Tuesday, January 16, 2018

5 Years Today - Chemo Sucks -

As I pulled into the parking lot at work today I thought a random uninvited thought, "I'm glad I had cancer." The second this came into my realization I worked really hard to push it out of my mind, but it was there. And I entered the office with a grateful heart.

I pulled open my computer, logged on, and Facebook popped up, and the first thing that came on that screen was the "Five Years Ago" picture. And there it was:


FIVE YEARS ago today I finished my last round of chemo. This photo was taken that evening, by Nick, who did a great job documenting my cancer journey. And let me tell you, I'm smiling here, but earlier that day I could hardly stand, needing the chemo nurses to hold me up and a wheelchair to get out of the chemo room and into my car:





That Facebook acknowledgement gave me some anxiety, and with it came many of the fears of chemo along with the realization that this is truly over, finished, gone, out of my life. And for that I am so grateful. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

My Dad and His Lasting Service - Missionaries -

Scott's oldest daughter, Natalie, has a son, Max, who is serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is 18 1/2 years old, never been away from home, and has gone from living in Utah to living in Florida (with his family), to spending time now in Fresno, CA, with a companion (probably several over the next 2 years), without family contact except for letters and 2 phone calls a year (Christmas and Mother's Day). It's quite an undertaking for the family and the missionary, and my personal belief is this is quite the maturing coming-of-age transition for any 18 year old, more for the missionary than for those they hope to convert to Mormonism.

I write Max every week - although I don't know him well, I feel strongly that I should be communicating with him. My letter, that he'll receive tomorrow, is this:

Something pretty cool happened to my mother yesterday, and I thought I would share. As you may know, my father passed away on July 5, 2016. He and my mom are our next-door neighbors, and Grandpa and Grandma Weaver lived across the street from them. That is the main reason we bought our home – to be able to care for both sets of parents as they aged. And we’ve been able to. My mother is now 81, and she’s doing pretty darn good, able to live alone just fine, but she sure does love having us next door – as Grandpa visits with her, takes care of her yard and her house, and I cook for her, listen to her, and we both enjoy sharing time with her.

Well, my father was a branch president at the MTC in the early 1980s. He was there for three years. He served the young men who were going to English-speaking areas. He had them for three weeks, and he had a lasting impact on many of them, particularly those who came into the MTC not really prepared for serving a mission or sure they even wanted to serve. One of these missionaries, JE, has stayed a family friend all of these years.

My mother received a Facebook message a couple of years ago from a man looking for “Elder Walker who served at the MTC in the 1980s.” Mother mentioned my father had, but then she never heard back from this man. Then Friday night he messaged saying he didn’t get on FB very often, and was glad it was Clyde (my father’s first name), and wondered how he was and how to get in contact with him. My mother told him Dad had died. And then this is the message (I’ve edited for length) my mother received back:

Time goes by so fast. I wish that I would have checked these messages more often.

I thank you for sharing. I truly am sadden to hear of your loss. I have called so many phone numbers over the years trying to find the right Clyde Walker. After reading your loss I found and read the wonderful tribute of his life and I realize that this is the right ELDER WALKER. As a Branch President at the MTC he worked with our group. Our leader/teacher was ill and Elder Walker stepped in to take care of us. He played a vital role in my life as a young new missionary. I had a hard time making the decision to go and leave a girl that I had been dating for 3 yrs. Elder Walker had such a strong and wonderful spirit about him. He truly was inspired and helped me to find the faith to be a missionary. I served a faithful mission that blessed me with a foundation for my life and family. A foundation of faith and understanding far more powerful than I could have ever imagined.

He told me that the Lord would bless my life with a wonderful bride when I finished serving as a missionary, if I would put my faith in the Lord. He was right.

The lord did bless me with a wonderful faithful wife. She is teaching gospel doctrine now and is a principle of North Ogden jr High. We have 4 kids, 2 girls and 2 boys. . .

I want to thank you for your wonderful husband and the life altering influence that he had on my life for generations to come. He taught me to have faith and love.

I owe this legacy to my MTC father Clyde Walker. I really wish that I could have shared this with him. The time will come when I will be able to give him a proper thank you. If I may say through you...I love you Clyde Walker! Thank you!

Isn’t this beautiful? The work of one man – he was just doing what he knew was right, which was serving his Father in Heaven, and yet all of these years later, one young man remembered my father’s love, and cared enough to share! We never know! 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

I've Been Thinking -

Yeah - an introvert never stops thinking - perhaps thinking more than speaking, and definitely thinking before speaking. And there are a few things going on in my mind, that haven't necessarily been coming out of my mouth -

Tired - damn I'm tired. Is it age, still cancer recovery, or am I really doing too much?

Doing too much - I'm crazy busy, and I hate the word "busy," but my plate just magically fills - with goodness - but still overly full. And I dream of the time that I can remove some goodness from my plate and make time for a few other things, like being a me.

Me - who am I, really? I define myself by my roles - teacher, chaplain, diversity advocate, then - wife, daughter, mother, grandmother, and lastly, friend. I'd like to add a little more time to those last three roles, less to the others.

Grandmother - dang I miss my grandchildren. How do grandparents handle being miles and miles away from their grandchildren? I'm no more than 30 minutes away from 1/2 of my grandkids, and that's too far.

Growing Up - and yet I know that my children and grandchildren have lives of their own, and I step back, sometimes too far back, and give them space, but I do miss spending time with them.

Time - I know, we all have 24 hours in our days, and we all have to choose how we spend them.

Spending - I've about decided that I'd rather have time than money - time for grandparenting, friending, spousing, than time to travel abroad. I think I may be cutting back on income in favor of time.

Income - my dream is to be a full-time hospital chaplain. I strongly believe this is my calling. And if I could only get those in decision-making roles to understand the value of a full-time chaplain, perhaps my dream could come true. But finding someone to talk to, to convince, is like fishing in a fishless pond. Possible, but impossible.

Impossible - I love experiences. I'll gather experiences all day long. And nothing is impossible, correct?

Correctness - I'm finding I care less about being right and more about being compatible, unless it is really something I care about - chaplaining, teaching, mothering, being true to me. All else is just fluff.

Fluff - I could really use a soft pillow and fuzzy warm blanket right now.

Now - back to matters at hand.

Hand - grateful for the opportunity I have to type and blog about life and my journey. More on Journeys later.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Speaking Up -

My next two tattoos will be on the instep of each foot. One will say, "Be the change," and the other will say, "Faith in every footstep."

One foot in front of the other is what keeps me moving forward, and I have to have faith that my plans, or my Higher Power's plans, are the steps I should be taking.

So today, after years of complaining, I spoke up. I was in a church meeting I seldom attend, because I don't feel comfortable in my congregation, and when the question, "What should we be focusing on or doing differently this year, I spoke. "We are disjointed. We are not a congregation. We are divided by age, economics, longevity. We have so much turnover that we don't get to know each other. We don't know who's old, who's new. We need to belong. I need friends. You need me to be your friend. We need connection." And then I nervously shut up, because I had my say.

And the conversation, for the next twenty minutes, was surrounding this. And I wasn't alone.

After our meeting several women, my age and not, thanked me for speaking up.

But I can't leave it at that. If I'm going to complain, I have to be a part of the change. If I want to have a say, I have to be willing to change.

So a young mother, someone I admire, shared today at church. Simple, pure, from the heart. And after making some poppy seed bread, and making sure it was edible, I took her a loaf and a simple thank you.

It took courage today, and a little frustration, for me to share. I don't like putting myself "out there." But I don't like sitting still. I measure my words and my actions very carefully these days. I only have so much energy, and I try to use it wisely. And I guess today, I took a step in faith, that if I was feeling these emotions and this anxiousness, that I would put my faith in my Higher Power and speak.

Here's hoping my words, and my footsteps, will be the change I need - the change I need to make. One step at a time.



Thursday, January 4, 2018

Teacher Evaluations - MY Evaluations -

Every semester I "require" my students to take a Course Evaluation rating me, my teaching, our class, the assignments, etc (this is something the university requires, and I give my students credit for showing me they have finished the eval). Can you imagine having 60+ people, every 6 months, rate and evaluate your performance? This can be worse than a Rotten Tomatoes review! This evaluation then goes to the department administration who keeps these in "my file." On top of this, students often review, and look for professors, based on the website, "RateMyProfessor.com" where evaluations are snarky, succinct, and sweet.

Now I can handle a healthy critique - I'm always on the lookout for ways to improve my teaching - content, approach, relationship with students. But dang - it sure would be nice to be able to rate my students! See, these evaluations are not only my relationship with my class, but if the classroom culture is great, evaluations are great; if not, well, evaluations fall. And this has been more than apparent this past semester -

I taught all 3 classes from a new textbook with a new assignment sequence. 2 of those classes were the same level, with one being at 5:30pm, the other at 8:30pm. The 5:30 class connected from the very first day - relying on a couple of students to lead the way, and yet they all were engaged and involved. Most students attended every class, participated, and helped each other. On the other hand, my 8:30pm class was a bunch of stragglers, with about 6 students attending every class. They were more quiet, arrived late, and there were a few who chose not to be involved in the class. I taught the exact same material, as close to the same way. And yet my 5:30 class reviews were much stronger than my 8:30 reviews.

Ah gosh!

And lastly, on my rant - You decide. Beneficial, hurtful, awkward, rewarding, constructive critique, or criticism, venting?


5:00pm class

Term
Division
Department
Course ID
Course
Description
Professor
Evaluations
Taken
Total
Enrollment
%
Complete
201740
HS
ENGL
ENGL 2010 609
28929
Intermed Wrtg Hum Soc Sci CC
Ronda L. Walker Weaver
19
21
90.5

Student Experiences
Total
57
Strongly Agree
68
Agree(%)
25
Neutral(%)
5
Disagree(%)
2
Strongly Disagree(%)
0
Avg
4.60
Std
Dev

0.67

Description
Total
Strongly Agree
Agree(%)
Neutral(%)
Disagree(%)
Strongly Disagree(%)
Avg
Std
Dev
Completed course work.
19
79
21



4.79
0.41
Prepared for class.
19
63
26
5
5

4.47
0.82
Contact Instructor when needing help.
19
63
26
11


4.53
0.68
Overall Eval
Total
92
Strongly Agree
67
Agree(%)
24
Neutral(%)
9
Disagree(%)
0
Strongly Disagree(%)
0
Avg
4.59
Std
Dev

0.65

Description
Total
Strongly Agree
Agree(%)
Neutral(%)
Disagree(%)
Strongly Disagree(%)
Avg
Std
Dev
Learned more.
19
63
26
11


4.53
0.68
Instructor helped.
19
58
26
16


4.42
0.75
Subject used outside class.
19
58
26
16


4.42
0.75
Class challenged to think in new ways.
17
82
18



4.82
0.38
I developed essential skills.
18
78
22



4.78
0.42
Instructor Evaluation
Total
130
Strongly Agree
82
Agree(%)
14
Neutral(%)
4
Disagree(%)
0
Strongly Disagree(%)
0
Avg
4.78
Std
Dev

0.50

Description
Total
Strongly Agree
Agree(%)
Neutral(%)
Disagree(%)
Strongly Disagree(%)
Avg
Std
Dev
Instructor was prepared.
19
79
21



4.79
0.41
Instructor was respectful.
19
84
16



4.84
0.36
Instructor provided feedback.
18
89
6
6


4.83
0.50
Instructor was available.
19
84
11
5


4.79
0.52
Instructor had clear expectations.
19
74
16
11


4.63
0.67
Instructor was enthusiastic.
17
88
12



4.88
0.32
Instructor was clear on how to succeed.
19
79
16
5


4.74
0.55
Open ended questions
Total
0

Description
What help learning most.

Actually attending the class was the most helpful thing.This is not a class where you can succeed by doing the bare minimum.
Her willingness to help me start thinking outside the box after class one-on-one.
How we were able to be helped therally for each assignment.
Ronda she was what was best about the class.
Ronda was extremely attentive to her students needs and differences helping the positive class atmosphere.
Ronda was very helpful and wanted to help me
Ronda. Seriously. I signed up for English 2010 four times and felt so overwhelmed I dropped it. This semester was different and I'm so grateful for Ronda! She made English so much fun.
Teacher instruction
The teacher was really helpful in explaining what she expected from us and if we didn't understand she didn't penalize us for not doing the assignment fully. She made it feel like you were allowed to be confused and she helped us work through those feelings.
The teacher, she was great!
The teachers attittude!
The teachers expalnation
The way that the teacher laid out the projects such as the chart for the final think piece essay and the research paper outline helped me learn how to make my paper flow and add length.
going over the assignments
Suggestions for improvement.

I don't have any thing to improve.
I don't think the book was necessary for this class so I wish we wouldn't have had to buy it. This could just be how this years class was, but if it continues this way you could save the students money by not requiring the text we really didn't use.
Less participation points
More diversity in subject matter.
None
Nothing
Nothing
She did make a rather rude remark about my shirt and its level appropriateness, in front of the entire class. The way she handle this situation made me feel singled out. If she was offended by my shirt (which met school policy on the dress code) she should have taken me aside privately instead of calling me out in front of the entire class.
more time to complete unit 3
none
Teaching Approach

The following questions are not used for retention, tenure and promotion decisions. They are used for the university to better understand the current level of student engagement in other areas.
Total
57
Yes(%)
77
No(%)
9
Not Applicable(%)
14
Avg
2.63
Std
Dev

0.72

Description
Total
Yes(%)
No(%)
Not Applicable(%)
Avg
Std
Dev
Work collaboratively.
19
100


3.00
0.00
Connect to community.
19
74
11
16
2.58
0.75
Participate in events.
19
58
16
26
2.32
0.86



8:30pm class

Term
Division
Department
Course ID
Course
Description
Professor
Evaluations
Taken
Total
Enrollment
%
Complete
201740
HS
ENGL
ENGL 2010 608
11202
Intermed Wrtg Hum Soc Sci CC
Ronda L. Walker Weaver
19
22
86.4

Student Experiences
Total
57
Strongly Agree
63
Agree(%)
28
Neutral(%)
7
Disagree(%)
2
Strongly Disagree(%)
0
Avg
4.53
Std
Dev

0.70

Description
Total
Strongly Agree
Agree(%)
Neutral(%)
Disagree(%)
Strongly Disagree(%)
Avg
Std
Dev
Completed course work.
19
58
32
11


4.47
0.68
Prepared for class.
19
53
42
5


4.47
0.60
Contact Instructor when needing help.
19
79
11
5
5

4.63
0.81
Overall Eval
Total
95
Strongly Agree
61
Agree(%)
31
Neutral(%)
6
Disagree(%)
1
Strongly Disagree(%)
1
Avg
4.49
Std
Dev

0.75

Description
Total
Strongly Agree
Agree(%)
Neutral(%)
Disagree(%)
Strongly Disagree(%)
Avg
Std
Dev
Learned more.
19
47
47
5


4.42
0.59
Instructor helped.
19
68
21
11


4.58
0.67
Subject used outside class.
19
63
32
5


4.58
0.59
Class challenged to think in new ways.
19
68
21
5
5

4.53
0.82
I developed essential skills.
19
58
32
5

5
4.37
0.98
Instructor Evaluation
Total
133
Strongly Agree
71
Agree(%)
22
Neutral(%)
5
Disagree(%)
2
Strongly Disagree(%)
1
Avg
4.62
Std
Dev

0.71

Description
Total
Strongly Agree
Agree(%)
Neutral(%)
Disagree(%)
Strongly Disagree(%)
Avg
Std
Dev
Instructor was prepared.
19
79
16
5


4.74
0.55
Instructor was respectful.
19
68
26
5


4.63
0.58
Instructor provided feedback.
19
74
26



4.74
0.44
Instructor was available.
19
79
16
5


4.74
0.55
Instructor had clear expectations.
19
63
26
5
5

4.47
0.82
Instructor was enthusiastic.
19
68
26
5


4.63
0.58
Instructor was clear on how to succeed.
19
68
16
5
5
5
4.37
1.13
Open ended questions
Total
0

Description
What help learning most.

Getting answers to any questions I had. Getting feedback on completed work to help me improve going forward.
Getting the chance to revise my paper with the help from the teacher's feedback and writing center.
Group Discussions, visual representations and diagrams of information and expectations. Scheduled lab time with presenter to break down different methods of citation.
How Mrs. Weaver organized the material into more manageable bits.
I learned how can I improve the grammar.
I learned the most from her teaching how to write an outline and using specific examples.
My Instructor was very clear in explaining things pertaining to the subject.
Na
Professor Walker Weaver genuinely cares about her students and their ability to learn the process of writing. During the course of the semester, she inspired me to share a part of myself while learning the fundamentals of creating a research paper. Professor Walker Weaver is by far the best professor I have ever taken a course from and her passion for writing is infectious. Given the opportunity, I would not hesitate to take a class from her again.
Ronda is an amazing instructor, she helped me to learn so many new things!
Ronda was such a great professor. She loved what she does and she would always help us out when we needed it.
She gave multiple examples and answered all our questions with detailed responses. If we did not understand she would explain it again in a different way.
The only reason I survived this class was because I had friends. I think some things were sprung on us without much warning aside from the syllabus, which I hadn't memorized, but I think the professor expected us to.
The processes of constructing a paper was very good. Professor Weaver-Walker used her years of experience to incorporate the text book with what are great methods to succeed.
The teacher was passionate about her subject. She approached writing from an angle that worked better with my visual learning style. She set up her course in a way that guaranteed success if you followed instructions.
The thing that helped me learn most in this class was when we actually wrote the two final essays. I learn best when I am able to actually apply what I have been taught.
having group time
Suggestions for improvement.

Do not constantly change the syllabus.
I still same working on more practice the grammar.
I would say that she should be more efficient with time. She really crammed the most important essays into the last three weeks of her class, while before that we really only did a powerpoint and a few small and super simple assignments. She is great at walking through each step to prepare for the final essays, but when the time came to actually write the big essays, there was very little time. There were a few assignment changes at the end of the semester due to lack of time. It went from being a very relaxed class to a very stressful and rushed class near the end.
Instill confidence in student, by being more detailed on the assignment's expectations and by showing more examples.
Na
None
None really.
None, It was a great class.
None.
Not have us print off all the resources we used on the paper. Kills trees!
Not to switch unit 4 before unit 3. Maybe give out the rubric for class on the first day so that students can set goals and keep pace with a direction in mind.
Place a little bit more importance on pier editing. Most students would not have almost anything done on pier editing day. I believe if there were a few points in the grade for pier editing it would benefit the students.
Tell the class more about what will be happening IN CLASS. There were many times when other things were on my mind, and I neglected to remember stuff.
The only suggestion I have is not having the class so late in the day. I understand that cannot be changed.
Teaching Approach

The following questions are not used for retention, tenure and promotion decisions. They are used for the university to better understand the current level of student engagement in other areas.
Total
57
Yes(%)
63
No(%)
14
Not Applicable(%)
23
Avg
2.40
Std
Dev

0.83

Description
Total
Yes(%)
No(%)
Not Applicable(%)
Avg
Std
Dev
Work collaboratively.
19
95
5

2.95
0.22
Connect to community.
19
63
11
26
2.37
0.87
Participate in events.
19
32
26
42
1.89
0.85



1010 Beginning English Class - They were a total party - and as you can see, they knew this!


TermCollDeptSchInstCampStatCourseCRNDescriptionProfessorEvals
Taken
Total
Enroll
%
Comp
Reporting
Disabled
2017 FALLHSENGLFLECMAENGL 1010 60910959Intro to Writing CCRonda L. Walker Weaver202387
Total:202387%
Records: 1  Time: 0.04 Seconds

Student ExperiencesTotal
60
Strongly Agree
57
Agree(%)
35
Neutral(%)
3
Disagree(%)
5
Strongly Disagree(%)
0
Avg
4.43
Std
Dev

0.78
DescriptionTotalStrongly AgreeAgree(%)Neutral(%)Disagree(%)Strongly Disagree(%)AvgStd
Dev
Completed course work.20653054.550.74
Prepared for class.2035501054.150.79
Contact Instructor when needing help.20702554.600.73
Overall EvalTotal
100
Strongly Agree
71
Agree(%)
21
Neutral(%)
4
Disagree(%)
3
Strongly Disagree(%)
1
Avg
4.58
Std
Dev

0.79
DescriptionTotalStrongly AgreeAgree(%)Neutral(%)Disagree(%)Strongly Disagree(%)AvgStd
Dev
Learned more.207020104.600.66
Instructor helped.20653054.500.92
Subject used outside class.20702554.600.73
Class challenged to think in new ways.208010554.650.79
I developed essential skills.207020554.550.80
Instructor EvaluationTotal
138
Strongly Agree
84
Agree(%)
12
Neutral(%)
1
Disagree(%)
3
Strongly Disagree(%)
0
Avg
4.77
Std
Dev

0.62
DescriptionTotalStrongly AgreeAgree(%)Neutral(%)Disagree(%)Strongly Disagree(%)AvgStd
Dev
Instructor was prepared.20801554.700.71
Instructor was respectful.20851054.750.70
Instructor provided feedback.20801554.750.54
Instructor was available.20851054.750.70
Instructor had clear expectations.20801554.750.54
Instructor was enthusiastic.189464.940.23
Instructor was clear on how to succeed.20851054.750.70
Open ended questionsTotal
0
Description
What help learning most.
Edit Class interaction
Edit Examples
Edit How to write longer assignments, split them up into chunks.
Edit Hownsimple she made the writing process to me. I was able to see how to read and analyze articles and then give a rhetorical analysis.
Edit Peer discussion
Edit Reading
Edit Rhonda was always willing to spend extra time to talk me through things I struggled understanding.
Edit Rhonda's enthusiastic nature about English and relatability helped complete and understand this course
Edit Ronda is amazing! Great in class lectures!
Edit Ronda's confidence in me. She knew I could do any challenge she invited us to do. She had high expectations, but also high love for the class and the subject itself.
Edit She was willing to listen and work with us. She helped us understand assignments and changed them according to what we could do. Creative with her assignments.
Edit That she would go over the material several times before making the assignment do to make sure we fully understood what we were doing.
Edit The Professor was fantastic, she made things really easy and interesting. It was always a class I looked forward to and did a lot to prepare and understand because I knew the work she put in.
Edit The class interaction. And just Ms. Ronda, she is amazing. My favorite ever. She’s me 100% favorite professor and I’m taking her next semester
Edit The free exchange of ideas and thoughts. She really helped me to think
Edit The instructor was very active with the class. It helped us as students evaluate and enjoy what was being taught. The instructor was very kind and helpful when needed.
Edit The professors enthusiasm for the subjust and the students.
Edit The small class sizes help for one on one time with the professor
Edit Using examples to give me an idea of how to form my papers.
Suggestions for improvement.
Edit Do productive things each time because there were a few times I felt I would have been completely fine not showing up.
Edit I don't really have any.
Edit I have thought long and have no suggestions.
Edit Make sure students understand
Edit Maybe make opportunity for more points or make each assignment worth more points.
Edit More direct feedback about papers on how to improve our writing.
Edit More examples!
Edit More small assignments and more peer contribution
Edit More small writing assignments pertaining to creative writing.
Edit N/A
Edit N/A
Edit N/A
Edit N/a
Edit None (:
Edit None. Very nice class
Edit Putting assignments into canvas so we can see when they are due.
Edit The schools curriculum for this class, in my opinion, had some very difficult lessons. These lessons were a little intimidating, and probably not well suited for an intro to English class. However,Ronda did an excellent job explaining, and helping us with these assignments!
Edit You can’t improve a perfect class
Teaching Approach

The following questions are not used for retention, tenure and promotion decisions. They are used for the university to better understand the current level of student engagement in other areas.
Total
59
Yes(%)
68
No(%)
19
Not Applicable(%)
14
Avg
2.54
Std
Dev

0.72
DescriptionTotalYes(%)No(%)Not Applicable(%)AvgStd
Dev
Work collaboratively.2090552.850.48
Connect to community.196811212.470.82
Participate in events.204540152.300.71