Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Process of Meal Planning

What we have here, aside from my poor handwriting, is meal planning in action. I usually do the grocery shopping and try to plan meals that everyone in my family will eat. This morning I was browsing recipes and came up with White Chicken Chili (recipe here) and Slow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup (recipe here). So I scribbled the ingredients I need on the list along with a few other life essentials (coffee and cake mix).

You can see I have Fall on the brain with these meals.

And this only covers two meals for the week.

I find it hard to plan for meals. I also notice it's not a typical topic of everyday conversation. These days I hear people talking about fantasy football, craft beer, and Pinterest, but I don't regularly come across people talking about what they make for dinner.

You can file this post under Mundane Moments of Everyday Life (click here for my roasted broccoli post as another example). Meal planning, while not exciting, is an important part of my routine in an attempt to make meals for my family that taste good and are budget friendly.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Keeping the Attention of Students

I have written before about the complicated lives of students. They are tired. They are stressed. They have a lot going on in their lives. I can't always command their attention and that's okay.

I actually complimented two of my classes yesterday for paying any attention to me, at all. Seriously. I talked briefly about video games in my Introduction to Sociology class. The best selling video game so far in 2015 is Mortal Kombat X. I showed the trailer in class to discuss the game as an element of American culture. Several students told me they play the game/like the game and said the trailer is actually a tame representation of the game. It was then that I said out loud that it's miraculous they pay any attention to me carrying on about sociology. I know that taking an interest in video games doesn't automatically mean not taking an interest in academic matters. It's just a reminder that students aren't always going to be excited about a sociologist talking about feelings and humanity and structural inequalities. It's easy for me to stay engaged. I'm constantly moving around the classroom and hustling for class participation. They are sitting in chairs with a million distractions in their heads and another million distractions on their devices.

It also occurs to me that this is a society in which Donald Trump is running for president. This is a society with people who take Donald Trump seriously as a presidential candidate. Most of my students could probably care less about Donald Trump. Still, we are part of the same society that includes Donald Trump having the time of his life tweaking the American electorate and working over the media.

So what does it all mean in this day and age to be a sociology professor? Hell if I know. I do the best I can to teach my subject matter. I always try to be a sympathetic and flexible professor. I'm appreciative that very busy students in a very strange society give me a chance to teach them sociology.