Wednesday, December 26, 2007

unseasonal spasm of rage

You'll recall perhaps that my nanowrimo month was delayed by my having to prep and teach a survey class on medieval arts. By class I mean lecture, since this was for Ithra, the educational system in the Kingdom of An Tir, and all sessions take place on weekends, with each 'class' lasting, say, one to four hours.
You may also recall that I was dubious about teaching in Seagirt/Crickstow because the current baroness of Seagirt, whose name I forget, had blacklisted Mark, and I was tired of packing class stuff out to wherever, getting in costume, teaching, having no one interesting to hang out with between times, packing up on my own and traipsing back. Also that the blacklisting was in the best tradition of blacklistings, secretive, poorly-motivated, and unanswerable.
I was also dubious about teaching a core course, where the title and duration are set, but the curriculum and text are not.
But some people I like and respect, Alicia and Halima, had asked and encouraged me to teach it, so I agreed, and spent a few days in panic mode creating an outline and finding pictures, which my wonderful husband scanned and set up on his laptop to be shown as slides, and he and I put together a selection of real antiquities and facsimiles of manuscripts and artifacts that people could handle.
I narrated, and he made the slides work, and he covered the metalwork section, and despite the feast being set up in the next room, so that the class was several times interrupted by people fetching tables, and despite the innate boredom of a 3 hr slide and lecture class, it went off. We had a break every half-hour so people could stretch, wake up and come and look at the artifacts. The immediate in-person feedback was positive.
Oh, the other thing I don't enjoy about Seagirt/Crickstow Ithras is the rather adversarial feedback system, which I'm told dates from the same event that led to the blacklisting. The written feedback by the students must be done with the instructor out of the room, and the forms brought to the chancellor by a selected student, so the instructor can't see the forms, and (I suppose) fail the student who provides negative feedback by recognising their handwriting.
But still, feedback is useful, mostly to help me tweak my class descriptions so that students (at least the few who actually read the class descriptions) know what they're getting into.
A few days ago the results arrived, nicely typed out in different coloured fonts, unattributed unless the person signed themselves.
And, y'know, the heck with it. Really. I'm done.
I'm glad I did it, for Halima, and for Constance, and I'm glad they got something out of it, and I hope they get their Lector Artis thingies. But I am now right out of people whom I wish to help with that locally. I'm willing to teach it again (though I'll gripe, because it's a 3 hr. lecture class) in faraway places where they may have trouble finding instructors--I'm always willing to teach in faraway places, especially where they see the usefulness of bringing Mark out to teach as well and getting two instructors for the travel-cost of one.
But the heck with Seagirt/Crickstow and especially with the unnamed person whose feedback was given in orange italic:
Ms Kestrel would be fine doing the course w/o assistance. Some interjections by assistant were not helpful.
You know what? Anyone sufficiently clueless about both SCA and medieval terms of address and reference (you know, that would be the FIRST THING anyone teaches you when you FIRST ARRIVE at an event, to address everyone as My Lord or My Lady until directed otherwise) that s/he thinks Ms Kestrel is a valid term of address, is so clueless I'm surprised s/he can put the pointy end of the crayon on the paper.
This is how it works, Orange Crayon Newbie:
Ms is a title invented in the late 60s, which would be 1960s, not 1360s or 960s, which makes it a post-period, non-medieval title. It may be legitimately combined with my modern mundane name, so that you could address or refer to me as Ms Gordon, and I would answer you.
If you wish to refer to or address me within an SCA context, the legitimate forms include 'my lady', Linnet, Mistress, or Mistress Linnet. I'm not big on titles usually, but since you apparently feel compelled to use a title, my title is Mistress (cue dominatrix images here), never abbreviated as Ms. For weird SCA historical reasons, Mistress outranks Lady, which would confuse most medieval people.
Ms Kestrel is a monstrous construction. Anyone clueless enough to use it knows so little about the SCA, about the Medieval period and about me that s/he has no fecking idea whether I can teach the course by myself, because s/he cannot reliably assess how much I know, how reliable my information is, or whether I can handle the laptop-slide technology (hint: I can't). S/he cannot be assumed to have much fecking idea about anything else.
I should also mention that my 'assistant' would be my husband and my co-teacher, a Laurel and previous Kingdom Arts & Sciences Champion.
I would not have failed you, Orange Crayon, even if I'd read your comments at the time, since the only reason I would have failed anyone would have been for snoring. I passed Antony, who admitted to falling asleep, because he didn't snore and disrupt the class.
But I think you're an idiot, and possibly a snippy idiot, the sort who likes to lecture newer newbies about the horrible lese majesty of wearing belts with red or white on them. I don't know whether you're connected with Watserfais the Blacklisting Baroness, and it doesn't really matter. I'm sure you'd deal extremely together.

And that's my rage quota for the year. I will be nice again tomorrow. Here's a cute cat picture to take the taste away.

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