Interesting thought about Pirates.

I was just thinking…when Pirates were in college back in 1650, were they told to raise their hook if they wanted to ask a question?–Professor Phil Jones

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Professor appreciation

Compliment from a student in the year 1991: “I really enjoyed the class…I learned a lot, thanks sir!”

Compliment from a student in the year 2017: “You’re the sh*t sir!”

–Professor Phil Jones

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Top 10 (or so) signs the semester is coming to an end.

  • The thought of handing in your final grades of the semester excites you more than the thought of having sex.
  • You now know the names of 3 students.
  • You keep talking about your plans for summer vacation…during your lecture.
  • You start getting emails from the student(s) who haven’t done anything all semester asking, “is there a make-up assignment I can do?”.
  • The college shredding service’s phone number is on your speed dial.
  • Late assignments are scattered on your office floor from the students who slid them under the door crack at 11pm the night before.
  • You’re spending all of your office time hours deleting your inbox.
  • The number one question your students ask you is “What’s on the exam?”
  • Your class attendance has suddenly increased by 50%.
  • Your voice mail is full of messages from parents asking, “Is he/she going to pass…can you call back ASAP to discuss?!”
  • You start to realize that you have a ‘spring in your step’ as you walk down the hall.

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10 (or so) cool reasons why professors should apply to work at a college on Mars.

-It would sound a lot better to say that you teach at a college located on Mars, rather than located on Uranus.

-You could have ‘Elon Musk’ in as a guest speaker; I mean, what else is he going to do with his spare time while living on Mars?

-You can commute to work on a Mars Rover.

-You would have extra-terrestrial students in your classes that would hand in amazing ‘out of this world’ projects.

-You could take a lot of time off with pay because of the dust storms.

-You now can wear that stupid looking mortar board hat for something useful: to protect your head from a flying asteroid.

-You will have smaller class sizes due to the limited space available on the spacecrafts arriving to the planet.

-You would be known as an ‘Interstellar Professor’.

-You can eat all the pizza in the cafeteria that you want; if you’re 200lbs on earth, you would only be 76lbs. on Mars!

-Due to less surface gravity on Mars than on Earth, you can literally hop around campus.

-Since a day on Mars is about 40 minutes longer than on earth, you can take longer breaks during class.

-You could change your name to ‘Professor Saturn’; it would have a nice ring to it.

 

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Top 10 (or so) ways to amuse yourself during the upcoming department meetings.

PB screen mishap

  • Open up your ‘Pokemon Go’ app and capture all of the Pokemon lurking in the room. Don’t be rude though, and excuse yourself as you walk in front of the screen.
  • Open up one of your many ‘Fart’ apps and bask in flatulent bliss as you scroll and launch an odourless assault of distasteful audio. Make sure to point to the person next to you if someone turns around to look.
  • Point your laser pointer in a haphazardly way on the presenters slides while he/she is talking and facing the audience. They will be totally oblivious to your shenanigans.
  • Before the meeting, sneak into the room and replace all the whiteboard markers with permanent markers. Wait for the expression of sheer panic on the presenter’s face when they realize what they just wrote isn’t coming off…hilarious.
  • Order a pizza at the beginning of the meeting to force a break when the meeting goes on too long. When it arrives, call out “Who ordered room service?” Make sure you tell the pizza place to bill the department when you place the order of extra large, fully dressed pizzas in quantities that could feed an army.
  • Totally derail the meeting by asking an unrelated question, “So who will win the U.S. election, Clinton or Trump?”
  • Look around the room and create your own Pokemon names for each faculty member in attendance. If you have time, draw them.
  • Take a glass and spoon to the meeting. Keep them out of sight and every time the presenter says “Um”, clink on the glass with the spoon.
  • Clap every time the presenter answers a question from the audience.
  • Every time a slide changes on the screen, kick the chair leg of the person sitting in front of you.
  • Take in a brand new box of multiple-coloured white board markers. Pull off the lids of each marker, then try to guess the colour of each marker by closing your eyes and sniffing them.
  • Make an funny looking origami of the person sitting beside you. Slowly push it in front of them while a serious subject is being discussed and then wait for their loud outburst of laughter. Watch them have to apologize to the group…once again, hilarious.
  • Perform 5 sets of calf raises by lifting your table with your knees.
  • Open up your palm to look at your life line to see if you are going to survive until the end of the meeting.

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Set ‘S-M-A-R-T-E-R’ goals

When I was in college, we learned about setting goals and were taught the acronym ‘SMART’ (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based). In fact, even today, we still teach that concept. Well, I’m creating a new acronym that should be used instead that I am now teaching my students: ‘SMARTER‘ (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Based, Economical, and Rewarding). Since goals are directly linked to your habits and, more often than not, requires changing your current habits in order to achieve your goal, you need to add ‘economical’ and ‘rewarding’ to the current mix.

A NEW MODEL FOR SETTING GOALS: ‘SMARTER’:

SPECIFIC

MEASURABLE

ATTAINABLE

REALISTIC

TIME-BASED

ECONOMICAL

REWARDING

–Professor Phil Jones

 

Your goal must be ‘economical’ (meaning, are you willing to pay the price in order to achieve it?)  Setting a goal means that you WILL be sacrificing something in order to achieve it. Spending less time with family and friends? Spending money for products, services or memberships necessary to achieve the goal? Time commitment? Not doing other leisure activities?

Your daily habits dictate how you spend your time from the moment you wake up in the morning until the time you go to sleep at the end of your day.  If you have set a goal, then you will most likely need to alter those daily habits in order to achieve your goal. According to the research done by MIT’s neuroscience guru, Ann Graybiel, if you want to successfully change those habits, there MUST be a reward at the end. Giving yourself a reward once you have achieved the goal is a huge motivator and must be part of the equation; it will keep your eye on the prize at the end of the journey (a book that I highly recommend that expands on Graybiel’s research is ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg).

If more people thought about the sacrifices they will be making before they start their goal and also think about the reward they’ll get once completed, it will result in more people achieving their goals. Bottom line, if you aren’t willing to ‘pay the price’ and give yourself a reward at the end, you won’t achieve any of the goals you set. Don’t just be smart when setting your goals, be smarter!

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Advice, tips, and favourite quotes I gave to my graduates.

handling pressures of collegeThis year, I was asked to give a talk to my graduating students at their graduation dinner. If you ever get asked, and wonder what you will say, simply give them some of your favourite quotes, advice, and tips that you have learned since the time you graduated. Here were mine:

  1. The best scenario in life is knowing that you know, the next best scenario is knowing that you don’t know, and the worst scenario is not knowing that you don’t know (unknown, but my father told me this one.)

    “Give yourself a ‘Life Sentence’. It has to include a noun (you), an adjective (one word that you want to be known for), and a verb (what you are doing).”–Professor Phil Jones

  2. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans (John Lennon)
  3. Five years from now, you’re the same person except for the people you’ve met and the books you’ve read.” (John Wooden)

    “Read Youtube comments; it will ensure that you will have a laugh every day.”–Professor Phil Jones

  4. Remember those that help you during your life; and remember those that don’t, especially when you win the lottery.
  5. Buy a lottery ticket once in a while (the majority of my students don’t buy them).
  6. Add value to your employer or client…then multiply that value by 3 times; it will make you invaluable to an organization. (Jenniffer Alvarenga).
  7. Try to avoid booking a dental or medical appointment on a Friday. If things don’t go well, it will be hard tracking down the doctor; they’ll be away at their cottage.
  8. Make your bed every morning; it will make you feel organized as you start your day.
  9. Your ‘word’ is everything, so use it wisely.
  10. Read…a lot.
  11. Drink water…a lot.
  12. Did you know that ‘Drake’ is a male duck, and not just a Rapper? It’s true, look it up on your ‘smartphone’.
  13. Never give away your ‘Coca Cola’ secret ingredient; that way no one can steal your ideas.
  14. Listen to the song ‘Time’ by Pink Floyd.

I finished off the speech with: “People will only remember how you made them feel…so I hope that I, along with your fellow professors in attendance here tonight, made you feel a little smarter, a little more motivated to learn, and a little more important. Enjoy your graduation day.”

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Top 10 similarities between a colonoscopy and working at a college.

Colonoscopy for web FINAL

It’s a pain in the ass when… you’re approaching your 2010 ‘Toyota’ in the parking lot, and you see that student who failed your class (twice), driving past you in a brand new ‘Porsche’.

It’s a pain in the ass when… you have to repeatedly tell students that, just because its their ‘end-of-semester anniversary’ coming up, it doesn’t mean they can be ‘sexting’ back and forth with their boyfriend/girlfriend during your lecture.

It’s a pain in the ass when… you’re marking exams and you accidentally knock over your fourth glass of red wine all over them.

It’s a pain in the ass when…you have to use a washroom in one of the older buildings that don’t have ‘2-ply’ toilet paper in the stalls or the  ‘5-step hand-washing instructions’ posted on the wall for you to follow.

It’s a pain in the ass when…the college’s ‘automated’ phone system doesn’t work properly and connects you to a professor or a department…in another country.

It’s a pain in the ass when… the elevator is ‘Out of Order’ and you are forced to take the stairs to get to your class on the second floor.

It’s a pain in the ass when… the ‘mystery professor’, who taught in the classroom before you, used ‘permanent’ white board marker instead of ‘dry erase’ marker on all of the boards.

It’s a pain in the ass when… you’re sitting with the College President and Dean on the graduation ceremony stage, and you all start to notice that your graduation gown stinks like ‘Old Spice’, bad body odor, and salt & vinegar potato chips; compliments of the professor who wore it during the previous ceremony.

It’s a pain in the ass when… you start yelling obscenities and dropping ‘F-bombs’ at the automated voice on the college phone system, only to realize that it’s actually that nice lady working in the Registration office that ‘pulled some strings’ to get your lazy-ass, no job, smartphone-addicted son to the top of a program’s waiting list.

It’s a pain in in the ass when… you’ve just handed out the last exam to your students, and are just about to sit down and relax for 2 hours with your coffee and newspaper, and suddenly notice that the print shop forgot to print the last page of the exam; the page with the question worth 40% of the final mark.

It’s a pain in the ass when…you go to the ‘Rate my Professor’ website and all the students comments are saying that you’re the one who’s a “pain in the ass”!

 

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Top 10 (or so) “I have to go to the washroom” exam strategies.

bathroom break It never fails; there’s always a student that raises their hand during an exam and says “I have to go to the washroom.” Your initial reaction may be “too bad, wait” but you can’t do that. So, here are some tips to ‘flush’ any student attempts for cheating on an exam.

 

  • Understand your college policy for such circumstances and send the policy to your students the day before the exam date.
  • Before the exam starts, tell students that now is the time to go to the washroom, not during the exam. It will give the impression that there is no option, even though you know that you can’t prevent them from going.
  • Write the time they left and the time they return on the front page of their exam.
  • Make note how many eraser marks there are and where they are on the existing answers that they have, up to the point when they went to the washroom. For example, if they have answered 25 out of 50 multiple choice questions with no eraser marks before they went to the washroom, make note of it. Upon final review of their final exam, if you see some of those 25 answers were changed after they used  the washroom, then I would be very suspicious. You can try this with short answer and True or False questions as well. Also, let the students know that you will be doing this if they have to leave to use the washroom during the exam.
  • Make sure they don’t have their cell phones on them when they leave. Don’t search them, you’re not a police officer.
  • If you are in a larger room and have the assistance of exam invigilators/supervisors, have one of them accompany the student and wait outside the washroom. You should have a male and female supervisor to cover your bases. The only thing that escorting them will do is to make sure they don’t talk to anyone to and from the washroom. By the way, don’t stand outside the stall; that’s ridiculous and unnecessary.
  • Lighten up, yet hint before they leave that you are aware that using the washroom during an exam has been used as a method for cheating, “you didn’t write all the answers on the toilet roll in the stall before the exam did you?”
  • Limit washroom visits to one student at a time.
  • Reiterate the consequences of academic dishonesty and the short term and long term implications.
  • Keep an eye on the length of your exam. If it’s a 3 hour exam, what do you think will happen?
  • Don’t say, “…and make it quick!” Really?

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Top 10 (or so) warning signs for College Administration staff that your job may be heading for obsolescence .

Rfc1394-Desk-Chair-Blue-with-wheels-300px-The new person you’re asked to train and mentor is named ‘R2D2’.

-The Dean mistakenly and prematurely says “Good morning Siri” as he/she walks past your office.

-Management tells you to quit whining about your ‘Carpel Tunnel Syndrome’ because starting next month, it will “have lots of time to heal.”

-Professors are no longer asking you to do those repetitive tasks for them because now they are being forced to do all of them.

-The college has named a ‘self-help’ kiosk after you.

-You notice management performing ‘dry-run’ exercises, escorting people out of the building who are yelling obscenities at them and at the security guard who is carrying a box of ‘pretend’ personal items.

-You open up your office door the next morning and all you see is cleaning supplies, mops, a pail, and a washroom cleaning schedule with your name on it.

-When you overheard the management team talking about you behind closed doors and you heard them referencing the word “offshoring”, you find out later that they weren’t talking about giving you an all expense paid vacation on a cruise ship.

-You notice the ‘office door name plate’ budget has been slashed to zero for all administration staff.

-When you enter the staff lounge for lunch, the HR staff suddenly stop talking and look down at their soup.

-Professors start handing things in on time because they feel sorry for you.

-The photocopier technician says to you, “Oh, I heard you weren’t here anymore?”

-Management asks you if you’ve ever thought about taking a  ‘Robot Technician’ course.

-Your work hours have been drastically reduced: 9am to 9:17am.

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