Monday, April 29, 2013

Not quite "Wait, what?" but still interesting...

Crafting has taken a back seat to teaching - as it should, since I get paid way more for the latter :)

Here are some interesting things that have happened the past week in class.

In my culture class this week, we are going to be "celebrating" some major American holidays. I put the students in groups by country and told them they would have to give a small presentation on a major holiday in their culture - we were going to "celebrate" some of their holidays as well. Here is a short snippet of a conversation with the Saudi Arabian group.

Student: I have a question.
Me: What's up?
Student: I think we want to do the holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan.
Me: Cool.
Student: During that holiday we kill a sheep...
Me: Is this the holiday from summer when you asked me where you could find a sheep to kill yourself? (True story)
Student: Yes.
Me: You can not kill a sheep in class!
Student: I know. Can we show a video? There's just a little blood, it's not bad.
Me: No, sorry, no videos of killing animals in class.

Today, during the break in my reading/writing class, I looked up to see one of my Chinese students standing awkwardly in the aisle of the classroom and one of my Japanese students squatting down behind him, looking quite intently at his bum.

Me: Umm...gentlemen...whatcha doing?

Apparently, the Chinese student's pants had Japanese writing on them, and the student was trying to read and translate it. Not very exciting, but it is a very strange mental image for sure.

There's always something new and different going on in my classrooms...

In crafting news, I'm currently finishing up a flowered scarf for me (about time I get one too!), and planning a peacock themed baby shower for my best friend - complete with crafting invitations, buntings, games, and such. Good times!

Now, I'm off to run a few errands before picking up the boy from school.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Teaching Curveball

Today is one of those days where I am reminded that God has a sense of humor.

Today, we were scheduled to read an article in our textbook about animal communication, and teaching animals sign language/

Today, we were going to watch videos of Washoe the chimp and Koko the gorilla use sign language to communicate.

Today, I woke up with no voice. Instead of canceling class (I am not feeling very sick), I decided to work the situation into my lesson.

At the beginning of class, I wrote this note on the board:
My voice is shot. What does "shot" mean?

The students discussed among themselves and came up with the correct answer - that it meant I had no voice and couldn't talk well.

I then wrote on the board:
If I can't talk, how can I communicate?

The students, again, came up with some good answers - body language, gestures, eye contact, writing.

Can animals talk?

Students - no. (Well, most students said said his dog can talk, and another mentioned birds.)

How do they communicate?

Students - sound, smell, body language.

What are some examples of sounds?

While I was looking for the names of the sounds animals make (bark, meow, etc.) my students proceeded to actually make animal sounds, which was awesome.

Can animals use gestures?

Students - unsure. This is where we read the article and watched the videos.

I did let my students go a little early today, my voice just couldn't take me pushing it anymore than I already had (I had my conversation class right before my reading/writing class). They left with a small packet of weekend homework, which I'm sure the extra hour of free time helps make up for.

Today, I'm almost glad I have no voice. It added a new element to my lesson that helped make things a little more interesting. Gave me questions to ask that I wouldn't have thought about had I not lost my voice. Most importantly, it reminded me that God knows what's going on in my life, and every once in a while throws me a curve ball that ends up making things better.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Rushing Around

My schedule at work has changed around a little bit this quarter. The union has agreed to let adjunct faculty teach up to 14 credits per quarter (yay!), and I'm currently teaching 13 credits for the first time. I have one 10 credit class that meets everyday for two hours, and one 3 credit class that meets on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for one hour. I'm looking forward to the paycheck, but my new schedule is taking a bit of getting used to.

I feel like I'm constantly rushing around. I used to have two hours before class and one hour after class to use for planning, grading and errands. That has been cut down by addition of the second class, and I've been trying to figure out how to best use my time. Right now, I feel like I am always rushing from task to task and place to place. This is not a good situation for me, and I know it. So, I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to do.

 I've decided to use my two hours before class on Mondays to plan out my entire week. I will put documents into separate folders for each day and add little sticky notes of the things I would like to accomplish on that particular day. That way, all I have to do each day is pull out the papers for that day, make copies, and scan my sticky notes before class. I'm very thankful that I'm teaching one class that I have taught a couple of times before, so there is not a whole lot of prep work. Now, I must rush off to class :) Here's to a more relaxed week! I'll let you know how it works out.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Wait, what!?

Here is another "wait, what!?" moment from my life as an ESL teacher.

I learned yesterday that Saudi Arabians like to go camping and hunting...with cheetahs!

Wait, what!? Cheetahs! Used for hunting?

"Yes," my student responded. "They're fast!" Umm, no kidding! :)

Note: According to the students, cheetah's are illegal to have in Saudi Arabia, but they are smuggled in as cubs from Africa. Other Saudi students were surpised by this, so it doesn't appear to be a common occurance.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Back at it!

Spring Quarter started today...

It was a rough start for me...dropped Elijah off at daycare with no shoes. And of course, the ones I have in his cubby were too small...I had to be at work early, and there was no time to run home and grab, Elijah got some cool new kicks! That boy loves new shoes! He went around and showed all his friends after I put them on him. Funny kid!

Meeting the class on the first day is always a little nerve-wracking, but I think it will be a good class. I have a few repeaters (and hopefully, they'll show up to class for more than half the quarter), and a student I had in a different class a couple of quarters ago. We are in a lecture hall class, and only have 22 students, so that is a little odd, but we'll make it work.

I meet my second class tomorrow. I will have three former students (who are taking the class simply because I'm teaching it - that makes a teacher feel good), and the rest are all Japanese students from our sister school. Generally a tough crowd to teach, simply because they show respect by not talking. They are used to listening to lectures and taking notes. I like discussion, so it's a change of pace for them, and like pulling teeth for me. I don't take it personally.

I'm glad to be back, but I'm also already looking forward to summer...only 11 more weeks :)