Wednesday, November 29, 2006

the marathon

It's all jjong-p'a-t'i from here on in-- I've got two more days of classes, then I'm off from December 2 to January 1. Well, not really off: I've got a ton of lesson planning to do for my CBI (content-based instruction) course, which will be about Greek mythology. I refused to teach history and economics, suggesting either basic religious studies or debate as alternatives.* For whatever reason, our big boss wants us to avoid discussing any "issues," which strikes me as ridiculous: without issues, there goes most of your content! This harks back to the old days when people assumed it was possible to approach any subject objectively. Sorry, folks, but bias is everywhere, even in the most neutral-sounding of lectures. I told my boss I'd do my best to keep things neutral and controversy-free, but fuck that-- I'm including meaty topics for discussion. (I also have to brush up on Greco-Roman mythology!)

Anyway, first things first. I'm cooking spaghetti sauce tonight and prepping a fondue appetizer. Both of these will be served to my best class, the 11am Level 3 conversation students. Their dedication has earned them the brass ring. Students will be providing drinks, a salad, and dessert. I'm looking forward to a hearty lunch. It's happening at just the right time, too: the weather's gotten cold enough for fondue.

My first class tomorrow morning, the Level 3 reading class that went bad on me, will enjoy a very simple breakfast of fruit, bread, and Nutella. I'm not even going to bother getting proper drinks for those jokers. They can buy their own damn drinks from the vending machine. God, that class disappoints me. The disappointment, as I probably mentioned earlier, stems from the fact that the class was going fairly well for much of the semester, then faltered as student endurance began to flag. They'll also be filling out teacher evaluation forms tomorrow. I don't expect good marks from them (the one or two who will show up; my colleague Z, who teaches conversation to the same group, had five of them today), and will be very surprised if I get anything that's not negative.

My other good class, a very good one, is my MWF 9am Level 1 group. The class reduced itself to four hardcore members, who seem quite devoted to the course. They're getting a full-on American breakfast on Friday morning: eggs, sausage, bacon, pancakes-- the works. It's gonna smell fockin' good in my classroom. Those students will also be bringing accessories: milk and juice, plus some fruit.

I had a jjong-party today with my Movie English class-- tons of bakery items, most of which got consumed during our viewing of the conclusion of "Hitch" and about 90% of "Good Will Hunting" as we ran overtime. That class was also quite fun, despite there being only two students. We played a game today: Predict the Ending! We had about 30 minutes of "Hitch" to get through; I had made up a sheet with twenty possible events, and my students had to check "yes" or "no" as to whether a given event would happen by the end of the film (e.g., Hitch gets slapped by Allegra). The score was close: one student got 13 points; the other had 11. Goes to show that Hollywood flicks are pretty predictable, especially when we're talking romantic comedies. We'd done an exercise about that very thing during a previous lesson: outline the Romantic Comedy Formula! I put my own up on the board while the students were busy writing out their formulae:

1. Boy meets Girl
2. Boy almost gets Girl (the good times; corny montage sequence)
3. Boy almost loses Girl (the bad times; corny and somber montage)
4. Boy gets Girl (with twists along the way)

Just once, I'd love to see someone break that formula: take a movie, start it off as a romantic comedy, then turn it into a gruesome, horrifying tragedy in which a tyrannosaurus appears and everybody dies. YEAH!

So now it's off to the kitchenette to create toothsome goodness.

*I was on the debate team for a short time in high school. Doesn't make me an expert, but I do remember that the "affirmative" team has to construct an argument that succeeds with five prima facie categories affectionately known as SHITS: Solvency, Harm, Inherency, Topicality, and Significance. The "negative" team's job is to rebut at least one of the five aspects of the affirmative team's argument. If they succeed, they win the debate.


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