I do still have a few things to work out for the start of the semester, but at this point it’s more the semester happening than me preparing for it! I’m going to mark this goal done. Not sure yet if I’m going to have a task-oriented list-y goal this fall, but I’m sure I will figure it out in the next two weeks or so if I need one. 10 months ago
Get rewarded for your shopping skills on Shop for Fun
Print remaining items for Monday class
- Open Blackboard site and unlock relevant materials
Figure out what I changed my computer log-in to
- Print rosters for Monday class
- Put together teaching bag
Prep for meeting Pick up hire letter, keys, parking pass Paperwork for Pro-D Meet re: project Do additional work needed on project before meeting Pick up some food to contribute to the meeting
- Finish and print syllabus for Tuesday class
- Complete lesson plan for Tuesday class
- Finish and print day 1 materials for Tuesday class
- Finish and open Blackboard site
- Go to library and check on DVD watching procedure
- Print rosters for Tuesday class 10 months ago
early in the summer, because the last few weeks have been all wedding and honeymoon, and no planning!
I did complete the syllabus for Monday’s class (I think) and sent it in for printing. I watched one of the videos my colleague gave me while I was at my parents’ house (I don’t have a VCR) and decided to use it in class. The library has a DVD the students can watch in viewing rooms there.
I have one partially completed syllabus to go and lots of prep for tomorrow’s meeting, plus the other documents that need to be sent to printing for Day 1 – we’ll see what I’m actually able to get done. It is a bit of a shock coming back so close to the start of the semester, but I did plan it this way for various reasons, so I have to keep this in mind. 10 months ago
but progress is slow. I’m writing a lot of new materials and I think they’ll be helpful. Truth be told, I’m going to run out of time at some point and I’m not sure I’ll be as conscientious about creating my materials after that, but at least I’ll have a good solid beginning to my course that I can keep building on.
I’m a bit nervous that I haven’t put much time into my new course, but I still think I’ve made the right decision for how to spend my time. I have a textbook for my new course, and I can rely on that more or less heavily, depending on what my schedule and energy allows. 11 months ago
I think Week 1 of the main course is prepared. (Materials and planning container for Blackboard.) I hope the other course (and the other weeks of this course) don’t take as long, because it has taken me forever to get to this point.
I think the other weeks will be faster, since back in Week 1 of last semester, I had no idea what I was doing. lol
I’m really happy with what I’ve put together, and I think it will be a solid foundation for the other weeks of the semester to build upon. 11 months ago
With a new course to teach and no textbook for my other course, I definitely have lots to do on my “vacation”.
I have access to the Blackboard container for my core class, and I’ve requested (and received) a “development container” so I can set up the course more completely in advance and just copy it each semester into the course container. I’ve imported the general template and need to start modifying it so that it will work for me.
I don’t yet have access to the Blackboard container for my elective class, but I can definitely start working on the syllabus and calendar for that course more completely.
I wish I had a month after the wedding to work on this… but I don’t, so I just have to suck it up. 12 months ago
I got a bunch of documents related to my new course and saved them all diligently, but am still figuring out how I want the course to be.
I redid the syllabus for my core class (still missing a couple of details, but more or less redone) and started the syllabus for my new elective.
I contacted one of the full-timers and found out how to get a development container for Blackboard so I can make a template that I can use in future semesters.
I put my classes into my calendar.
It’s a start, but I’m realizing how much needs to be done. I think summer vacation really is an illusion. :) 12 months ago
my Blackboard container is now available for my new course. Setting it up will be very important since it will be a major resource in my course (which doesn’t use textbooks). It would probably be good to get that done now rather than right before or after the wedding…
Summer vacation was an illusion, wasn’t it? 12 months ago
Well, hurrah! I have finally succeeded in picking up another class for next semester. It is about ideal – a 3-unit listening and speaking class, so it takes me to max load for an adjunct but shouldn’t be too much extra grading. It should take me to a financial level where I can start contributing to our household again financially speaking, and will hopefully still leave time and energy for teaching yoga.
I will probably officially bow out of the language school subbing business, although I will continue to do exam consulting for now. This part of my resolutions is working out quite well.
I will be getting an orientation to the course tomorrow, and then will have to order my books. I decided not to have any books for my other class. I will make them read short stories and articles this semester and see how that goes. Hopefully if they read less we can spend more time working on it and also can spend more time on the grammar, which they really, really need! 12 months ago
I was able to get my hands on four candidates for next semester’s book today. I have to pick one as soon as possible, which means narrowing them down and then reading the one I think is the best option and seeing how it goes.
One good option is Outcasts United, suggested by Colleen_ C _C. Immediately in the first few pages, I see a good selection of sentence structures and verb tenses. The level of vocabulary and storytelling seems about right. It is kind of journalistic in tone, but I think the story will be engaging, and soccer is a topic that many people are interested in. Additionally, it addresses the refugee experience, which some (but not all) of my students are living, and I think the personal stories will be engaging enough, even if they don’t like soccer. I may have students from some of the same countries as the students in the book, and they might feel interested to see their country featured and excited to see a book about what it’s like to be a refugee in America. I hope they don’t find the book too similar to their experience in the sense that they don’t get anything new from it. I don’t think so, but I wonder if it challenges them enough to make connections. It deals with some difficult but relevant topics, and it could bring up some bad memories. I think if approached with sensitivity it could be OK. I will need to read it to know more.
The Cellist of Sarajevo was suggested on a book list I found online. It is, of course, about war – so it could be relevant to my students, and could also bring up some bad memories. I’m worried about how graphic the war descriptions are. I know that the other books suggested by the Chair have some graphic violent images in them, and I’m less worried about war violence than about sexual violence, as I’ve explained. It seems advantageous in some ways that it is not about a culture any of my students are likely to be from, and yet addresses aspects of their experience. The range of grammar seems good, though a bit literary (therefore difficult) at times. The vocabulary seems difficult in some parts. Overall, it may simply be too challenging for my students.
West of Kabul, East of New York was on the same book list. It’s interesting in that the author explores his relationship to two worlds: Afghanistan, and America. I would say the key audience is Americans, though, and one purpose of the book seems to be explaining Afghanistan to Americans. I’m not sure if my students would relate, and there is a big section explaining about Islam. I’m not sure how that would go over with my many Christian students who fled persecution in a Muslim country… I have already been accused this semester of being prejudiced against Christians… That’s probably not relevant, but I’m just not sure my students are the target audience for this book anyway… Linguistically speaking, it does have a useful range of structures. The vocabulary level varies. It doesn’t seem as “teachable” as Outcasts United though.
Reading Lolita in Tehran, also suggested by Colleen_ C _C, seems provocative, probably in a good way, but I wonder if the many references to various works of literature scattered throughout the text would pose a teaching challenge. The subtleties of the language might also pose a problem. I think the combination of high-level vocabulary with literary references makes it too difficult for this class to read on their own in a semester, considering the limited class time we can devote to supporting their learning.
Having “talked” this out here, I think I’ll start reading Outcasts United more thoroughly and see what I think. There are tons of teacher resources on the website too. 12 months ago
I enjoyed basing my course around a novel last semester. I wanted to do the same next semester, but with a different book.
I asked the Department Chair if he could recommend one, and he said The Kite Runner and The Unwanted have both been used successfully. I’ve read The Kite Runner and thought it was very good, but it’s quite long and includes the rape of little boys, among other heavy things. I’m not sure I’m comfortable dealing with that. So I got The Unwanted used on Amazon and started reading it. It was heavy, but a good read, and I was thinking of ordering it for my class. Then, rape of a woman was insinuated and there was an abortion and attempted abortion, and then on pg. 130, the little boy gets raped.
You have got to be kidding me. :(
Isn’t there a slightly more inspirational and uplifting multicultural or immigrant story? I mean, it’s OK if it deals with serious subject matter. The one we read last semester followed the main character through some pretty horrific childhood events and my students enjoyed it (except one said it was too depressing). But there wasn’t any rape, just run-of-the-mill abuse and neglect and poverty.
Maybe I’m more sensitive than some other teachers, but I simply don’t want to have to explain or discuss the rape scenes when we get to that part of the book.
I’m late on my book order now (and I could just not order a book, but I’d like to). I did a Google search for immigrant and multicultural books appropriate at the high school level. (I teach college level, but the students are non-native speakers so something a bit simpler in structure is probably better – also I hope if it’s recommended for high school, it doesn’t include rape.) Anyway, I found a couple of possibilities and both are available at the public library, so I’ll pick them up tomorrow and try to get started reading them as fast as I can so I can vet them and hopefully pick one.
Seriously, what the heck?! :( 12 months ago
- Provide more methodical “how to” guidelines for everything (ex. a topic sentence includes a reference to the main topic AND the specific topic of each paragraph, giving them specific guidelines for the thesis structure and conclusion structure, etc.)
- Require a five ring binder with dividers in the materials. Do binder checks and give homework points for having materials organized. (Sad but it needs to be done)
- Start course by going over basic Word processing skills in the lab
- Have students do more analysis of their own essay – maybe have a regular homework assignment for each grammar point
- Be stricter about outlining and work on it more
- Give a list of correction codes and test them on it
- Do more editing practice and error correction
- Possible change to the portfolio format – have them rewrite one or more essays and write about the process
- More paraphrase – and start doing it before introducing the concept of inserting it into an essay
- More models of essays – possible topics: why students fail ESL 106, features of a winning essay, etc.
- More handouts on transitions and how to use them
- More quizzes – grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing skills
- Grammar: have students read and do exercises first and come to class more prepared – more specific guidelines and more structured scheduling
- Timed reading and writing exercises
- Do the grammar hunts and journals I intended to do this semester
Of course, I don’t know how I will fit all that in, but I know that all of these ideas would be helpful. Something to think about this summer. 13 months ago
Ouch! 60% of my class failed the reading final. The lowest score from a student who showed up to take the test was 32%. I did have a student get 96% though.I need to ask myself if I prepared them for this. We certainly read lots of material at level. I feel this grade partially reveals some weaknesses on the student side.
- My class in general is very low for the level, and I have had concerns the whole semester about how they passed the previous level. I don’t want to cast blame, but I have to wonder. I have taught the previous level and suspect the students would not have passed my class. The students who I feel are at level did pass the final. My class is small – only 12 students left and only 11 took the final – so it doesn’t take that many failures in total number to drop the percentage.
- My class was terrible about doing their reading homework in particular. I teach nights, so many of my students work during the day and they tended to shirk their assignments. Particularly when it came to reading, I could tell that they were not preparing as instructed.
- I need to spend more time teaching them how to read effectively and how to do homework – starting from a much more basic level. My students have very poor academic skills overall. I need to be more explicit.
- I need to find ways to assign grades to them for preparing the readings so that there are consequences when they do not.
- I need to do more practice in class with the types of questions on the reading final.
- I need to do a better job of student counselling earlier in the semester. It’s always hard the first time you teach a class because you’re trying to figure out if you have the level right before counseling the students.
- I need to be more “ballsy” about the amount of work I assign and not back down, no matter how nasty the students get. I would like to check in with other teachers and see what they do. A former colleague sent me a link to her public blog for this course, which includes details of the homework assignments and resources she provided her students. I will be adding some of this material to my Blackboard container next semester. 13 months ago
one of my summer tasks does have to be getting ready for the next semester.
Immediately, I need to figure out and order any books that are required for my students from the bookstore. I think I won’t go with a textbook once again, but I would like to order a novel. I got some recommendations from the department chair and I’m checking one of them out as soon as possible.
I’ve made a list of things I wish I’d done differently this semester, and as soon as I have the chance, I need to put that into a form I can work with so I don’t forget those thoughts. Eventually I will need to work on setting up my Blackboard course (once it becomes available to me), syllabus, and materials for the semester. I hope to be able to improve on this semester quite a bit.
Of course, I’m getting married and going on honeymoon just before the semester starts, so ideally I’d get going on this quite early this year. :) 13 months ago