Sunday, October 08, 2006

Thanksgiving update

It's a long weekend here and boy, am I thankful for that!

Here's an overall update:

School - Overall, I can't complain. We are 1/3 of the way through the semester. The stats class is going better than expected, though I have no delusions about ever being a statistician. My program partner, Steamer, and I end up spending a lot of time on the phone figuring out the material together. We are both glad we took the class together!

I am very happy this is my last mandatory class. I'm still trying to figure out if I will take an option in the winter or get started on my thesis proposal... I'll have to make a decision in the next couple of months, but there's lots of time yet...

Teaching - My class this semester is OK. I've had classes with worse group dynamics and those with a better dynamic. The boys who cheated on their homework came back to re-negotiate. I invited them to take the matter up with the department head, who was my M.A. thesis supervisor and I speak from experience when I say that he makes me look like a pussy cat. He'd chew them up and then spit them out with a vengeance in about 30 seconds flat. They declined my invitation and it ended there.

The deaf student struggles along, but will make it through, I think. He shows up every week religiously for extra help during office hours. (Way to impress the teacher!) We go over grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. He's not the best speller in the world, so we work on that too.

The pronunciation tutoring is a bit challenging for me, as I've never had training as a speech pathologist. Among the intstructors in our department I am among the more technical of them and can often explain where in the mouth the sounds are made and how to modify what someone is doing in order to make a vowel or consontant sound correctly. Having said that, this way of teaching comes somewhat naturally to me and drives the majority of students nuts as they "just want to talk". To have a student that soaks it all up and then wants more leaves me thinking, "Holy crap, man! I wasn't actually trained in this aspect of language! None of us were!" So, I am enjoying the challenge in that regard, as it makes me think about my teaching practice in new ways, as I have to find new techniques that will work successfully with this (and therefore, probably other) students.

Life on the homefront - We may have another addition to the household later in the semester.

No, I'm not pregnant. No, I am not getting another cat. We already know that 2 cats is the most a single girl should have before people start calling her "cat lady"... and that just wouldn't be good.

A colleague of mine needs a place to stay for about 6 months while his wife goes and hunts for a retirement property for them down east and he wraps things up at his job. It's a good fit, I think... He needs a furnished place and doesn't have much stuff and I have a furnished bedroom that sits empty most of the time. I think his personality will fit in well with the rest of the household (2 cats included) so... We'll see how it all shakes down, but at this point, it is looking like it will happen.

Fitness / health - Run / walk program continues -- very slowly, mind you, but that is OK. As usual, I don't want to jinx anything, so that is all I will say for now. But I will add that I am thoroughly enjoying the Garmin 305!

Still working out at the gym (which keeps me sane), taking yoga (which I adore) and going to the ice skating lessons (which I am positively useless at).

The cleanse continues, too. I went to a wedding in Banff yesterday and lunch was a divine buffet at the Banff Springs Hotel. I decided to have a "cheat meal" and enjoy the celebration. Lunch was indeed scrumptious. But a cheat meal in the middle of a cleanse? Bad idea -- especially considering that I'd still taken the herbal supplements that are part of the cleanse. Bad, bad idea. Needless to say, I'm back to being strict today. Cleanse finishes up on Thursday. So, next Friday, I have dinner plans! Oh yeah!

Thanksgiving celebrations - The wedding yesterday in Banff was beautiful. Only about 20 people and it is nice to see a couple so happy and right for each other. I suspect they'll make it into old age together, which always warms the heart. I must say though, it was the first time I'd attended an outdoor wedding in October! The bride got her wish and there were just a few flakes of snow that fell. There we all were in dress clothes and outdoor jackets (though I was the only one who had gloves for some reason...), seeing our breath in the chilly fall air as we walked to the place where the ceremony was held. The bride is a true Canadian - sleeveless dress and a white fur stole... beautiful!

Tomorrow I'll head up to Red Deer to spend the day with my brother. He is a terrific cook and makes a mean turkey. We'll be be joined his girlfriend, Lisa, and I'm looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the day with them. (And just in case you're wondering, most of a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner is "cleanse friendly"... I'll pass on dessert this time around, but otherwise, I'm all for turkey and veggies!)

And with that, I need to get back to correcting this big pile of Spanish tests in front of me... Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


backofpack said...

I love your update posts. It sounds as though life is ticking along beautifully for you. I'm jealous of your visit to Banff - I've been there once and it was beautiful. Good luck on the rest of the cleanse, and with that ongoing exercise program.

Sarah said...

Happy Thanksgiving! : )

sissoula said...

I love how teachers mark time by semesters! I'm glad everything's going well.

I'm also glad you mentioned the cheaters again, because I wanted to add my two cents about that (it's a lot easier to read a blog one-handed than to write). I grew up with the same honor code that you're admirably enforcing, that prizes individual integrity above all else. Well, it's funny that you mention working together with your program partner on assignments, because that's exactly how "sharing" is viewed here in Greece -- not as cheating, but as pooling resources to the betterment of one's fellow human. Here "honor" leans toward benefitting the group, not the individual.

I don't think copying is right in any case, and I'm not any less strict with my students than you are with yours. But I have to keep in mind these cultural differences. Cheating is a big problem here, made bigger by the fact that it's not really considered a problem at all.

Turtle Guy said...

Life is full and rich, isn't it... wow!

Sarah Elaine said...

Sissoula - Just to clarify, Steamer and I don't do our assignments together. We go over the textbook readings and try to make sense of the main concepts and key words. But the assignments? Nah, baby. That's just me and my laptop! ;-)

Your insights on the cultural differences re: cheating are indeed illuminating!

olga said...

Happy holidays! And enjoy grading Spanish papers:)

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Sarah.

wthenrest said...

Hey who was marrying? ...YEAH Foood!!! What are you hankering for????

Granny said...

Been reading backward through your posts and catching up.

Glad you're doing so well.