Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Signs of Progress

I got tired yesterday while judging Moot Court at the law school. This isn’t that surprising, as Moot Court is from 6:30 to 9:30 at night. What was surprising and pleasing is that it was a regular get-tired-gradually event instead of the more usual where I feel fine and then, in an instant, am so completely used up that I can hardly hold my head up any longer. This is another sign progress and it feels good. Of course, along the way, I lost the ability to add up the scores in my head, but hey, that seems a small cost.

At the moot court arguments, one young man hadn’t fully considered the implications of his position, and by the end of his time, had agreed that a high school, to maintain order and discipline could punish a student for writing a letter to the editor, speaking to a reporter, posting flyers at a grocery store or writing in his blog about his objections to the actions of school administrators and urging others to speak out against them. Oops. It was a textbook example of not knowing how to stop and concede a point before it got out of hand. If he’d agreed that there were limits and that some of those actions would be truly beyond the pale, and then distinguished between those acts and the issue before us, he’d have been ever so much better off. Why is it so hard for us to concede valid points of others?

In another happy surprise, when combined into one file, all the bits and pieces gathered together of this book manuscript I’m working on total up to more than I’d understood was there. The total is not very good, it doesn’t hang together, the structure isn’t right and I’m not sure how to fix any of that, but there’s more to work with than I knew. My new scheduling approach has so far actually yielded two full days of work on the project, and it’s amazing what concentrated thought and plain old application of seat of the pants to seat of the chair can produce. My goal is to plot out a list of topics in a work plan so that I could work 30-45 minutes each day in a steady rhythm, rather than trusting that full days will continue to be available. A recent series of columns on dissertation writing at have persuaded me that I need a daily writing routine, so that’s what comes next.

Does anyone have a great way of managing their files on their computer? Mine are running amok. I’m pretty organized and try to stay on top of these things, but yesterday’s excavation of all the book bits and pieces I have in so many different files (all in the same folder, though) was truly dispiriting. There has to be a better way to do this. What am I missing? Any and all insights, suggestion and advice welcome.

I’ve been reading books on teaching lately and love Teaching What You Don’t Know by Therese Huston. That, along with a book on Self-Deception, are providing interesting food for thought. More on that later, after I finish digesting and mullling.

We’re thinking of Ernie today, on the fourth anniversary of his death, as well as sending our profound thanks to all our veterans.

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