Saturday, January 09, 2010

Saturday Adventures in Letter Writing

As the entire city is still snowed in, as some still still remains two days after the blizzard (and temperatures won't be back up in the 50s until the end of next week), I figured that I might as well work on the letter of recommendation for Scott. Also, I am a bit conflicted about the socks that I'm knitting, so I don't know whether to work on them or to rip one out and start again. The yarn is that self-patterning yarn, and I started Sock 1 at a particular point in the stripe-pattern and knit about 2 inches. I decided that I liked the needles I was using (they were new), so I went to the yarn store yesterday (braving the snow) and bought another set of the same needles. When I got home, I started on Sock 2. Unfortunately the yarn from Skein 2 began just a little bit after the point in the stripe-pattern where Skein 1 started. I'm thinking that with the textured pattern that I'm using (brick stitch) for knitting the socks that no one will notice (also since when I am wearing the socks most of the sock will be either inside my shoe or hidden by my pants leg and who really looks that closely at my socks, anyway?), but I can't decide how much it will bug me. Do I rip out all 2.5" of Sock 1 so that I can re-start Sock 1 at the same point in the yarn-striping where Sock 2 begins?

So instead of knitting, I might as well work on writing the letter for Scott.

Scott hasn't given me a lot to go on. His initial email was sent after the last day of classes (even after the last day of finals!), and the letters are due before the first day of classes in the spring. I have never sat in and observed one of his classes, and now I don't have the opportunity to, even if I wanted to. Also his teaching statement can pretty much be boiled down to, "I taught some low-level freshmen, and I really wanted them to learn some math. It turned out OK, I think. Then I taught a calculus class that has placement restrictions that limit the enrollment to the top 15% of the freshmen class, and that was awesome!" The section of his CV about teaching dwells on irrelevant details. No one cares which classes were 50 minutes per class three days a week and which ones were 75 minutes per class two days a week.

Fortunately, my summer job gives me training in the writing of hyperbolic letters of recommendation, even about people who I am temporarily annoyed at, so I should be able to write a fair and balanced letter. Also working against Scott is that the other letter that I wrote recently was for a supah-stah. In Scott's favor, I have never dealt with a student complaining about his class.

As I've already had three cups of tea and eaten breakfast (and a snack) and scrubbed grime off the dishwasher, I suppose that I should just get to writing the letter. Or maybe there is something to be done about that sock.