--1--I count yesterday as the day on which the semester officially started. Some people may be wondering how I figure this, since classes began about 3 weeks ago. Well, Tuesday and Thursday were the days on which i gave out the first official homework assignments to my students. Yesterday saw three things happen, by which i mark the real beginning of my semester. First, a new guy came to class and introduced himself--he had just added the class; as of today, no new students can add without my express consent--which means that as of yesterday, i have officially met all of my students for the semester. Second, yesterday was the first day in which my inbox was flooded with questions about the homework. Third (and most importantly as a constraint against my free time), yesterday was the day on which my own first homework was posted online.
--2--Last week after I posted one of these quick-takes for the seventh consecutive week, a friend asked how I manage to do these so consistently. I imagine that with the new influx of homework, I will be a bit less consistent. In the meantime, I might as well tall my secret: I hold office hours each week for my class. The only person I have yet seen in my office from either class is my learning assistant--for about 30-45 minutes per--and she's paid to show up. I then have to kill the next two hours (or so).
--3--Speaking of student no-shows, so far the emails which I have received have almost unanimously followed the same pattern. "Dear (Mr/Professor/Dr/no appellation--only the first one is really correct) Sanders, I have a quick question and don't want to come to your office hours because (it would be inconvenient for me/they're too early in the morning/I can't find my way around RLM/I'm not really interested in learning this, I just want the answer for my homework). My quick questions is, how do you find the uncertainty for a group of numbers." This is, of course, not a "quick question" in the sense of being a question which could be quickly answered by email. It's also the one thing which we have done at the beginning of every single class so far this semester, which suggests that even if there were a quick email answer, it probably wouldn't be as helpful as biting the bullet and arriving in person.
--4--The only other email I received was "What is the conversion between meters to square meters?" In his defense, the guy who sent this one replied to my response (there is no "conversion" between these things, one measured distance and the other area) by writing "Yea I figured it last bight. Im sorry, that was a dumb question." Don't be too hard on yourself.
--5--Speaking of getting lost in RLM, here is what I spent the other half of my office hours last week doing:
--6--A couple of weeks ago, Mr Stephen Binz contacted me and asked if I would be interested in receiving a pair of books for his Lectio Divina Tetralogy. Earlier this week, I got both The Mass in Scripture and The Sacraments in Scripture in the mail. I will review these at some point, probably here (though I've been trying to move most of my longer review/discussion pieces to the Nicene Guys). I've already started in on The Mass in Scripture, and it looks like it's going to be a good pair of books, which is nice because I've been wanting to incorporate more Lectio Divina into my prayer life. On the other hand, I may have to give them the usual 1-2 week read-through and then come back to them more slowly and intentionally for prayer, in the interest of writing a timely review.
--7--We can't seem to catch a break with the weather in Austin. Other places have scarcely had a summer yet (Pacific Northwest), some had a brief hot/humid spell (and maybe a hurricane). We had the hottest summer on record, with well over 70 days which had temperatures over 100 degrees. The only two days in July which didn't have triple-digit temperatures reached highs of 99. It's finally cooled off a bit this week (we been in the mid 90's), the hot temperatures and sheer lack of rain (not once this summer!) means that now we have fires to contend with. I'm mildly surprised that this wasn't a bigger issue earlier, though ow it seems that Bastrop (just about 20 miles from here) is ablaze. More than a thousand houses have burned, and some lives have already been lost--and the fire is only about 30% contained. Oh, and our fire chief is on vacation in Colorado, though the Austin Fire department has been lending its resources to help combat the blaze. Pray for rain, and for the firefighters and people who are in the fire's path. I am not sure whether we are in much danger in Austin--yet--though the smoke sits thick in the air.
Seven Quick Takes Friday is hosted by Mrs Jenifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary.