Long story short: I have been busy. My husband was ill and ended up having pretty major surgery. That took all my time and energy for about six weeks. And, of course, I had to try to keep up with my classes and the class I am taking and… You get the picture.
But my husband is nearly recovered now, and I am pretty well caught up everywhere. I hope to get back to reading blogs and thinking and blogging about teaching. I am ready!
I am taking a class this semester dealing with online learning. We are just finishing a unit on motivation. Is it just me, or are a lot of papers written about motivation really boring? Even online sources we read were boring. The assignments we had to do for this module were boring.
Does the topic of motivation have to be boring? Do you have any suggestions where I might find interesting readings on the topic?
August is usually my favorite month. I love the start of the school year. I love buying school supplies. I love getting ready to face a new groups of students. This year, however, I am not looking forward to this month at all. It is largely because if the fact that I do not know how many, if any, students I will have.
I have planned all my courses, prepared all my syllabi, but it now appears that, if I have students at all, they will be at a lower level of proficiency than the courses are currently designed for. Not a huge deal. I can re-do the courses. But I am not going to do it until I know for sure what is going on. And that won’t be until the students arrive. They should be here before the end of next week so I can test them and we can get them registered. But I don’t think even one has a plane ticket yet.
This year I am not really looking forward to the month of August at all. I am actually just hoping to get through it!
Here it is, just over two weeks before I should be testing my new students for the fall, and I have no idea if I will have any. Some of my students from last semester should be returning, but I have no idea if their advisors will put them in ESL classes or not.
Since my program in Louisiana was closed in 2006, my professional life has been on a roller coaster. I am getting too old for this!
The semester is over. I have a million things to do, thin gs that need to be done sooner rather than later. But what am I doing? Trying to decide where I want to house my courses for the fall. I have my blog Nancy’s Classroom, my wiki, and today I started playing around with Kafafa, which I read about some time ago on Free Technology for Teachers. In addition, I have been using the learning management system at school.
One thing I discovered last semester was that using non-standard tools can be difficult for some students. Some of mine last semester loved using the blogs but they never got into the wiki. Others hated everything other than the university-sanctioned program they were used to. I know there is no way to make everyone happy, but I would like to try!
This coming year I am not going to be teaching in the language lab every day. I have found that it is great when I want them to actually do something on the computers, but otherwise, it is a terrible place to hold class. So I asked to teach somewhere else. And it will be good. But it means that I am going a little lower tech than I have been.
My students turn everything in electronically. So I could have them post everything to their own individual blogs again. That worked pretty good last fall. I think I like that option best. I can have most of the course on the wiki and then they can just do their work on the blog. I would then have to email them their grades. Drafts of papers become a little tricky, though.
The purpose of adding another website, the one on Kafafa is unclear to me. It looks a lot like the blog, actually. But I always seem to have to try everything!
Maybe what I need to do is use the blog for classes, keep the wiki for more long-term storage, and forget Kafafa. One new site is enough for students to have to learn is enough, I think!
Anyway, that is what I have been doing today instead of working on my more immediate projects. It has been fun, but I think it is time to get back to work!
Back about the first of the year my son and I decided to write a novel together. It has been a wonderful experience so far. We haven’t finished it yet, but we are about 2/3 of the way there. I just spent the entire weekend going over what we have written so far, looking for inconsistencies and typos and holes in the story. Tomorrow we start in again on the next chapter.
We have no illusions of writing the great American novel or anything. And while we wold love to see it get published, we aren’t holding our breath. We have approached this as a chance to collaborate on a project, to relate to each other on a different level. It has already been a huge success in that regard.
It also has been great for our writing. Ian Tregillis at the Jack Williamson Lectureship last month said that he decided to write a novel to improve his writing. I can really understand that; the same thing has happened to us. Nothing like 59,000 + words to make a difference — except maybe the next 59,000!
Anyway, this is a purely personal, egotistical post. But after sitting in front of the computer all weekend living through our characters in 13th century feudal Japan, I felt I needed a little pat on the back, even if I have to break my arm to get it!.
This semester has been a bad one in many ways, but now it is almost over. Two sets of papers are due this coming week. Graduation is next Saturday. Then I have a couple of weeks of trying to figure out what is going to happen over the summer. Will we have students for the summer programs? I doubt it. The university wants students who are coming for a TOEFL prep class to meet all the same requirements for admission as if they were coming to complete their degrees here - including submitting a TOEFL score! Somehow I don’t see anyone taking advantage of that marvelous offer! But I could be wrong.
Oh well… There is very little I can do about that but wait to see what the powers that be decide. That and I can get ready for the courses I know will take place in July and August and then, immediately on their heels, the fall semester. I feel like I am running behind already!
This is about to be my worst month ever in terms of posting to this blog. There are numerous reasons. I have been extremely busy at work designing brochures and setting up new programs. We are going to have 2 institutes this summer — if we can get the students. I have been in meeting after meeting and spent a ton of time trying to make sense of everything I have learned or that is decided in the meetings. Most of that is over now — except for the recruiting part!
I have also been busy writing. That is the distraction I am most happy with. My son and I are writing a novel. We have over 43,000 words so far. Most of it has been written since the middle of March. So while I haven’t been posting here much, I have been busy!
I am not sure why, but I have not been writing here much at all lately. I have been working on other writing projects, but I can’t honestly say that they have taken me away from blogging. I have been having some problems at work, which make me want to just escape when I get home. So I have been reading (21 books so far this year!) and watching movies on Hulu. Not much of a life but all I seem capable of right now.
That’s me. I am having a hard time motivating myself to go to work these days. Part of it, I know is some personal stuff that is going on, but a lot of it is the job.
We were reading in a textbook this afternoon about burn out. The students had a hard time getting it. And as I struggled to help them understand, I realized that I am feeling totally burned out. That is part of why I am not blogging as I would like to be, why I am not participating in an online course the way I want to be, and why I don’t seem to do much but read books.
This will pass, I am sure. But right now I am pretty disillusioned with it all.
Do you think I could earn a living reading?