A small break in the frenetic pace of fall semester 2007 has allowed me a minute to add a thought or two. Today is a day I have no classes scheduled and no other scheduled obligations, though the “to-do” list(s) are calling me and the paper stacks both at home and work are starting to fear abandonment. So I will try to make this day productive and not fritter it away doing something enjoyable like reading for fun. Though it’s been far too long since I’ve done that and one could argue reading for fun is also productive. It just doesn’t change the size of the paper stacks.
Will also try to post the presentations my wonderful students created for their Pathology for PTAs III course; so they can see and benefit from each other’s work and learn about a few new and slightly uncommon conditions.
Time to start the day….now where is that list???
Last week I learned the hard way about the importance of regularly backing up all my files. Our car was vandalized and my purse stolen. In the purse were four flash drives on which all of my recent teaching materials were stored. Why they were in my purse (we were on vacation), why I took the purse along for a game of (free) outdoor tennis, and why I left the bright pink purse in plain sight in the front seat of the car are all very good questions to which I don’t have any good answers.
It was/still is a sickening feeling to realize slowly all of the contents of the purse. Credit cards (which were used quickly to rack up close to $1000 in purchases in two states), driver’s license, checkbook, pictures of my kids, voice recorder with cute things my kids have said over the years (heavy, heavy sadness about this), and of course the flash drives. The past two years I have stored most new or revised files on the flash drives as I can plug them in anywhere and edit the files or present a lecture. The piece about backing up the drives was unfortunately forgotten in the rush of each week. The work ahead of me to recreate these files (the semester starts in less than 2 weeks) gives me a very discouraging feeling. And I’ve no one to blame but myself. Wait, that’s not quite true…..I can (and do) also blame the heartless person/persons who silently broke our car window, reached in and stole my identity and years of work. The trick will be to rise above it and get my life back in order as soon as I can, without becoming paranoid and bitter about it.
One of my courses is called PTA Basic Refresher (hmmm…or is it Basic PTA Refresher??). The PTA stands for physical therapist assistant (not parent-teacher association). The 8-week online refresher course was designed to be a review of the two-year physical therapist assistant programs taught in the USA. Obviously, 8 weeks is a short time and 2 years is a long time, so it’s a condensed basic review. Very condensed. Kind of like a part-time (or full-time) job for the students in the course. Many have other part or full-time jobs, families, hobbies, LIVES, etc…..and so this can be very challenging. But they have important goals linked to success in this course. Many are re-entering the workforce after years (6, 13, 20) out of the field. Quite a few have had unsuccessful attempts (1, 2, or 3) at the National Physical Therapy Examination in the past and feel discouraged about their test-taking skills and fearful about their future attempts at the exam.
We focus on test-taking strategies as well as reviewing content/knowledge. It’s the only course of this type offered that I’m aware of, and the fact that it is an online course and can be taken from anywhere in the world (OK anywhere with an internet connection) is pretty cool, IMHO. But still it’s very intense and very challenging. It keeps me up late at night (typing away) but also gives me great joy to hear the success stories. They aren’t all successful, but many are. I have lofty goals to guide these students back into the world of PTA and through one more attempt at “that test.”
I am learning how to do different things with pictures and should delete this posting when I am done.
My first post comes on a day when I am appreciating and valuing speech more than ever before. Yesterday I lost my voice as part of a viral thing, and can’t speak above a whisper. While my husband and kids are probably thrilled, I’m less than thrilled. Actually, extremely frustrated. I think people probably I pass in the hallway perceive me as anti-social since they say hello and I just smile. Thankfully I have a phenomenal class of students who were very understanding today, helped translate my whispers (I know, I’m not supposed to be even whispering), and allowed us to have a great class despite my being mute.
I have returned from an eight-month hiatus from teaching (love the sabbatical) and have found renewed energy and enthusiasm for my work. I am also exhausted! I never sleep well before the first day of classes and since I teach 8-9 courses this term (depending on how you count them), there will be a few “first days.” Last night was no exception…..I either fell asleep at 1am and then woke up at 4am momentarily or else I fell asleep at 4am. Either way I need some sleep. But I’m glad to be back at work and doing what I love. I just wish there wasn’t quite so much to love sometimes!