March 2010


I had only one incidence of cheating this semester, thank goodness. However, I’m still interested in the subject. Without trying to be a goody-goody, I don’t think I’ve ever cheated on anything in my life.

I read this article today discussing cheating. The author is absolutely correct that there isn’t much of a policy at many schools; it’s frustrating to be a lone fighter in anything. You end up being the bad guy, regardless of whether you did the right thing.

Although I agree cheating really shows through on the exams, I don’t agree with taking a casual attitude towards it. I know personally that homework can save your grade and that some people understand things but don’t do well on the exam. And then, what about classes without exams, such as English classes? I’m not for an immediate failure for small infractions (I’ve been told that foreign students often don’t understand what plagiarism is), but I think something should be done.

In many ways, the policy where I teach makes the most sense. Your cheating activities are documented in an office so the dean knows where to go with the offenses. The policy is pretty cut and dry. Zero on the first offense, failing the class for the second, getting kicked out on the third, regardless of the year it happens. I think it’s great. Of course, it means that professors have to be pro-active (not sure how that can happen), but at least it exists and many of the professors here need to be pro-active towards catching cheaters.

I hope universities and colleges take cheating more seriously than they have, but I’m doubtful. Cheating isn’t anything new, it’s just getting easier.

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I feel very lucky to have a job. I feel even luckier to have job I enjoy. Granted, I don’t enjoy every day. Teaching is difficult, because- well, I’m a rookie, and I think students are always students. We have cheating issues, deal with motivating the students to come class and do work, etc.

Every year, the school has a technology competition where student and faculty teams participate in a few events. This year they put together circuits, built little cars, and had built bridges prior to today that were supposed to hold lots of weight. Very cool things. Today was one of those days I realize how great my job is. Environment is HUGE factor for me when it comes to work. I’ve had very boring jobs that I adored because of the people and jobs that were identical that were awful because of the people. The environment I work in now is very good, particularly today. The energy was fantastic; the students were genuinely excited to be there, as were staff.

And it was all voluntary. I had offered my students a bit of extra credit if they participated. The ones who did follow through did well; they won one of the competitions and put their all into it. The staff was there by choice as well. I chose to be a judge rather than a competitor. I feel like it was a good decision. Competing looked fun, but I really loved taking in the amazing interaction and seeing the teamwork, as well as the students who came to watch. The community is truly wonderful, considering that the school offers mostly 2 year degrees and is highly commuter.

I hope to stay involved with the school in some capacity as long as I’m in Boston. As I was telling my SO, I know they aren’t perfect, but they seem to do a lot of things right.

Najmat is hosting Diana Tarkan, an Egyptian dancer, in at Green St. Dance Studio in Cambridge. This event is happening on April 3, from 3-6:30 PM. Cost is $65.

I don’t know much about Diana Tarkan, but I hear that she is an amazing instructor.

I’ve been in a list making mood lately. When I get busy and a bit stressed, it happens. I’ve been compiling a list of items that I want for dance. They include

  • New half circle veils in both silk and organza
  • Fan veils (stalking to see when they come in colors I like)
  • Dance shoes of some sort; I haven’t found a pair I like enough
  • Suhaila pants
  • LRose trumpet skirt
  • “Workhorse” bedleh in gold or silver that isn’t too overwhelming with swag
  • Eye Kandy, though I’m not sure in what colors. I can’t seem to find a complete list of all the “Glitter Raks” colors, either.

What are you after right?

I received my financial aid package from School A. I received a fellowship that will cover tuition, provide basic health insurance, and include a $10k stipend for 4 years. I can’t really refuse that. I’m under the impression that the fellowship is a very good deal; my knowledge of non-science graduate degrees is slim, but from what I know, they are poorly funded.  School A is also a doctorate program, which also adds to why I should accept.

I’d be crazy not to accept School A, no?

I received an acceptance to a masters program (applied PhD). I’m assuming that I was rejected for the PhD program. This is disappointing, because I was especially interested in this program. I was competing for a small number of spots (limited solid number), competition including people who are masters students there already. The decision making process (I’m still waiting on the third application) is going to be a little difficult because of the following reasons.

  • I prefer the second school (calling it school B) to the first one (school A).
  • Whether it makes sense to try for admissions again next year. School A I can get a doctorate definitely; school B, not sure. I’d have to re-apply.
  • Money. I’m awaiting financial aid info for school A. School B has given about half tuition scholarship and there may be opportunities for other fin aid. Since school B would be a doctoral program, I can use the scholarship I used to fund my undergraduate and masters for that; for school A, I more than likely cannot.

Lots of big decisions to be made.

And I’m quite tired. I didn’t party hard or do anything miraculous; I just did an overnight medical study yesterday (I arrived on Wednesday and got out on Thursday during the evening). I like doing these things for two reasons: one, I make money, and two, I learn something. One of my educational- regrets, perhaps, is that I never took other science courses. Seeing how other fields run experiments and the issues that they encounter is very interesting. I’m not sure if everyone asks questions about the research/research process, since some of the folks working it are initially taken aback, but they all answer my questions and don’t seem to mind. While I didn’t do anything in the hospital but work on things on my computer (yay for free wifi), they did take about 2-3 12-mL syringes (the same ones I used in my research) four times yesterday.

When I came home, I watched part of the Ranya Renee Baladi DVD. I was anticipating making a post about it, with a review, but I fell asleep earlier than anticipated yesterday. It isn’t a comment on Ranya, though; I ended up staying up an extra hour than I really should have because of the DVD. The short, Twitter-esque review? Get it! Ranya is very charming on the DVD from what I’ve seen. She gives a lot of information about beledi music and has live musicians demonstrate what she is discussing. I managed to get through her whole discussion of posture (it’s very funny and helpful) before I called it quits.

This DVD is an excellent value, considering it’s 2-discs. I look forward to writing a better review of this, but for now, I strongly advocate those who are interested in learning about this part of Egyptian dance to go buy it.

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