Thursday, October 21, 2010

First Midterm

The first midterm for my Mic102 class was yesterday. The magic word was "Roseobacter," a family of bacteria that was unknown twenty years ago but that we now appreciate makes up about a fifth of all marine bacteria (and thanks to Kou-san Ju for inadvertently suggesting them. If any of my students are reading this, you can blame him). Not to be confused with "Rosie O'Bacter," the national microbe of Ireland.

I finally have a grader to help with this class. D_______ is a former student of mine, probably smarter than I am and definitely more driven. The last time I was in the Microbiology office, Millie and Sharon were curious as to whether I had a grader. I replied that I did, and I was delighted it was D______. Their eyes both widened in shock and visible horror, as if I'd said that my scantrons would be run by Lord Voldemort. There is a "problem student" named D______, and this student makes their life hard with a need for constant hand-holding and prodding and nudging. They keep urging D________ to consider majoring in drama, since she's much more fit for it. Fortunately, D________ the grader is not D________ the problem student.

So, tomorrow, D_______ and I go over to what used to be the "Teaching Resource Center" to run the scantron machine. It's now known as the "Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning." The name change was because they kept being confused with the adjacent "Center for Mediocrity in Teaching and in Learning." I think it would be excellent if the word "Excellence" were eliminated from the language; it has reached the point where it doesn't mean anything.

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