31 March 2011

Framing Innocence Author to Speak at CWRU March 31

Framing Innocence Author to Speak at CWRU March 31

Lynn Powell
Lynn Powell
Oberlin author Lynn Powell turned to nonfiction for her latest work, Framing Innocence. The book tells the story of Oberlin resident Cynthia Stewart, who fought for her innocence after being accused of taking obscene photographs of her daughter Nora, 8, bathing.

Powell will read from her book, published last fall, during a reading and discussion sponsored by the Department of English and the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities. The free, public event will take place at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31 in the Guilford House parlor.

Stewart’s story made national headlines in 1999 as the mother, who had taken photographs throughout her daughter’s life, became embroiled in a battle with Lorain County’s legal system. The photographs came to the attention of the police when a Discount Drug Mart employee alerted police to four bathtub images among 11 rolls of film submitted for processing.

Powell chronicles how Oberlin’s residents rallied to support Stewart in her struggle by providing a host of free services to help the family through its struggles. She will elaborate on her methods of research and reporting the story.

Stewart’s plight raises issues of privacy, the psychology and dynamics of the family, first amendment rights, the troubling nature of the “male gaze” and the struggles of an individual vs. the legal bureaucracy, said Mary Grimm, chair of the English department.

For information, email Susan Grimm at sxd290@case.edu.

14 March 2011

Books Everyone Should Read

From Information is Beautiful

I haven't read 19 of these. Better get my reading list in gear.

06 March 2011

Teachers Have Hefty Salaries? Who Knew...

"Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – babysit!

We can get that for less than minimum wage."

That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan– that equals 6 1/2 hours). Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day. However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.


That’s $585 X 180= $105,300 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).
What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year. Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here!

There sure is!

The average teacher’s salary (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student–a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!!

Make a teacher smile; repost this to show appreciation for all educators.

[Above text was shamelessly reposted from http://www.eajohansson.net/2011/02/are-you-sick-of-highly-paid-teachers/]

Let me do my own calculations: I teach at The University of Akron and get paid $900/load hour (this is the actual time in the classroom--not counting required office hours or class prep or grading at home on weekends). This semester I am teaching 10 load hours (four classes with three different preps), so my salary for the entire semester (I do not get paid for vacation or sick days) is $9000.00 for five months. I teach 10 classroom hours a week for the 15 weeks that constitutes a semester or $600 a week. On the face of it, that doesn't sound too bad. But that is not a guaranteed salary for each semester, in no way does it take into account the number of hours I really put into teaching, and I get no other benefits at all.

Please, Governor Kasich, do pay me like a babysitter!

Last year I made $19,800.00 total for my teaching for three semesters. That's another issue, as an adjunct (despite having four degrees including a terminal degree) I am not guaranteed a job or a full teaching load in any given semester. I had to work an additional 20+ / per week job doing administrative work to bring my annual income up to $32,000.00.

This semester I have 98 students. If we called this babysitting (although my students are mostly adults and hardly need a babysitter) it would be different numbers.  So let's pay me babysitter wages. I used the calculator at www.sittercity.com and put in my location, age, and experience and it tells me that I should make $9.50 per hour. So 98 students x $9.50 per hour x 10 per week =  $8777.00 or $131,550.00 per semester, or (not counting summers when I am never guaranteed work and sometimes have to live off my credit cards) $263,100.00 per year. (I WISH!) Hell, I'll take the $3.00 per hour mentioned above and happily live on $88,200.00 which is nearly 5 times what I make now teaching. 

But wait, there's more.... That calculation is without the all the time spent grading. In some ways I wish I could just babysit. I could entertain my students with knowledgable lectures and we'd all have a fun time, because I love what I do. But that pesky university has standards and wants to measure achievement.

My job is to teach and teaching also involves assessment of student learning, most often by creating and grading assignments and giving and grading exams. Let's just look at those essays and exams. (I'm not even counting the time it takes to prep these assignments here.) I do two essays a semester (about 15 pages of writing total) and two exams a semester (about 10 pages of writing) in my classes. The average academic copyeditor (and at it's simplest that is what this is--moving through a student's work looking for errors and writing comments on pages) charges somewhere between $35 and $100 / hour and does about 4 pages per hour. So 25 pages divided by 4 = 6.25 pages per hour. Multiply that by $35.00/hour (I'll take the lowest pay rate here) = $218.75.  Multiply by 98 students = an additional $21,437.50 I should be paid out of the classroom. (Note that just the "copyediting" salary is more than I make annually for teaching.) So paying me to babysit and copyedit would give me an annual salary (in a fair and just world) of $284,537.50.

But "fair and just" is not what this world is.

Teachers teach out of love of teaching. Of all the wonderful teachers with whom I work I know of no overpaid teachers. This whole issue is about breaking unions in this country. Shame on you, Governor Walker and Govenor Kasich.

02 March 2011

Newest Grandchild: K. Oskar Russ-Johanson

Karl Oskar Felix

We’re calling him ‘Oskar’…
Born: 3/2/2011 @ 09:45
Weight: 9 lbs. 2 oz. // 4148 grams
Length: 21 inches // 53 centimeters