Sunday, November 8, 2015

Completely gone

After I recovered from my mystery illness, I got laryngitis.  I've never had laryngitis before.  This is not particularly fun.  I managed to teach for 20 minutes on Friday - just enough to cover the material for their quiz on Monday.  Yesterday it was gone.  I had no voice at all.  It's back a little today, but it's not good.  I'll have to keep resting it.  Can you imagine how hard it is for me not to talk or sing???

To assist me in resting my voice, Qualcomm has sent Mike to England.  So, now I have no one to talk to.  I'm trying to spend my time grading and creating tests, but the truth is I still don't feel 100%.  It's taking me so long to do anything.  I spent 8 hours one day just grading 19 students' ESL work.  Terrible.  Should have taken 2 hours.

Hope you're having a better weekend than I am!  Wish I were singing and chatting it up with the rest of you. I'll be back to my old tricks soon.  I feel it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A mystery illness strikes

I haven't been sick in almost two years, but Sunday night I started to go downhill.  I cancelled my class and stayed in bed all day yesterday with chills, fever, and pain all in my back and neck.  The occasional shooting pains throughout my body were amazing fun.  But the icing on the cake was the 102.4 fever that hit around 5 and didn't drop until 6.  It's been better since then, but I found a sub for my ESL class today.  I don't want to risk a relapse or making my students sick.  With any luck, tomorrow at 7 a.m. I'll be back in action.  In the meantime, I'm grading scads of papers and writing exams.  Might as well be productive, right?

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Being in education, particularly higher education, I have the opportunity to meet and connect with people from every conceivable background.  Throw in the fact that I work with ESL students, and I can't think of a more diverse experience.  Naturally, every professor, every teacher has varying philosophies on teaching and connecting with students.  My own philosophy - that students can learn a language better if they are comfortable and if we are friendly - seems to work for me, but it creates some odd moments at times, e.g. the student smoking an e-cigarette in class.  Even these odd moments create incredible laughs in the re-telling. Recently, I heard about one student yelling at another student in Arabic "all of it", but that expression sounds like "kill him" in English.  Some Americans heard it and called the police. 

So far, the best assignment has been a kind of transcription.  I gave the students "Imagine" by Nico & Vinz and "I Have a Dream" by Martin Luther King, Jr.  Their job was to write down all the words they understood.  Can you imagine what some of them heard! The most flubbed lyric in the song was:
My boat's so small and the ocean's so huge.

They wrote:
My boss so smart, and the ocean so huge
My ball's so small, hand ocean's so huge
My boat is so smart and the ocean so cute 

I need to find another song to have them work on.  This was so much fun to read.

This weekend I collected writings from the academic students.  Though some are a pleasure to read, they don't quite compare to the ESL writings.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Roller coaster

It's that time of the semester:  midterms!  That means it's been stressful and busy trying to fit students in.  I gave a major exam on Thursday and then another one today.  These exams just mean more grading and more late nights, but I'm very lucky to have students who distract me! 

Last week, I was invited by two of students to attend a concert at the university.  Their brother was required to go for a class, and they wanted to go as well.  Only three of us went from my speaking and listening class, but I had a great time and laughed and laughed with them.  It was quite therapeutic.  

In addition, our family is finished with radiation and with cancer (again).  We got the good news, and we celebrated with doughnuts.  Isn't that the American way to celebrate - with fatty foods?  

I hope the good times continue to roll along as the weather changes.  Sometimes change is good.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Barely staying ahead

My entire life feels like a treadmill of grading and prepping.  I'm only teaching two classes, and I'm looking at the folks teaching four and wondering, HOW!  Maybe it's because I'm new and all my classes are new and I'm determined not to just go straight through the text book.  Maybe it's because my expectations for myself are just as high as my expectations for my students.  I don't know, but I'm sure glad I don't have four classes.  I'm getting closer to finding my rhythm, but I'm just not there yet.

I gotta get it together.  I wanna have a life.