Something incredible happened…

So, we had our first stats exam on Thursday night. I went in to see my professor on Thursday morning and felt strangely calm, like I kind of knew what I was doing. I was still nervous though.

I took the exam, and finished first. This happens to me with every exam. I don’t know why, I’m just always the first to finish. I took my time and checked and rechecked my answers, but I still finished first. I was tempted to feel good about the test but I didn’t want to be over confident.

Our professor had told us he would try to get us our grades Friday but if not it would be Monday. I waited for them on Friday until getting the email that he would send them on Monday. So I was in for a long weekend.

I did some homework and went to study group, which was challenging since I brought all three children

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I made a collage of them during their best moments…

This morning, our professor sent this email:

Dr K exam email

I was caring for a sick baby and so I dictated a response to Siri and sent it. Later I noticed that instead of “Dr. K.” I had addressed him as “Dr. Kay.”

I waited for a while and hit refresh on my email ever 6 seconds for what seemed like forever.

Then I got this:

Dr K 2

So, while I may have looked stupid getting his name wrong, I did get some pretty good news.

 

Maybe I will pass after all :-)

I’m scared of failing stats…

I know I said I wouldn’t blog much this month, but I felt like I should at least have some company in my pity party.

Stats is bringing back all kinds of childhood inadequacies. I was bad at math. Really bad. And I tried to learn. But I guess I didn’t. So here I am at age 40 feeling that same frustration again. I feel like no matter how hard I try, I just don’t have the ability to understand it.

I feel worried that I will fail. If I fail, I’m done. No doctorate for me.

So I’m sitting here crying and trying to snap out of it because crying about it doesn’t help anything. But I have all these kids and this job and money problems and now I’m 10 years old again failing at math.

 

I have issues.

Stats!

Well I’m in the midst of the Summer II 2014 Insane Challenge (or whatever I’m calling it). Stats is as hard as I thought it would be. I’m also taking another class and trying really hard not to let Stats overshadow it.

To be fair, I do have moments in stats that I enjoy. I have light bulb moments. Aha moments. Those are great moments. I also sometimes want to pull my hair out.

 

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What the heck is that ^^^?

One of the things that messes me up the most is when people in class ask questions. That shouldn’t bother me, but I feel like I have a very tenuous grasp on the material, and then they ask questions and I get confused and my tenuous grasp is gone….

I have to admit I’ve been seriously wondering if I can do this. The odds are against me. But I am going to continue to do my best. Failing this class is really not an option.

Here’s a picture our professor took of us at the beginning of class Thursday night. He says it’s his first ever all female stats class, so he wanted to take a picture. That’s a topic for another day….

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I’m the one in the Superman shirt. (I almost said, “I’m the one in blue” just to mess with you…)

Random Things

I’m finding myself feeling the need to express myself on Facebook or Twitter, but I need more than 140 characters to say it…

Stats: So, I started my Applied Statistics I class last night. I actually was so worried about it I gave myself a migraine so I left work early to go home and take a 30 minute stress nap before class. You know what? It was not so bad. Now, I don’t want to get overconfident, but I felt good about class by the end of it. I felt like I may actually be able to do this. If I make it through this class, I will have crossed a big hurdle towards finishing the doctorate.

Dreams: I have been having some weird dreams. Sometimes they involve going to Starbucks. Sometimes they involve eating anything I want and a bunch of it, then I wake up in a panic thinking I actually ate all that food, but thankfully I didn’t. I had a dream I finally went to buy new running shoes. This is kind of a joke with me: The last time I bought new running shoes was December of 2009. I have had 2 children since then. It’s ridiculous and a good thing I’m not running much right now.

Training: Since I am incredibly busy this month my training has been altered. Basically, my calories are lower and my workouts are shorter. I’m doing better. I figured since I already have a huge goal to finish 6 hours of class successfully this month, while working and keeping the kids alive, I might as well add “Lose 5 pounds” to that goal.

Sleep: I’m thankful for the training my children gave me on how to function on very little sleep, because it looks like I won’t be doing much this month. Mondays: Work until 10:00 pm. When I get home it always takes a few minutes to get ready for bed and wind down, so I’m usually asleep at around 11:30. Then Tuesday I wake up at 5:30 and work and go to class until 9:30 ish. Then Wednesday I wake up at 5:30 and work and then parent. Thursday: Class until 9:30 ish. Friday: Drag my butt reluctantly out of bed sometime before 6:30. So, I may get a little sleep on the weekends. I just keep telling myself you can do anything for a month.

Remember the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness”? I feel like I need to watch it again. This guy had SO MANY obstacles. Everything was crazy. But he didn’t give up. And (spoiler alert) in the end he gets the job. He is victorious. It was all worth it.

That’s what I keep telling myself it will be like when I finish my degree. All the work will be worth it when they announce “Dr. Brown” at graduation.

And so on I go…

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I guess I’ll see y’all sometime in August

I have done a very disappointing job of blogging lately, and I don’t see it getting better anytime soon. I start taking 6 hours of doctoral classes on July 7. One of these classes is Applied Statistics I. I am terrified. It meets 6:00 – 9:45 PM twice a week. Adding that to my 1:00 – 10:00 shift once a week, that means three nights a week I’ll get home after 10:00. This is rough for someone who gets up at 5:00.

I have already arranged to take 2 Fridays off to “catch up” because I know I will need it.

I also agreed to sub 3 out of 4 Sundays as a church musician. Because why not? I’m already busy…. (The 4th Sunday I work at the library).

The only thing I can do is tell myself to put my head down and just go. I’m imagining being outside in a storm and just putting my hood on and walking into the wind because eventually I’ll get indoors.

So I’ll see y’all sometime after August 7, when my classes will be over, and if everything goes the way it’s supposed to, I’ll have 18 hours of doctoral classes and my degree plan filed.

Bye!

Teaching

In my former life, what seems like a million years ago, I was a piano teacher. That was my primary job in college. I was a music major training in piano performance so it was a given.

I actually used to make my living accompanying, but the thing is, I married a musician, and I got tired of neither of us having stability. So after spending way too much in student loans on a PhD I didn’t finish (while making money accompanying), I went back for even *more* school to become a librarian.

Since I’ve had kids, I haven’t had much chance to play piano at all. I miss musical theatre and the friends I had there. I have considered teaching to make some extra money, but there is no time with all that I do. So, I often consider myself someone who *used to* play piano.

Last week, for some strange reason, I decided to touch a piano again. I sightread some Elton John, and played an old 10,000 maniacs tune I taught myself in high school.

I proudly announced on Facebook, “Hey I guess I remember how to play piano…” and one of my former students, who is all grown up now and a teacher herself, commented (word for word):

If you were able to teach me… You could never forget how! You probably don’t remember, but I recall you playing a song for me so I could hear what it ought to sound like. When someone peeped in the door afterward, you pretended I played it and praised my abilities. Best piano teacher ever.

I tell you. I cried a little reading that.

It made me think. Here I am, still teaching, just not teaching piano. I know that when I have a one-shot session class, we probably don’t mind like I did with that student. But I hope I’m making a difference, in some small way, for at least someone.

Rubrics and Stuff: I’m stuck

Ok, bear with me here while I talk about my research.

I decided a few weeks ago that I want to look at Information Literacy Assessment for my doctoral research. I decided to take a previous study (which used the old ACRL Standards as criteria for assessment) and update it using the new ACRL Framework for Information Literacy.

To do that, I have to create “desired learning outcomes” for each of the threshold concepts.

So, what are the threshold concepts?

1. Scholarship is a conversation

2. Research as inquiry

3. Authority is constructed and contextual

4. Format as process

5. Searching as exploration

6. Information has value*

Each of these threshold concepts can be “mastered” (may or may not be the right word) in stages. The vocabulary of the Framework even says “Learners who are developing their information literate abilities” rather than “the information literate student”, implying that there is not a point where the student “arrives”, but that it is an ongoing process.

So, how would we use a rubric to assess this? I found this description that really simplified it for me:

RubricSo, I need to decide what the criteria are to see if students are progressing on the threshold concept. Here’s what I have for the first concept, Scholarship is a Conversation:

Desired learning outcome: Students will be able to contribute, and understand the significance of their contribution, to the scholarly conversation on a particular topic at the appropriate level, and understand the contributions of others.

Now, how does that become a rubric??? Because I’m stuck there…

The first step on all of this is to come up with desired learning outcomes. This is important to do as an instructor. I mean, my title is officially “Information Literacy Librarian”, so hopefully I’m working towards that for all students. But the desired learning outcomes have to be measurable in order to be assessible (is that a word? Able to be assessed?). We have to use desired learning outcomes, and since the standards have been updated, I really want to use the Framework.

This is me stuck. I think I need to take a break.

*The final threshold concept was just released this week, and of course I went complete insane with excitement like the nerd I am.