blog, Writing

Spring Semester 2019

I’ve not paid much attention to my blog of late because I’ve been paying attention to my students. We are about 5 weeks into the semester here, and I’m still trying to get my bearings. However, even though I feel like I am trying to catch a speeding train, I’m having fun.

Funny how that works.

I am teaching a Strategic Communications course, and I love it. The course is geared towards young advertisers, public relations students, and marketers, and it is about studying, pitching, and writing narratives for various products, events, or ideas. The writing style, though, is different. It’s a different kind of storytelling, one that focuses on understanding the nature of branding and people’s response to brands. I’ve never taught a class like this before, but it is shaping up to be the most fun class of the semester.

My other two classes are Technical Writing for Engineers and a general education Rhetoric and Writing course. Tech Writing is always fun and challenging to teach because how do you make writing Usability Reports fun? It’s doable. You just have to be a little crazy.

The gen ed writing course is the one that I have the most experience teaching, and it is proving to be the most challenging. The main reason is that it is a required course. Most students don’t want to be there, and it shows. Since I don’t want to be one of those teachers who lecture, oblivious to their student’s engagement, I’m having to do a bit more work to get the students involved in their own experience.

Trials of a teacher…

How is your year going so far?

-K

blog, Uncategorized, Writing

It’s A New Semester

…And so far, things are going great. I could not sleep at all, so I am operating on less than 3 hours of sleep. I get to class and realize I have no dry-erase markers (ladies and gentlemen, the professor is unprepared for class!), so I run to the store to get some. Then, I get to class, and bring up my Canvas course page and — dun, dun, dun — it’s empty. I put all of the right content in the wrong class. I spent all week doing the wrong thing.

—sigh—

In any case, I have four classes I am teaching — two writing for engineers courses, one strategic communications (writing in advertising and public relations) course, and one traditional rhetoric, research, and writing course. I am excited about all of these course in their own way, but I am most excited about the strategic communications course because it is new. While I have done a bit of freelance copywriting (not much to write home about), it will be interesting to see what I can bring to this course and what I can learn from teaching it.

Onward and forward,

-K

blog

Do You Ask Questions During Your Job Interview?

I have a job interview today for an instructor position at a great university in a great location. In my preparations for the job, I have been trying to anticipate the types of questions the interviewers would ask, and fortunately, it is not too difficult to find a variety of interview questions via a quick Google search. From there, it is not too difficult to get a sense of the kind of questions that interviewers will ask.

While doing my Google search, I started thinking about the tone of a job interview. Interviewees can absolutely set the tone of an interview. In fact, they should. Interviewees should always want to give the impression that he or she wants to actively participate in their working environment. Participating in an interview means anticipating the interview questions and asking questions about the culture of the workplace.

At the end of every interview, there is always that moment when the interviewee has the opportunity to ask questions of their prospective employer. Too many interviewees let the moment pass without asking any questions, and that is not a good idea.

A job is where we will spend a good portion of our day. It is a good idea to know a bit about the company environment before accepting the position. Knowing what questions to ask are important, so while prepping for a job interview, job candidates should take some time to think about what questions they need to ask of the interviewer. These questions can range from how companies evaluate and measure success to what type of challenges a new hire might face.

Here are some of my favorite sites and articles that give great tips and sample questions that interviewees can use:

While there is some overlap in the questions that each article recommends, they all offer great insight into why these questions can help the interviewee know if their prospective employer is a good fit.

In any case, take the time to prepare for the job interview and, most importantly, prepare for the place you are going to spend a good deal of time. Make sure it is somewhere you want to be.

-K

blog

Word of the Day: Consequential

I voted today.

You should too.

You should vote because democracies live or die by the participatory actions or inactions of the citizens that live in those societies. While it is true that inaction is a fundamental right in democracies, it is an ill-advised course. Consequences rain down from the sky, and it is not a matter of doing or not doing; consequences will always show up.

I’m reminded of a student in one of my classes who once said that Jesse Jackson was “basic.” It was such an appalling thing to say because, as a Black American male youth, Jesse Jackson took a lot of physical and psychological abuse just for that Black American male youth to be able to sit in that college classroom or even walk across that college campus.

We need to understand that what we have today, especially as Black Americans, did not come without great sacrifice. Even before Black Americans were able to get a drink of water at a public fountain, someone had to get beaten and arrested for the privilege.

In order to maintain the progress we have made, we need to vote. Voting in America is a constitutional right, but that does not mean it is a given. It can be taken away, especially if we don’t use it and especially when we are not looking. Purging people from voter registration is just one way to go about it.

I’ve heard some say that the two-party system is one-and-the-same, that neoliberalism has corrupted the very foundation of democracy. To those people, I would say, “Yes, but one reason that neoliberalism has gained such a foothold is that people don’t vote; they don’t participate in their own experience.”

Some people would say that gerrymandering and voter suppression keeps people from voting. To those people, I would say, “Yes, but one of the reasons politicians have been able to create these circumstances is because people decided not to vote.”

During the last midterm election, we had the worst voter turnout in 70 years. If you are angry with how things are today, think back to your voter participation in 2014. Actions or inactions always have consequences.

During the recent presidential election, 46% of the eligible voting public did not vote. Actions or inactions always have consequences.

Democracies are synonymous with life. Say that you dream of being a doctor. You can dream of living the life of a doctor all day long, but if you are dreaming from your couch, that dream will never manifest. You actually have to get up and put in the work. In the glorious words of Outkast, “get up, get out, and get something.”

We cannot hashtag our way to equity, equality, freedom, and liberty. We cannot boycott our way to safe schools, churches, and synagogues. We cannot protest our way to coverage of pre-existing conditions. We actually have to exercise the mightiest power that any citizen of a democracy has; the power of the vote.

Inaction is what the status quo needs to remain in place. Further, and this is so important, so read this carefully, if you don’t like the shape of your experience in this country, then vote out the people who have created and maintained that shape.

If you do not participate in your own experience then you are directly contributing to your own degradation, ya’ll, go vote.

Participating is always a consequential action.

Go vote.

-K