Thursday, October 13, 2011

Responding with Difficulty

I've been grading essays. One of the bright students in a class wrote an especially abysmal paper. It's sometimes hard to give really helpful feedback even though you KNOW the student worked hard and put in real effort in writing it.

I think, given my small class sizes, that I can afford a generous revision policy, and I think this student, at least, will really benefit from revising the paper. Some students don't, or at least don't seem to, but other students really do learn a lot and are willing to put in the extra time.

I think I was able to write a note that will help this student see at least a few ways to make the paper stronger.

And now, off to get other work done! Life's tough as evidenced by my need to pack this afternoon for a weekend trip to the northern part of Wales. (I know, you're deeply moved by my need for a bit of sympathy, aren't you?)

Before then, I need to print out and give an exam, write some post cards, and go play outside!

I've pretty much been travelling every weekend for the past three, but next weekend I don't have any plans. And then I think it's the weekend after that I'll be going to PARIS!

Thoughts about Wales or Paris?


  1. I have thoughts about Paris but apparently Blogger won't let me post them as a comment because they contain some illegal HTML or something. So I'll just email them to you.

  2. Musee de Cluny!!!
    Sainte Chapelle!!!
    Walk everywhere possible, even though the Metro is a marvel, and gawk at everything. Keep an eye out for the little historical plaques that tell you what famous writer lived here or what happened on this site in [year].
    I love Paris. It is so much more beautiful and livable than London.

  3. One other thought, since I don't know what languages you have: speaking even a little French gets you a long way. "Excusez-moi, [madame/monsieur], je ne parle pas bien francais, est-ce vous parlez anglais?" is a useful set of phrases, even if the first part is quite obvious to a listener. Using "Madame" or "Monsieur" is much more polite than just asking the question. When you go into a shop, greet the proprietor or clerk---"Bonjour, Madame/Monsieur." If you need help, "Excusez-moi, j'ai un probleme, est-ce que vous pouvez m'aider?" is a very effective question.

    Apologies if you know all this already, but maybe it will help a reader.

  4. Oh, I enthusiastically second the vote for the Musee de Cluny; that's my favorite in all of Paris (and just walking around that whole neighborhood is my second favorite). Depending on how long you're there, and how obsessive you are about museums, you might look at the Paris Museum pass, which for one set fee lets you come and go as many times as you want from a whole list of places in a set period of time (2, 4, or 6 days), usually bypassing lines (especially nice at the Louvre). I don't usually buy passes like that, but Paris is museum heaven, and for me it was totally worth it. (especially nice to be able to visit the Louvre on and off over a few days, rather than feeling like I had to pack everything into one visit.) Have a great time!!

  5. I just saw The Corn is Green with Bette Davis and would now LOVE to see Wales in person. Pictures, please.

    On the other hand, ah, Paris. You MUST eat at least one crepe from a street vendor. My big Paris dream was to recreate Mrs. 'arris Goes to Paris and go to Dior. I did and it was totally worth it! Couldn't afford anything, but it was still worth going in!

  6. Wales? Make sure you take your waterproofs. Lots of waterproofs. I did three years at uni in Wales, and even for a Briton, Wales redefines the concept of rain.

    Paris. Here's a me three on the Musee de Cluny. Even my better half, who's a modernist to the bone, absolutely adored it. If you're going to the Louvre, don't use the main entrance at the pyramid, as there's always a horrible queue: go through the Porte des Lions or the Carousel. I've always liked having a glass of wine and a light lunch at the Cafe Denon, which is hidden down in the Coptic section in the basement, but it looks as if it's closed at the moment -- so I'd probably repair to Cafe Marly instead. The cakes at Cafe Richelieu are usually very good as well.

  7. The Cluny, and the Carnavalet -- the Carnavalet is in the house that used to belong to Mme. de Sevigne, and it's got the history of Paris.
    Walk around the Ile St. Louis -- much less crowded than the Ile de la Cite and Notre Dame area.
    I think walking around the Marais is always fun... you can easily get lost, but still. And find some markets and buy some good cheese.

  8. Oh, this is probably too late to be of any help! Paris is lovely (and tasty) but Wales is spectacularly gorgeous. My niece and I spent time exploring northern Wales three years ago and we loved it. I still look at some of my photos with amazement.

    If you can, hie thee to Snowdonia National Park and head to Mount Snowdon. The railway out of Llanberis saves some climbing and offers amazing views. Hopefully, the visitor's center near the summit will be open now; it was closed for repairs when we were there, unfortunately. The ruins of Dolbardarn Castle are an easy walk outside Llanberis and a short climb up the tower offers pretty views of the surrounding countryside. I wish I could remember the name of the B&B we stayed in: amazing food, comfy beds.

    There are castles, castles and more castles in northern Wales (those Brits, always asserting sovereignty). Beaumaris is lovely; Harlech is stark; Caernarfon is huge. And they're all located in such pretty settings!

    I really hope you enjoy Wales. I don't think it's as popular a destination as other parts of the UK - which is part of its charm, perhaps - but it's definitely worth the visit.

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  10. My thoughts about Wales are of love. I'm doing my PhD there, and I love every trip. I haven't seen much of it since I'm usually in a rush to get work done and then get back to the family, but I love it!

  11. Yet another recommendation for the Cluny. If your French is passable, I'd recommend getting hold of the Guide Routard for this year, as they have money off some of the attractions, and a lot of the restaurants offer freebies for guide holders. You can usually make your money back, as it's a fairly cheap guide book. If you're looking for somewhere nice to eat, I'd also put in a word for L'apparament cafe: It's tucked away down a windy street though, so you'd need a decent map. Enjoy!