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serenade

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  1. Yes, and one of his questions had to do with a particular hobby/fine arts activity that he knows I've done since I was 5 (for the record, it's ballet...not rabbit hunting). Oh it is so on. Btw, my brother finds it hilarious that he caused me enough consternation that I complained to an online forum.
  2. Ok so just as I was about to call the organization to report that a scammer was posing as one of their recruiters, I find out that it was my brother playing a practical joke on me by creating a fake email address. So the good news is my research topic has not been compromised, but...I told him he is dead to me.
  3. So after claiming for years that I would never be stupid enough to fall for a scam email (I get emails in broken English from fake peer-reviewed journals wanting to publish for a fee all the time), I think I've finally been had. I got an email tonight from someone claiming to be from a research institution/funding organization that does in fact exist and is legitimate. He told me that my name had been nominated as an applicant for a study abroad program in a location that does in fact make sense for my research interests. He asked me for some basic information such as research interests/goals for study abroad etc. I thought that since the organization is actually legit and makes sense given my research, that maybe my advisor nominated me so I assumed the email was legitimate. I answered his questions, the only one of any substance being about my research interests, in which I basically summarized my proposed dissertation in a paragraph. I also asked him for the name of the person who nominated me. After replying at 10 pm EST (I found it odd in the first place that I got a professional email from someone claiming to be in the UK at 8:50 EST, which would be 1:50 am UK time), I get an email back an hour later saying that the chair of the research council was enthusiastic about my answers and promoted me to a finalist. That's when I knew something was up. By the time I got to the questions, I was sure it was a full blow scam. These questions asked me about my appreciation for fine arts; to rank my five favorite animals; my opinion of rabbit hunting; to rank my favorite pudding flavors etc. A complete joke. When I clicked on the name of the sender, he was using a gmail address - not one affiliated with the research organization, which lets me know he is posing as someone from there. He did not reply to my question of who nominated me, which I now realize is because no one did because the whole thing is fake. I plan on calling/emailing the actual organization tomorrow to let them know that a scammer is posing as one of their recruiters. Ordinarily, I would chalk the whole thing up to a pathetic scam, but I'm worried now that I supplied a paragraph basically laying out my entire dissertation topic idea. Of course, one would have to actually do the research to write anything substantive about my topic (since I have not even passed my dissertation proposal yet, my ideas are still in the preliminary "idea" stage - no results yet, though I speculated on some of the big claims my project would make). Do I have anything to be worried about?
  4. Totally agree. This needs to happen. Just to provide another anecdotal example, however: when students who TA for my advisor ask him for a copy of the course books, he tells them that he expects students to buy their own. Seems unfair to me, but just be aware some professors do hold this view.
  5. Thanks, guys. So the prof I'm TAing for left me and my fellow TA to proctor the final today. After it was over, I had four students complain to me that the other TA's behavior during the exam was distracting and they had trouble focusing. I'm curious if the following behavior sounds problematic to you and whether you think it's worth letting the professor know about the students' complaints. During the exam the other TA: -paced the aisles of a relatively small classroom (40 students) for two hours straight...up and down over and over and over -alerted the class at frequent intervals with seemingly ill fitting instructions ("you now have an hour and a half left...now would be a good time to make sure your name is on your paper"; "you now have an hour left...right before you turn it in, say the word 'mississippi' in your head 100 times and then proofread" etc etc) -rushed over to students when they dropped a pencil/water bottle to pick it up for them, even if they were on the other side of the room from where he was pacing at that moment -tried to talk to me or write notes to me on the board while I was sitting at the front of the classroom (I generally tried to ignore him) -before the exam even started, he told everyone he was now going to "put the fear of God in everyone" about cheating and gave a monologue about it -made everyone take off their hats so he could inspect them -threatened not to let anyone go to the bathroom -when students one by one came to the front to turn their papers in at the end, he would try to carry on extended conversations with them without even whispering even though other students were still working Do you think it's worth telling the professor about the students' complaints so that he could talk to the other TA about this behavior for future reference? (fwiw, this prof is both of our advisors)
  6. Just out of curiosity, what do you personally do while proctoring an undergrad exam? Pace down the aisles? Just sit at the front? Do work/read? Remind students at regular intervals how much time they have left (or do you find this distracting)? Also, do you make students bring bookbags to the front of the class? Make them take off hats etc? Co-proctoring an exam with my fellow TA today made me realize how different our approaches to proctoring are. Just curious what other people do.
  7. Thanks. This makes me feel a lot better to know that it's appropriate to be assertive in this way.
  8. Thanks, TakeruK and Fuzzy, for your helpful suggestions! I really appreciate it. As to your questions, Fuzzy, the other TA suggested this during a hallway chat between the 3 of us (2 TAs and prof) and as soon as he did, I said that that wasn't feasible for me. So I think the professor gathered from that that the other TA had not run his plan by me before suggesting it. And thankfully, none of us had given the students any indication of turn around time, so that's one less hassle to worry about. But the good news is, as it turns out: crisis averted! Just got an email about an hour ago from the professor saying the more he thought about it, he decided to go back to his original plan of not giving students back their papers at all unless they wanted us to send it to them over the summer/get it back in the fall. But both your suggestions are really great ones, so maybe this thread will help somebody else in the future who runs into this problem. For the record, I was planning on taking option 6, TakeruK, since I think I had a pretty good case. As for my co-TA, well, he gets a bit anxious to impress our professor. The professor is both of our advisors and my co-TA thinks that doing things like showing his prowess to grade papers in 3 days will earn him some additional favor, I think. Also, he taught high school for several years before starting his PhD so I think he is used to his own way of doing things and sometimes runs on autopilot. He means well and apologized profusely to me after the professor walked away when he realized he put me in a bad position. He's just the kind of person who likes to take any chance to impress our advisor without always thinking things through first. Thanks again, TakeruK and Fuzzy!
  9. For 10-15 page undergrad papers, what seems like a reasonable turnaround timeframe for grading as a TA? My professor originally said that we TAs would not have to return our students' final papers at all before the end of the semester. If the students wanted them back, they'd have to give us an address to mail it to over the summer or instead, wait until they got back in the fall. However, today one of my fellow TAs suggested the idea that we get them done within 3 days and give them back before the final exam. When I said that wouldn't be feasible for me, the professor gave us one extra day (giving us 4 days to grade). Because I wasn't expecting this turnaround time, I hadn't budgeted time to grade during the days the professor wants us to, and I have multiple deadlines for other things the days before he wants us to give back the exams, meaning realistically I'd end up with less than 24 hours to grade. Had he told us this in advance, that would be one thing but changing his mind the week before at the suggestion of another TA who has a lighter workload is another. Do you think I can politely negotiate about the turnaround time?
  10. I think this sounds like a good plan. Things like this are often best communicated in person when you can read one another's tone, body language, and expressions. If he's as nice as people have said, it should go well! Good luck and congrats on starting your PhD!
  11. For those of you who teach at religiously affiliated institutions or who have very religious students, have you ever encountered them writing self-identifiying religious acronyms on their work? For example, I've seen Catholic students write "+JMJ+" (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph) and heard about Muslim students writing "PBUH" (peace be upon him) when referring to Muhammad. Do you think it's best to just ignore or instead to tell students that this isn't really appropriate for academic writing?
  12. Ah, yeah, that's annoying. Just curious, were you glad the prof didn't tell you until the next semester or do you wish he/she had told you while it was happening? Me personally, I think I'd want to know, but maybe the prof thought he/she was saving you a headache?