Monthly Archives: January 2014

Teaching Internship I

So far, I’ve done 3 classes for my teaching internship, and I have a 4th class tonight.  They’ve been a great class, and it has been a fabulous learning opportunity.  Last week, I got to assist the students in developing their first roll of film.  Helen is a very effective and patient instructor, and every single student that developed film had good, usable negatives.  I was so pleased for them!

Thursday, in Teaching Methods class, we discussed how to write a good and useful syllabus.  Each person in the class was to bring in the syllabus from their teaching internship, so we could assess its good merits and shortcomings.  Not everyone got to go, because of time constraints, but, after hearing all the discussions, I have concluded that Helen’s syllabus is pretty top-notch.  The only thing I would do differently is to include a grading rubric.  Her descriptions are concise and to-the-point, and she made sure to include a list of all possible materials for the class, which is incredibly helpful.

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Stealth Mode

I am home sick today, but I decided to utilize the unexpected time at home to capture some of the quieter dog-related moments from my perspective (taking advantage of the natural window light I rarely get to see at home).  I also downloaded a photo surveillance program for my camera that is motion-triggered.  Hopefully the program can provide a third perspective that is more of an outside narrator or unobtrusive observer.

Life With Dogs

This semester’s project is starting to come together.  I’ve had my first meeting with my mentor, John Fergus-Jean and I’ve also been shooting this weekend.  The project, in a nutshell: I am exploring the performative nature of the dog-owner relationship.  We always say things like, “when I go home, I can just shut down,” or, “I can really be myself at home,” or, “I don’t have to meet other people’s expectations when I’m at home.”  The truth is, for dog owners, you do continue to perform when you go home.  Your dog(s) read your behavior and use it as a cue for their actions.  They, in turn, are constantly performing for you.  Through training, you’ve taught them that their natural instincts, to be a fairly wild animal, are bad, and that they will only receive treats and affection if they act with the behavior modifications you have taught them.  A lot of their behavior is dependent upon yours, so they are constantly monitoring you for cues, and you are constantly keeping an eye on them, to make sure they don’t step outside the codes you have created for them.

For the project, I am incorporating 3 different perspectives: my own, my dogs’, and a third observational viewpoint that is more impartial.  I will shoot my perspective with a digital slr camera, the dogs will have a Go-Pro attached to their collars when they are “shooting,” and the third perspective is being provided by my laptop, which has been rigged to shoot via a surveillance app whenever it “sees” movement.  The third perspective will shoot when I am home and also when the dogs are home alone, and then dogs and I will shoot intermittently.

Some images from this weekend.  Unedited except for making a few black and white.  Not sure whether I will go with color or black and white for my perspective…

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And So It Begins!

Today marks the first official day of the semester, and, as I did not post over our holiday break, I thought I would give a few updates.  Today I start my teaching internship with Helen Hoffelt’s Photo II class.  I’m very excited to help out in any way I can, and we are meeting before class starts to discuss how I might be of assistance.  Although I have done some teaching in the past (in the form of workshops and a TAship in my MA), I am looking forward to getting back into the classroom and working with someone who has a totally different style than professors I have previously worked with.

I am currently writing my project proposal for this semester (coming to this blog by the end of the week) and I have already begun my mentoring relationship with John Fergus-Jean.  He tasked me with reading Proust Was a Neuroscientist over break (sadly, I’m only halfway through, due to a sidetrack to reread Leaves of Grass and also trying to chisel my way through A Natural History of the Senses), but I recently finished a chapter on Escoffier and Ikeda, two pioneers in the way we eat.  This chapter comes at a timely moment for me, as I have just started to eat red meat after a 10+ year hiatus.  The chapter talked a lot about the Japanese concept of umami and its relation to protein.  I’ve been a bit lost in my thoughts lately, particularly revolving around taste and perception.  Before I retried beef, I told my mother that I had no recollection of the taste, but, having not liked red meat when I stopped eating it, my sense of what it tasted like was a bit dirty and with a strong, iron taste.  Interesting to then taste and come up with a new perception and new taste memory, which, of course, devolves into thoughts about the formation of memory itself, and the formation of taste preference.  Certainly I will be kept on my toes this semester!