And in this Corner --- The Agitator!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Where the Fu Manchu has Dawn BEEN exactly?", I hear you all wondering."I mean, we all know that there is still SNOW in Montreal - she isn't out there skipping in the flowing green grass."

Aw, friends. It is true. There is still snow in Montreal. Partially decomposed pumpkins and Christmas Trees are emerging from gigantic snowbanks. I myself only just took down the garland, since I could finally walk over to it to cut it down. I would mock myself, except that- truly - the snow was so high and ridiculous that I couldn't GET to it.

I am interviewing a new psychiatrist. He puzzles me, this one. I have not yet decided if he is a genius who will actually help me move through some shit, or if he is an idiot. I lean toward Idiot, and then he says something which seems almost profoundly insightful and I think, "Hmmm. Maybe he isn't as stupid as I assume." I shake him up by using his full name when I address him to tell him that he puzzles me. He has, however, bumped my meds, which has helped, tremendously. I can't speak for all people with Depression, but when my meds are off...whoa Nellie. It ain't pretty.

This is one of the many reasons that I can understand my depression to be neurochemical in nature. I respond to medications within DAYS. Now if we could only correct my wonky sleep patterns.

The TA's at McGill are on strike and I say, THANK GOD! I was worried that if I had to be enclosed with one of the professors much longer I was going to say or do bad, bad things. As it were, I did file a concern with the Chair about some ethical issues I witnessed. My friend suggested that my Lucha Libre Name be "The Agitator". I found this to be very, very funny. I am sure it will be much less funny when I am never hired by the Department again due to my agitative ways. Of course, I take a small, mean spirited solace and knowing that all the exams are going to be marked by the Professor. I suspect after personally grading 75-150 exams and final projects, there will be sudden and immediate support by the Professors Union.

But you know what also make me Happy?

No, it isn't my obsessive dedication to getting my taxes filed last night, making me churn along until 2 in the morning - only to have to PAY the %$%^#$$@# government some moo-lah.

No, it isn't the tulips I bought to fill the house with - although that IS lovely.

It is the filling in of the summer calendar with Sleep Away camp. Whooo-Hooo. 2 Weeks of SLEEP AWAY CAMP!!!! Can you see me doing a jig of joy around my room? Yes, the baby that I so protectively held to my bosom, I am now flinging into the abyss of Sleep Away Camp.

Go Baby Bird! Fly Free!

And anyone going to Blogher? I may go and will not mope like I did last year, dammit (janet). Anyone need a roommate? I am still just thinking about it..but....

And now, I leave you with this little classic Dawn and Terrance conversation from Saturday morning:

Dawn: "Can you tell any difference in my skin after my mini facial?"

Terrance: "MMMfph"

Dawn: "Was that a Yes or a No?"

Terrance: "I don't know."

Dawn: "You didn't notice anything?"

Terrance: "You look fine."

Dawn: "That wasn't the question - Did you notice anything?"

Terrance: "You looked like you had your face washed."

Dawn: "That's it? My face washed?"

Terrance: "Yeah - like you do every morning after you've washed your face. You know - like you have a clean face."

Dawn: [Silence]

Terrance: "What?! What do you want me to say?"

Dawn (to Emily): "And herein lies how your father wooed me to be his wife. His masterful, sweet talking ways drove me right into his arms. Such flowery language, such astute observations! Can you see how I could not resist his charms?"

Terrance: "I still think you got the better deal."

7 Baleful Regards:

Woman with Kids said...

I too am throwing my baby to the sweet summer camp gods... Only three more months until I'm down to one child! Oh, darn, wait.. I'll still have one? I didn't plan that well.

Cindylou said...

god maybe there is hope for me yet to get mine to sleep away camp that would be heaven

E. said...

I love the face wash conversation. Hey, at least he's honest.

I wish I could go to BlogHer. Someday. Hopefully next year it'll be closer to me. These days, plane tickets to the West Coast are pricey from my neck o' the woods.

Lisa said...

How old can they be before two week summer camps? Because at this rate in the school year I'm ready to fling my blond baby bird and schedule him up for about FOUR back-to-back sleepaway camps.

And as for the facial stuff. Yes, mine would do pretty much the same thing. I feel ya.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as an undergrad at McGill, I do not THANK GOD for the strike, actually it's a pain in the ass in terms of getting grades on time and feedback for exams. So, way to go AGSEM, using the students as leverage...

Dawn said...

I think, Anon McGill undergrad, you misunderstood my statement.

I was not exclaiming "Thank God" as in "Hey this strike will fuck with the students" - but in "Thank God I don't have to deal with a particular professor as I was about to go postal and ruin my academic career by verbally flipping out".

I LIKE my undergrad students and have worked hard to get their stuff back within a week - giving feedback and comments on papers and projects.

Furthermore, this issue is MUCH bigger than the TA's "using" the students as leverage. The admin at McGill is now holding Professors and researchers hostage by holding all research assistantships in limbo ( so No research gets done at McGill if you need more than one person) AND fired all the invigilators who were part of the TA union. This meant they screwed the students out of trained people to oversee the exams.

when you consider some of the TA union demands - the wildly optimistic "We deserve to have offices in which to meet our students instead of the hall" or "If we are contracted for 100 hours - we don't work more than 100 hours" or "We deserve to be recognized as an integral part of the undergraduate education at McGill and thus treated as the educated professionals we ARE..."

I was one of those TA's who finished grading the papers I received BEFORE the strike - one of those who lingered to see the final performances of my students in a "non TA" way. I did this because I am a teacher. Not for the 200 bucks a week I get for being a TA.

Yep. 200 BUCKS a week.

So the professors are now bearing the brunt of the workload because the Administration ( who make amazing salaries) can't be bothered to address the underlings who make the cogs of the university turn. The professors now have to figure out how to get and code and analyze the data they need to finish research projects and grants.

The students have to wait for grades.

The only people I don't see suffering is the Administration who is making the policy.

Think systemically. It is much bigger than you and your grades. This affects all of us. Even you, as a future TA someday perhaps.

Anonymous said...

I realise this situation is not ideal for you and the other TAs. Going for a long period of time without a contract is not good, and the demands that the TA's are making are not in any way unreasonable.

I understand that at the root of the problem is McGill, and I congratulate you for being one of the few and caring about your students. You are a minority.

All my TAs have been absolutely useless, in one class especially. They left all the work they were assigned until the strike was called and this is why I am frustrated! I have emailed and written letters to the administration berating them and their lack of concern for not only the students and the AGSEM. Who knows if student letter writing will have an effect, but I hope it will.

As a student, it's hard not to feel like you're being used as leverage. I know I'm not the only one who feels that way. I should have written in my previous comment about my feelings towards McGill and their policies but I was too frustrated.

I hope you don't have to talk to that crappy professor again, and you have a better semester in September. No hard feelings, my comment was never about you, only the shitty situation.

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