All posts filed under: Educatin’

Shoe-photo

Throwback Thursday: Barefoot in the Faculty Lounge

The college semester is starting up again although I lucked out with an extra week of prep time thanks to Martin Luther King Day.  Here’s a throwback post for all of my professorial friends (of both the adjunct and non-adjunct variety). In my infinite wisdom, I decided to wear my (fake) snakeskin peep toe stilettos this morning. Why? Well, I was teaching my first summer class of the semester. And my experience with summer semesters is that the students don’t really want to be there, even less so than regular-semester students. As such, I decided to head them off at the pass with my very best power suit (to show them that I mean business), and orange juice and donuts (to show that I am nice and approachable and care about their well being). I teach in heels all the time. I like heels. They make me feel older and more put together than I actually am and usually, they’re not a problem. But I failed to take into account that this morning’s lecture, on …

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There’s No Such Thing as Race

As a professor of cultural anthropology, I’ve grown accustomed to my white students blaming their black classmates for their own failure to qualify for financial aid. Along these same lines, it saddens but never surprises me when they refer to the continent of Africa as a country. I’ve finally come to accept that for my students, travel abroad comes only in the form of military service. After all, I teach an intro level course at a community college; most students take my class in order to get out of taking a foreign language. What surprises me, year after year, is the number of students who deny the existence of racism while fully embracing the concept of race. Race is, to put it bluntly, a social construct. There is, in fact, no such thing and even though humans have, since the dawn of time, attempted to categorize their world accordingly, the fact remains that biogenetically distinct races do not exist. If you’ve never taken an anthropology class (and even if you have), this probably comes as …

feel-felt-found

Throwback Thursday: Feel, Felt, Found (or how to deal with difficult people)

I know, I know: you don’t care what books I’m reading.  Or what my house looks like.  Or how I feel about what my house looks like.  You want to know THE DEAL WITH THE FLOWERS.  WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?  WHO PUT THEM THERE??? And I will spill the beans soon, I promise.  But in the meantime, in honor of the new semester getting underway, here is a little Throwback Thursday post to tide you over: Recently I attended an in-service training day at the community college where I teach anthropology.  This is interesting because A) they brought in a corporate communication coach to talk to us about dealing with difficult people and B) I relayed the coach’s strategies to my mother. The coach didn’t say “dealing with difficult people” of course.  She said “acknowledging and addressing the needs of your students” (or something like that) and proceeded to explain a three-prong acknowledge-and-address approach: Step 1) “Feel” Step 2) “Felt” Step 3) “Found” Basically, when a student comes to you with a problem or …

CALIFORNICATION (Season 3)

The Pretty Hair Professor

As a freshman in college, I managed to talk my way into an upper level art history course taught by a visiting professor from Johns Hopkins University. He was gorgeous. Everyone thought so. I know this because I volunteered to collect the student evaluations at the end of the term and most of them said things like “hottie” and “super cute.” Not mine, of course—I was more dignified than that—and even though I agreed with my classmates, I was incredulous when I saw their comments. Fast forward ten (yes, ten!) years and I’m reading my own student evaluations now. Most were extremely complimentary this last time around and a few even contained phrases like, “my favorite professor,” and “I wish there were more anthropology classes” (to be perfectly honest, I got a little misty-eyed just reading them) but then… then there were the others. “The kid who sat next to me scared the crap out of me.” “Why is this class so late at night?” And finally, my personal favorite, “Professor Richter, your [sic] really …

June 2014 Recital 028

How to Bedazzle Tap Shoes

I have a new system. A new how-to-avoid-murdering-my-loan-officer system to be precise. (This morning I received an email requesting an “explanation of the non-employment deposit of $633.15” made into my bank account on April 8th. Non employment? Really? When a deposit of the same exact amount shows up every two weeks? My first thought was to go the Walter White route and tell them I’m cooking meth. My second thought was to tell them I’m a stripper and that I have some regular customers who tip me in nickels. Fortunately, I came to my senses and sent them a very polite email back instead explaining that yes actually, the deposit is employment related and to please let me know if they needed anything else.  Like you know a sample of my DNA, my eventual first born child, and quite possible some hair follicles while we’re at it.) But back to my new system. It turns out that applying rhinestones to tap shoes with a pair of tweezers is actually quite therapeutic. Especially if you’ve got …

Shoe-photo

Barefoot in the Faculty Lounge

In my infinite wisdom, I decided to wear my (fake) snakeskin peep toe stilettos this morning. Why? Well, I was teaching my first summer class of the semester. And my experience with summer semesters is that the students don’t really want to be there, even less so than regular-semester students. As such, I decided to head them off at the pass with my very best power suit (to show them that I mean business), and orange juice and donuts (to show that I am nice and approachable and care about their well being). I teach in heels all the time. I like heels. They make me feel older and more put together than I actually am and usually, they’re not a problem. But I failed to take into account that this morning’s lecture, on account of the condensed summer schedule, was a four hour lecture. Four hours and five minutes, to be precise. I also failed to predict that the computer would not be working, that the projector would be upside down (how does a …

Tap Class

The New Normal

I was just locking the studio, holding my travel mug and keys in one hand and my dance bag and box drum in the other, when the fifth grader teacher to whom I’d just said goodbye was back with her thirty charges in tow. “I need to talk to you, Miss Kat,” she called across the street. I figured someone had left their sweater.  I’ve been teaching in North Philly for three weeks now as part of my tap company’s first residency program and someone always leaves their sweater.  But this was clearly an emergency of the non-sweater variety. “Boys, stay right where you are,” she continued, “Girls, line up on the other side.” Once they were safely across the street and on the sidewalk, she made a beeline for the front door, stopping just inches in front of me.  “The school’s in lockdown,” she whispered.  “We can’t go back.  I need to get the kids to a safe place.” Lockdown? Like a school shooting sort of lockdown? Like the kind of thing you see …

GRE-Test-Prep-Books-Guide

(The) GREs (Are) for Dummies

In 2007, I went to a Jewish friend’s tree-trimming party, got slightly drunk, came home, slept for a few hours and took the GREs the next morning.  (For those of your reading from across the pond, GRE stands for Graduate Record Exam, the bane of my existence and the existence of all academically inclined 20-somethings across the country).  Suffice it say, my scores weren’t exactly off the charts.  But it didn’t matter: I ended up going to grad school in the UK where nobody cared about my ability to solve for X. 2007, unfortunately, was six years ago.  And GRE scores expire after five years. This means that I’ll be taking them again this fall. To say that I am “unhappy” about this would be an understatement.  To say that I am “angry” about this would also be an understatement.  I am, in fact, livid about this. And not just because I was stuck lugging my “GRE for Dummies” around the Bahamas, and not just because the darn test costs $180 before you tack on …