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Prof-Mamas, How's the Semester Going? - Page 2

post #21 of 92
Yeah, I used to have tons of luck with Land's End and LL Bean. Dh received a coat from LL Bean two years ago and it fell apart. He didn't abuse it, just wore it. He also said that the lining never met in the middle of his chest and he would always get cold there.
My Land's End skirt dropped its hem on the first wear and dh's shirt isn't even worth discussing.

In my office, you can wear whatever as long as you don't look like a pig. Jeans should be free of worn looking spots. Absolutely no sweats or warm ups. It is often cold in the storage areas and you can get dirty sometimes when shifting things, so you don't want to wear anything that you really care about.

The only time I dress really nice is when I know I am going to be on campus for a meeting. Then I deck out.

Honestly, men have is really easy. All they need is a nice pair of trousers, a couple of good shirts, two or three ties and a nice blazer and they can go for a week!
Women can't wear the same sweater in the same week without getting trounced.
post #22 of 92
Originally Posted by mirlee
It is often cold in the storage areas and you can get dirty sometimes when shifting things, so you don't want to wear anything that you really care about.
Yeah, working in the lab is a whole different issue. Maybe I'll end up with a "lab day" look and a "teaching day" look. No jewlery, no loose clothing, nothing I care about wrt stains etc., for the lab.

What's your field, mirlee?
post #23 of 92
Originally Posted by Geofizz
The problem is that there are only two other women in the department, and one of them wears clothes waaaay out of my price range.
and the other is incredibly unstylish. But take some notes from her -- she regularly wears jeans,khakis, fleece jackets and the like. When there's a meeting or something she wears a blouse (really some kinda button down) and khakis. What's your style? When I was teaching school (middle school) I shopped at Eddie Bauer and Lands End. I've had great luck with lands end.IMO it is easier if you just decide that darn it you need new clothes and are going to pay retail for them. Clearance shopping when you need lots is too time consuming. BUT...there is an eddie bauer outlet center on the west side of town. I'd have to think about where it is exactly.

And from when I was student teaching, if you're short or somehow look really young, it is easier for high school (and undergrad) students to recognize you as the teacher if you are a bit more dressed up. Never a problem for me as I am almost 6 feet tall and have a voice that carries well.
post #24 of 92
Originally Posted by kerc
and the other is incredibly unstylish.
LOL. Yeah, but I wasn't gonna say it.

Found the outlet store through google. Darn. I was just down that way buying a dishwasher. (another reason why clothes aren't really in the budget.)
post #25 of 92
Geofizz, I am the Archivist/Photograph Curator for a major university archives. My job is to manage all the stuff that isn't paper like film, video, audio, and photography. I teach in the graduate school for Summer session and lecture several times throughout the year in about three or four other classes.

It is a great job even when it is stressful
post #26 of 92
lands end and llbean pre-2000 hold up, anything more recent, since they've outsourced their labor, falls apart pretty quickly. but we still bought some lands end slippers and a flannel for dh just the other day, they're so warm. I don't like lands end clothes for women, though -- a bit too "grandma"

I look really young for my age -- and when I wear a suit I feel like I'm playing dress-up, so even at professional conferences I do the twin-set and skirt thing. i do own one suit I love: brown tweed, short coat, 3/4 length skirt with a back pleat. Love it! Only wore it twice before pregnancy!

our dept. has lots of younger women, and two of them teach regularly in really hip cool clothes, including jeans; one in rather midwestern clothes, one only in khakis and large T-shirts, and me: can't decide what my style is! I know that I seldom feel like "me" when I'm dressed for work, though.

I've gotten TONS of compliments on my maternity clothes! Which I didn't buy -- they were given to me by three different people -- I picked out some khakis, and a blouse that gets compliments, but everything else is from someone else. So I'm taking a cue from that -- colored pull-over tops, 3/4 sleeves, patterns, khakis and jeans. I like color -- but moved to SoCal from NYC, the black-wearin-capital-of-the-world, so have had to start a wardrobe from scratch.

If I had unlimited funds: Jill St. John knits, Eileen Fischer tops and bottoms, and Ann Klein everything. I also really like vintage clothes and am pretty much a hippie, but feel odd wearing a 50's cocktail dress covered with a sweater (definitely more me than khakis!).

fun question mirlee.
post #27 of 92
The clothes thing is hard. I really struggled when I used to teach in boiling hot Arizona. That, compounded with the fact that I started being a professor at 29 and have a very feminine and fit figure (If I do say so myself...when not 9 months pregnant) meant that I really had to work hard to look professional without looking corporate or tv-lawyer-bimbo.

I found that fitted but not structured (with a waist but no shoulder pads or major tailoring) jackets and knit tops with 3/4 length sleeves over basic a-line skirts worked well. In AZ I would wear them without stockings and would wear sandals all year. The jacket would always be there in case of a meeting. I am old-fashioned enough not to want to show a lot of skin--arms or legs--when standing in front of a class of 18 year-olds. I saved that for the salsa clubs after hours (sigh, those were the days).

Now that I'm in Oregon, I'm wearing more sweaters and jersey knit pants. After pregnancy I'll probaby go back to the skirts, but with warm tights underneath and sweaters rather than tops...

As for colors, I tend to pretty neutral dark colors (men's department colors). Having a handful of interesting, large scale necklaces or bracelets seems to really punch up a neutral outfit. Having cool shoes helps too.

I was so naive when I first started teaching that I bought Dress for Success. Talk about a waste and inappropriate! Just start slowly accumulating a few flexible nice things that you love (that are easily washable!!)

The store Chico's is a good place to start...
post #28 of 92

I'm now flipping out.

My first class is tomorrow at 10 am.

I don't know what the @#$# I'm talking about. Why on earth did they hire me? I can't teach them anything! What on earth do I know about anything? I'm not prepared. I can't teach mathy stuff to math-phobic people. EEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKK!

Flip out complete.
post #29 of 92
Don't flip out!! I think we all go through that feeling on a regular basis. The book Lifting a Ton of Feathers discusses the phenomenon at length--the stupid "I'm not worthy" BS that many women academics put themselves through.

You DO know the material. You ARE a competent and intelligent teacher and researcher. You'll be FINE!!

Admittedly, teaching unmotivated students is the hardest thing of all, but don't just think of them as an amorphous group of math-phobes, think of them as a group of individuals who need your class (and you) to help them get to where they need to be. Think of the communication issues as a game or a problem to be solved. You can solve all kinds of problems and do all the time. Communicating a "difficult" subject is just another set of problems to find solutions to.

Focus on the students and what they need to learn from you, not on some peer or colleague you want or need to impress. As long as you keep your focus on the people taking your class and how to get them to where they need to be, all the anxiety tends to melt away, at least for me, no matter how hopelessly bad my students do at my subject (which is also anxiety-inducing: foreign language).

Good luck!!
post #30 of 92
Thanks for the pep talk.

It went alright, though there's such a mix of people in the class, ranging from an older guy from the community to undergrads to one physics student. I think the mix is going to be the hardest part of this.

I went from there to my lab where I spent a while discussing power requirements for the lab, and I felt competent once again.

Thursday I start the real math and I hand out the first homework assignment. Off to go do my homework assignment before I hand it out!
post #31 of 92
geofizz, I'm so glad that it went well. The mix of students sounds intriguing -- the first class I taught, I was 28, and the average student age (we figured it out one night) was 44! It was a constitutional law class, and it was nice to have several older community members in the class to give their perspective. With math, that might not be the case, though LOL.

I will have to check out Lifting a Ton of Feathers ... sounds like a good one to have around for freak out days.

I must now put the bag over my head ... : I can't believe how hard it is to get ANYTHING academic done with a new baby!! I was so confident! So sure I could work while he slept! But all I want to do is watch him sleep!!
(Wyatt was born 5 weeks ago ... he's an angel! check him out: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...areSoHappy.jpg )

so there ARE more important things than my job?!?!? I mean, dh was always a huge priority and a joy, but this little boy is making me think that I might not "be" my career .... weird feeling. I imagine I'll be working it out for a while.
post #32 of 92
What a cutie!

Things are going alright in the class, though it's been rocky. I think I'm finding my way, but I don't really feel as though I've found my stride yet. Then I found out that my faculty "mentor" is coming to do a teaching evaluation today. In one hour.

I have my first social do dad tonight after the department seminar. I told dd I would be home after she went to bed and she nearly fell apart. I felt so awful. Little does she know that DH is planning an evening of mac 'n' cheese and playdough.

I'll check out that book. Thanks.
post #33 of 92
you didn't tell her about the playdough?

(in our house mommy always talks about how fun it is with dad. you know, something along the lines of "mommy has to work, but daddy has a special treat planned"

special treat can be anything - food, game of hide and seek, bubble bath....
post #34 of 92
Nope, it's a surprise. "Daddy" in our house already means "fun" ~ no worries there. We're finding that playdough is necessary to help her unwind from daycare anyways. I left it this way, though, to let Phil decide if he wants to take it out or not. If for some reason he thinks she just needs to go to bed (like, if she doesn't nap at daycare) then the promise of playdough is just a disaster.

The teaching eval went well, I guess. At least he (kerc surely knows him ~ MB) said he was coming back on Tuesday because he wanted to hear that lecture too! I have no idea what he'll write about the class, but he was taking notes like crazy. With the way things run around here, I'll probably get my copy in 2008.

I'm looking for advice on how to deal with one very dominant student in the class. I'm teaching something that all the students have told me they find difficult, but they say they all find it very useful, and given the first homework assignment, I think the have learned something. When I'm going through a derivation or example problem, I try to get the students in the class to describe what I'm doing, narrate the next step, look at a result and discern the effect of one parameter or another. The problem is that this one student keeps piping up so fast that it seems like the others don't get a chance to think through it on their own first.

This same guy also always asks very interesting tangential questions, taking me far from my planned content. I think this is great, but MB seems to think that's a problem. Personally, I don't care about that aspect. I'm more concerned that everyone on the class gets a few moments to catch up and think.
post #35 of 92
MB = heavy smoker?

I'd tend to agree with him that the tangential questions can become a problem. My experience in TA-ing the seven semesters of hydrogeology suggests that there's always one student who can make leaps mathematically faster. Different people have handled it differently -- one person is now known about the dept as "physics guy" or alternately "suit guy" because he always wears a suit (even on a research cruise :LOL). I think it has been most effective when the professor provides a short answer to the question and then says something like "see me after class/during office hours to discuss in full."

You could also ask a question and ask the students to write the answer in the notebook first...
post #36 of 92
another way to handle the dominant student (I had a really really "bad" one the last two semesters .. same guy) is to ask a specific student to be prepared to answer, or a row "So, everyone in row B, get ready, because I'd like you to work through this problem for us." OR take the guy aside and stroke his ego, "Its really clear that you understand this -- I'd appreciate it if you'd help others understand it by giving them tiem to think it through and answer ... if we get stumped as a class its a real relief to know I can count on you." Or ignore his hand. Repeatedly.

Wyatt is colicky during the times that I taught and had office hours, plus wind-down time, last semester, 3:30 - 9:00 pm. And it started last week, when the semester started. Could he possibly be remembering my adrenalin from teaching????
post #37 of 92
Thanks for the suggestions.

"Ignore his hand" :LOL Who raises their hand?

Things have actually been improving a bit because I've pulled a few of the quiet students aside and stroked their egos. So now I'm getting more people popping up with questions and answers making for a more dynamic class. There is still one quiet person who seems absolutely terrified to speak in front of the group (7 people).

As for the colic, hmmm, I wouldn't have thought he'd be remembering adrenaline, but that's an interesting idea. I think colic peaks in the late afternoon, early evening hours, right when we're least able to cope.

After another series of panic attacks this week I ordered "Lifting a ton of feathers" and called a friend who's in her 4th year as an assistant prof. Her advice was to save the panic attacks for when I get turned down for funding. :
post #38 of 92

advice for campus interview

Hi fellow prof mamas,

I think I've introduced myself here before, but it's been a while --

I finished my Ph.D. last year and stayed on this year at my U as a lecturer. I'm on the market, and I have a campus interview next week. I've had two in years past, so I kind of know what to expect, but still ... I'm nervous because I really want this job!

So I was wondering if any of you have advice to share. One specific thing I'd like advice on is: what are good/useful questions to ask when they give me a chance to do that? what do you wish you'd asked? or regret asking? are there some questions that would make me look good or others that should be avoided? Some of the questions I could ask I already know the answer to from reading through their web site.

The reason I'm sort of obsessing about this is that at one of my past interviews this one prof whom I met with one on one kept saying, "Isn't there anything you want to ask me? Anything at all?" and I felt like there was something I was missing. Honestly at that point I had met with so many people that I didn't have any questions left.

Aside from all that, is there anything else you would suggest?

Thanks so much!
post #39 of 92
Hmm, getting a response like that from an interviewer would have freaked me out too. I guess a good response is to ask the person about his/her self. I would start with asking about their research ("so, tell me about what you're working on right now?"), or if you've already done that maybe a little more personal: "what attracted you to your position?" "how do you like living in this area?" Or I guess you could go institutional with your questioning if you're worried about prying, like "so what have the biggest challenges for this program/department/university over the past few years been?"

In my first job I should have asked specifically what support there was for new faculty (both funding and mentoring) and to whom specifically I would report. I had a senior faculty member delude me into thinking I had to report to him, which caused enormous headache and stress, since he harrassed me. It's also good to know whether you'll get A) money for computer equipment B) money for research materials C) money for travel to conferences and/or research sites.

Best of luck to you--I'm sure there's tons more questions, but it IS hard to come up with them off the cuff. Maybe you should write down a list before the interview and practice them before hand. Maybe ask your friends/family/partner what they think you should ask too...
post #40 of 92
Congratulations on the interview!

I got the "don't you have any questions for me" as well. I think people just want to keep the conversation going and they can't think of anything else to ask you.

I asked pretty much the same questions of everyone. I ask about the quality of students, teaching load, graduate support ratios, quality of life here, etc. It is very useful to ask these same questions to everyone. It was very instructive to hear the differences in the answers and I got a sense of the "hot button" issues in the department.

I didn't actually talk about things like equipment and travel support. I think this is something that will vary depending upon your discipline. In my field, you interview and then later negotiate the start up. (The goal is to have a department decide on a hire without regard of how much your hire will cost. This, of course, will vary wildly.) Since I have a massive fund (something I'm expected to "repay" through overhead on grants), the computer and travel support is rolled into that. I did talk about lab space, though. I can't exactly spend my startup funds if I don't have a place to put my equipment.
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