Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kurt Russell is missing

This incident happened in October last year.

I arrived at the office this morning to some small commotion. An elderly couple sat in our reception sofa, looking up intently at Fr. Denny as he explained something or other to them. Was this another impromptu parent -- or grandparent -- conference over failing grades and such? But no, there was a different sort of tension in the air, one of urgency and gravity. In the background, Jocel and Annette flipped through papers hurriedly and made phone calls.

"...just Francis? Don't you have a family name?" I heard Fr. Denny say to the couple from across the room. "It's going to be hard to find that guy." Then to one of the girls: "Can you look through my class records for anyone named Francis."

So it wasn't just another conference. Intrigued by the snippets, I approached the group. Somehow I had an inkling of what was going on.

"Someone missing?"

"Yes," Fr. Denny said. "Their grandson has been missing since October 8. We're trying to look up his friends to see if they know anything."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Minor Tragedies

Senior Night is a tradition within our division, a last bash for those graduating this week. Being my first year as full-time faculty, and the first time I felt close to a batch, I finally attended the fete the other night. Nothing fancy and more low-key than I expected such a party to be; plenty of good-natured ribbing and very loud cheering. Good clean fun, and I suppose, after four years of toil and tears, a fine way to cap off their last days of student life.

For all the joy of that evening, I couldn't dispel the wisp of sadness. Graduation was a couple of days away, but one of the students I knew well wouldn't be able to march. He already had all the requirements lined up but for one snag--he failed one of his minor subjects. Would that he had been really and truly delinquent in his classes, but no, he missed the mark by just that much.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Computer Literacy and the Facebook Age

Earlier this morning we presented Moodle to a school administration committee. We're part of a slew of new MIS offerings which includes grade submissions, student evaluation, and faculty ranking. We had started out as an online syllabus system, but really, why stop there when you can go whole hog with a complete learning environment?

The presentation went quite well, the committee suitably impressed with Moodle's capabilities. Then comes Q&A, and someone posts the question:

"What skill level does a teacher need in order to use Moodle?"