The Last Hurrah… White-Out

Dear Reader:

As I was dusting off my old Dell Desktop computer over the weekend … I once again marveled at how long it has lasted… ” Old Faithful.” It was my first home computer… the ” basic vista.”

You might remember I was tearfully saying good-bye a few months ago and even got a chrome book ( which I still use also) but after leaving ” Old Faithful” off a few weeks during the transition … it miraculously came back to life. ( I can certainly relate… sometimes we just need a little hiatus).

I still love my desktop because the screen is big enough to read easily and it contains all my posts from August of 2008! And it isn’t its fault that newer systems reject its limited capabilities-they just got too fancy for desktop.

So now I switch off writing blog posts on my mobile phone and chrome book. I don’t like using the chrome book because it is difficult to insert and transfer pictures but also because I miss my ” typewriter ” keys. The keys on the chrome book are too flat… my fingers fall off if I try to type and type I do.

The last time I used a typewriter was to write my last research paper… at Charleston Southern University in the last class required to take before receiving my Masters. It was the summer of 1997. I still shudder to think about it.

I can’t remember the exact title but it was something like Statistics-Analysis of Assessment. I was completely terrified of taking that class. I had put it off until the summer session so I wouldn’t be teaching while taking it. The last class!

To make it worse… I got off on the wrong foot. Apparently the faculty didn’t want to teach it anymore than we poor educators wanted to take it so I walked into a class with a visiting professor (from some college in Florida) who had been hired to teach it.

I had stopped purchasing any required texts ahead of taking a class… because I had discovered that there was a 50/ 50 chance we wouldn’t need it. And I was so broke… both Mandy and Walsh were in college -and every penny counted.

But this time… it backfired … the first thing I was asked as I entered the classroom was if I had all the required texts with me and if not… to go to the book store, purchase them and return. I was mortified! I certainly wasn’t alone but all of us who slinked out shook our heads in dismay together. And I was afraid my card might reject the purchase-had just had to charge supplies from one of Walsh’s classes.

The woman professor was certainly courteous enough but a no-nonsense kind of teacher. I just prayed everyday she wouldn’t call on me.

All I could remember was our social studies department’s secret mantra at my middle school ” We don’t do windows or math”

Well… now I was doing it or ( at least trying to) … I could assess my elected program using a quantitative or qualitative method.

I remember my hypothesis was ” Did storytelling increase student retention when added to a factual curriculum? ” I certainly knew it did from my own personal experiences in the classroom but proving it involved a whole other set of tedious research hours.

To add even more stress… computers were still a relatively new ” toy ” on the block… the younger grad students had just started using them and college professors but there were several others in the class who had not made the transition yet. ( along with me)

I remember typing that research paper long into the night and early mornings… with my loyal White-Out bottle by my side… I never prayed about anything more ( academically) than I did this course. I was one course away from bringing in more income to help out during the children’s collegiate years.

I remember being so exhausted finishing that paper.. and then I found it… the perfect quote to end the paper IF my professor had a sense of humor-certainly nice enough but reserved-but I made the call and added it.

” Who knows if this ”tis true or not, but it is how it appears to me.” Cicero

I have never sweated any results more than this one… when the papers were returned I put mine inside my folder without even looking at it until I got to my car… and slowly peeked! A- !!!( The minus was for too much white-out I believe) .. but I was so deliriously happy I didn’t see something I initially missed… until I got home. Beside the final quote was a happy face with tears rolling down! And a nice comment-she enjoyed having me in the class.

I had done it… I had a perfect 4.0 in my graduate program…. graduated with honors. Believe me… much improved from my collegiate record! Isn’t it amazing how much more seriously we take studies that we pay for ourselves?

So until tomorrow…prayers and a little touch of humor can get us through some of our most challenging situations in life.

Today is my favorite day -Winnie the Pooh

These days… one of my greatest challenges is chopping off bamboo stalks … it is a full time job … and a lesson in futility…

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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