 positions and received two interviews--both at local small Catholic colleges.  One interview lasted all of 10 minutes, and the other at least had the courtesy to ask all of the questions on her sheet.  No offers yet, but I'm getting turned away from better and better positions.

I still have 25+ applications outstanding, but I'm finding that if I don't hear within a week of submission, I'm not going to hear in a positive way. Still I press on, for me, for my family, in praise of the One who made me.  Onward.


*--Royce Robinson, Big Kids, Big Plans, 2009.

This is me and a bit of my work.
LinkedIn profile
STEM for all Scouts website
LibGuide, Bridges and Earthquakes
LibGuide, Research in Education
Essay: Knowledge vs. Understanding

Day in the Life*, part 4

I haven't done a blog post that was strictly about library work for a while, so I think I'll do "Day in the Life" again.

755am: walked in, sat down, ate my breakfast and scanned the Inquirer and the Times Herald, daily newspapers from Philadelphia and Norristown, respectively.  The BK next door, which I've written up for poor customer service service on several occasions, forgot to salt the hash browns.  It's little things like that that make me pine for my days at Country Kitchen.

I check my "Intranet" email and my yahoo email and discover that there are new PD opportunities. Made a mental note to check them later.

9 am: I'm working the paging list and ran into a few problems with copies of materials that weren't there.  A lot of YA fiction going out today. I also do a "selfie" (self check-out) of a cookbook I ordered and a movie my daughter requested.

10am: First patron comes in to return books.  It's snowing surprisingly hard, even for February.  According to the weather talking heads, it's not supposed to amount to more than an inch and be done by noon.  I'm not so sure, judging from the front row seat I have.

Sorry, it's 920 on Friday the 28th--forgot to finish the post, but truthfully, there's not much to report. Afternoons here have become deadly dull. Onward.

That's the way it was, and we died from it, AND WE LIKED IT! Introduction.

I've decided today to give bouquets and brickbats on customer service.  Not just for the library but in other arenas as well.  I'll name companies but not individual employees (I generally save that for my missives to the company in question).

Today's bad customer service experience was at Wawa in East Vincent Township, Chester County.  I stop there for gas or lunch or breakfast on occasion.  Often I get the overly chummy, chatty female cashier, when what I really want to do is get what I came for and get going again.  This morning was especially egregious, in my estimation.  I picked up a box of half-price donuts for my colleagues at the library, coffee and a sandwich for me, and went to the cashier station.

Cashier: "Hi"
Me: "hi"
Cashier: "Do you want a bag?"
Me: "please"
Cashier: "That's going to cost you one donut"

I was not in the mood to kid around.  I waited a good ten seconds for her to proceed with my order, but when it became clear she wasn't going to continue without a response from me, I looked her square in the eye, glared, and said "May I move on, please?". She did, I completed my purchase, and went on with my day.

My mind was filled with unkind thoughts as I left the store (like saying to her, "from the looks of things, that's worked on other customers"--but I still struggle with my weight) but held my tongue. I swear, I wonder if I have undiagnosed Aspberger's syndrome.  I get so impatient with people making lame jokes.

Well, that's the way it was, and I didn't like it--I was annoyed by it.  Onward...

*--Dana Carvey, as a cast member of NBC's Saturday Night Live, had a recurring character on Weekend Update called "the cranky old man" who would rant about nutrition, education, safety issues, and the like.  I don't know ANYONE who does that, do you?

Friday, February 7, 2014

You Should Be Dancing*

Observation:  in the 1950's-1970's, it was the baton twirlers' mothers.  In the 1980's-2010's, it was the baton twirlers mothers wondering why  the band suddenly didn't need twirlers any more.  Those who figured it out became drum corp auxiliary (flags and rifles) mothers when their girls joined the corps.  Today it seems to be the Dance Moms (title in italics because of that vile show on Lifetime) who are giving arts teachers fits.They all seem to fit a pattern of behavior and attitude which will destroy even the best-laid arts education program in a New York minute.

POSIT: School arts programs exist to, among other things, provide creative outlets of various kinds to students, an introduction to careers for those interested in going that direction, and information to all students on the fundamentals of particular art forms--not necessarily in that order.  Further, local, state, and national organizations have created standards and/or best practices with the intention of providing a curricular basis.

For example, NAfME (National Association for Music Education, formerly MENC--Music Educators National Conference) has a list of nine such standards. To wit:

1. Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
2. Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
3. Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments.
4. Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.
5. Reading and notating music.
6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.
7. Evaluating music and music performances.
8. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.
9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture.

This doesn't include competition standards and it doesn't ask the music educator to value or emphasize one type of music over another. This broad set of standards allows for teachers to be uniquely creative, to draw upon their own strengths and knowledge to enrich their student's knowledge and experience base.  One could even substitute the word "dance" or "choreography" in many of these standards, and chances are good that you'd be able to come up with a pretty strong curriculum if you did.  Then again, I'm not the dance education expert--but wouldn't you know, there's a group who is.

NDEO, the National Dance Education Organization, has developed its own philosophy of what dance instruction should look like at various levels, and has coordinated with NAfME and other arts education organizations  to create coordinated national standards for arts education.

I think it would pay for any parent whose child is involved in a K-12 school arts program (and an alarming number are not) to investigate these standards and decide for themselves whether or not their child's school arts program lives up to these standards.  To the extent that they do not, both organizations offer myriad ways in which the concerned parent might positively advocate on their child's behalf. 


*--Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb, Children of the World, 1976.