On a Roll

OK, so I am working hard preparing for the onslaught of student summer finals.  I am tired.  I am busy.  And, I am not following some of the common advice I occasionally toss around – toss as in like a bad salad.

I was making note of student performance curves in several classes.  Once again, the data clearly supported a student success metric of interest.  Avoiding grading papers, a practice I have mastered, I begin a quest to tie in student performance to another variable.  I look at the clock – shit.  There went two hours.

Sometimes I wonder if I am qualified to teach students about sound business practices…  At least when it comes to executing on tasks you are trying hard to avoid… But then, I am an expert at it…

So, enough.  I may as well go see what Trump tweeted today…  I am on a roll.

“Reality” Entertainment?

It is the political season.  And, once again, the script calls for a never ending battle fought on multiple levels.  The political process to elect our next president is propagated by streams of hot air arriving from the usual sources (suspects).  I observe, not too keenly, that youth is playing a larger role in all of this “stuff” – or so it seems.

Of course, what we read, hear, and see is produced by someone with an agenda, hidden or otherwise.  What is clear, talking heads and pundits are all suggesting that “youth” is more engaged and interested than usual.  This speculation borders on the perverse but is, nonetheless, of personal interest insomuch as I am around young folks nearly every working day.  I refer to them as students, but I love them like family.

So I ask them about the presidential election.  And, most confirm the notion that this political season has peaked their interest.  When asked why, student answers vary a bit.  But, when aggragated and rolled up into a neat pile of personal selective perception on my part – my generic thesis is confirmed.

It is all about entertainment.  And, they are right.  I love them so.

Tax Time

OK, I pay my fair share of taxes, and it is likely most folks do too.  The biggies – Federal, State, Social Security, Medicare, Sales Tax, Property Tax, Gasoline Tax (70+ cents / gallon), and a host of utility / community taxes too many to mention.  It does indeed add up – even in unseen places.

For example, of course, we pay more, much more, for many products due to antiquated economic policy “designed” to “protect us” from a flood of less expensive global goods and services.  Gosh, a big thank you to all of the special interest groups looking out for us consumers!  We do work hard to maximize our buying power by seeking value in the marketplace.  I’ll take another big helping of excessive import taxes / tariffs, thank you!

It is with this frame of reference and understanding that I now begin to complete my tax return.  I am optimistic.  I am rather certain that my hard-earned income will result in a sizable tax obligation.  I am equally certain that my tax contribution will help fund all of the necessary parts of a large complex structure of important government systems and associated civil processes that are the United States of America.

I may be ranting here, but I would not trade for or bet my way of life on some other “system” – nope.  By nearly all measurements, we have it pretty good – and the signs bearing out this reality are everywhere.  You may not have to work long and hard to come to this conclusion, but you do have to work harder and longer to pay the increasing burden of taxation to support the dream.

I know what I want for Christmas this year.  I want Uncle Sam to provide us the ability to allocate our taxes contributions.  No, not all 100% of our tax bills, but how about some nice percentage – say 25%.  Change the Tax Code to provide a checklist of services and programs and their annual cost.  Allow me to designate / target 25% of my taxes to areas that I want to support.  That would be nice.  Not going to happen (except the $3 for presidential runs), which is another whole story.  It worked, but no one uses it anymore.  Do some research about how all that came about – and how it is ending…

OK, Turbo Tax Premium, here I come.

Politics

You just can’t make this stuff up.  You could try, and we do sometimes…  Mexicans, Muslims, and now the Pope.  Will we run out of material for Act II?   Who knows.  Certainly, not the talking heads…  They still get paid…  Not a bad gig.

An interesting quote worthy of  a few moments of brain cell activity:  “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” ~ William Pitt the Younger

OK.  Opportunity knocks…

 

 

Sleep Deprivation – No Longer a Badge of Honor

Dunno where I have been this last month…

Generally, it is rare for a student to go to sleep during a class of mine, but it does occasionally happen.  I don’t wake them up – intentionally…  While I used to be offended by what some may have suggested was a lecture-induced coma, my experience and a robust and increasing body of research suggests otherwise.

From general cognition, memory, attention span, and host of other executive cognition processes, the lack of sleep is king.  I have begun to randomingly “verbally” poll students with no particular desire to record data.  They just don’t appear to sleep much, and when they do, it is binge sleep.  I wonder.  Students are always telling me how anxious and stressed they are – often self-described as a crushing stress that impairs their learning and their quality of life.

I am perplexed.  Back in the day, one wore the all-nighter like a badge of honor. Not so much now, or so it is my perception at the moment.  Honestly, I am not sure how it is perceived by the young college student.  I need to ask.

I also need to reassess my role in this – if there is one.

Perspective

So, grading college level work is a time-consuming and, sometimes, arduous process.  Notwithstanding that no-brainer observation, I always learn something new, something interesting, or have some void filled.  All good stuff.

When reviewing some recent student journal entries today, I read one particular submission that was, if I may say it, simply “awesome” (somehow, nowadays, I have an inherent aversion to that word…).  Anywho, and back on task, the essence of the moving journal entry went something like this;

“I am so busy taking care of myself and my daughter, that I do not have time to cry…”

Wow.  My heart ached.