Friday, September 27, 2013


Thursday was obviously a busy day for me—so busy, in fact, that I did the unthinkable and blogged nothing. Sorry about that.

8AM: Woke up to get ready for a French conversation with my goddaughter at 10AM (9PM the previous day, Virginia time). Not long after I woke up, I received a message from my goddaughter saying that she was sick and on her way to bed. I crawled back into bed and got an extra hour's sleep.

9:30AM: Take two. I got up, showered, dressed, and shuffled off to school for the first of several student appointments before my 3PM lesson.

11AM: Student appointment.

1PM: Another student appointment.

2PM: A student missed her appointment, leaving me extra time to grade some quizzes.

3PM-4:45PM: Class with my intermediates, who took their quiz and did a good job with the round-robin. Later in the day, I graded the students' quizzes, and... not a single "D" or "F"! That was a proud moment.

5PM-6PM: Student appointment. A group of four this time: as with the previous pair of students, they were there to learn how to teach. I'm not sure how well the session went; two out of four students could barely understand what I was saying. One student, in fact, had no clue even about the English alphabet. This was one of my two Chinese students, about whom I've written briefly before. Also in today's group was a girl who is truly vacuous: she fits the American stereotype of an airhead to a T. She chews gum, she talks in class when she's not supposed to, she's always reaching for her cell phone when she thinks I'm not looking, and she doesn't understand anything of what's happening around her (she was, in fact, the girl who missed her 2PM appointment with me). While she's not quite as bad at English as her Chinese classmate (this girl is Korean), her character prevents her from becoming a success.

6PM-11:20PM: Massive data entry: I had finally gotten most of my students to give me their email and phone contact information. I had also polled most of them about what projects they were going to do, and had asked them to tell me what teams they were members of (each class is divided into four teams). All of this information needed to be entered into my specially tailored Excel spreadsheet, along with the latest batch of quiz grades. I also had to check my students' progress with their online homework; this proved rather disappointing. A month has gone by, and many students still haven't even registered at the appropriate website to do their homework. I'll check my students' progress again this weekend; I had told the stragglers to catch everything up by this Saturday.

It's quite cool at night now. I enjoy my walks home in the dark. The campus is fairly quiet; the cars are relatively few. The days are still hot, but I can sense that the overall humidity is beginning, grudgingly, to yield to the advent of autumn. By mid to late October, lower temperatures ought to predominate.

Thursday was a long day. Friday promises to be long, too. More appointments.


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