Sunday, November 14, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
One had a family business emergency (will be out only this term, or so we hope).
Two found a full-time job for the duration of the school year.
One found a full-time job for at least this quarter.
One moved with her husband as he starts his PhD program in Toledo.
One is starting a PhD program at Kent State.
One called Friday morning (9/24 -- and the Basic English term starts Monday 9/27) to let me know she had found out Thursday evening that she'll have to have back surgery within 2 weeks.
Our term starts tomorrow. I think we’re ready to go.
I hope so, because at 8:00 a.m., we’ll be going, whether we’re ready or not.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Us: “Third floor.”
Confused-looking student (pointing upward): “So, that way?”
D: “Yes, you can take the elevator.”
Confused-looking student: “OK.”
He then wandered toward the elevator, turned around and ambled out of the building.
At that point, he wasn't the only confused one.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
There is a great deal of difference between knowledge of a subject and ability to impart that knowledge to others.
What certificate or degree programs in TESOL can give you is the knowledge of best practices in the field. Only you can know if you have the passion and the drive to work with Basic ESL students -- and that can be the most rewarding, frustrating, energizing, exhausting, wonderful experience in the world for those who do have that drive.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
I’m not sure why I’m doing this, but who knows? Someday, in a rather bizarre research situation, it may be useful data.
But probably not.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
In one class, a student had an eraser that worked in the same way as a mechanical pencil; clicking on the top of the plastic tube gave the user some more eraser to use. One of my students thought this was wonderful and asked where to get it. The first student replied that he'd bought it at the drugstore.
B: Then I will go to the drugstore today and ask to buy one of those rubbers.
Me: It's called an 'eraser' here in the U.S.
B: Yes, yes, of course. I will ask to buy that kind of rubber.
Me: No, you really need to call it an eraser here in the U.S.
B: They will understand in the drugstore when I say I want to buy a rubber.
Me: (sighing) Please step out into the hall with me for a moment.
I explained what the word "rubber" refers to in the U.S. -- and particularly if one asks for one in a drugstore! -- and watched her eyes widen to the size of dinner plates.
B: Eraser. Eraser. Eraser. Eraser?
Me: Yes, eraser.
B: (mumbling as we went back into the classroom) Eraser, eraser, eraser ...
One example of this occurred several years ago in my ESL 097 class. Two students were having a discussion in their native Gujarati during break. I didn't listen until I heard a term code-switched in -- which is when the conversation became interesting.
P: .......................... full-time or part-time?
B: .................................. part-time .............. full-time.
P: (looking very surprised) ..............part-time?
B: (looking completely smug) ............... *part-time*.
P: YOU SUCK!
Monday, August 9, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
The other day I got a call from a friend as she was in the drive-through line at Jack in the Box. A small soda was $1.49, a medium was $1.89 and a large was $1.79. She wanted to know which one I thought she should buy.
At a local teacher supply store, I found dry-erase markers for $.99 each, or 4 for $5.00.
And the family favorite – Years ago, Mom was at the grocery and noticed that two half-gallon jugs of milk cost less than a single one-gallon jug. She asked a store employee why that was. The employee promptly replied, “Oh, it’s because the gallons are on sale.”
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
She explained that she simply didn't like them and said I couldn't make her use them.
It's the only time I've met someone with a genuine negative emotional reaction to a diacritic. It wouldn't surprise me if she had some other quirks as well.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
This is the second time one of my ESL 100 students has done that, and I think it's a very kind thing for one student to do for another. It's truly giving with no thought of return, just to help another person in a difficult situation and make it a little easier for that person to be successful in class.
The class has students from the following countries (one each unless indicated):
So far, it looks to be a pretty great class.
We're doing something a little different with the curriculum, so it will be a learning process for everyone in the classroom. But then again, it's always a learning process. I learn something every quarter -- about the students, about the world, about my teaching... Just one of the many reasons I enjoy it.
Friday, July 2, 2010
A student asked what floor Room 315 was on; I told him it was on the third floor and pointed toward the elevators.
A moment later I looked over to where he was more or less hanging out of the elevator, holding it open and waving to get my attention so he could ask me, "Did you say Room 315 was on the first floor or the second floor?"
Yes, we were already on the first floor.
As I said, they are young, but they are still adults, which means they've probably had the opportunity to be in multi-story buildings before. So why have they not made this connection before they reached adulthood? Is it a lack of ability to observe? Difficulty with critical thinking? Insecurity when going to a new place?
There is probably a combination of these elements at work in most of these students, which is yet another indication of the failure of their prior education to prepare them for what would come after high school. If they can just manage to find the right room on the right floor, maybe they will be able to overcome that past and move upward.
As long as there is someone available to point them in the direction of the elevator.
Just after reading a friend's post about her son's summer camp, I happened to notice this on my grocery receipt: "Camp Chicken Noo".
The knowledge that it referred to the soup I had bought didn't keep me from wondering just what kind of activities there might be at Camp Chicken Noo.
Could be an interesting place.
Monday, June 28, 2010
127 - Where is my classroom? / Where is room #...? / Where is building ___?
22 - Need temporary parking pass
9 – Location of restroom
8 - Check schedule (2 of these students were actually here on the wrong day)
4 – Questions about room changes
3 – How do I get to the third floor by the stairs? (NOT a silly question. The main staircase leads into offices at the third floor, so the door is kept locked to keep students out of the office area. There are signs that tell students this, but the signs are small and easy to miss.)
3 – Where do I go to register? (In that office you just walked past, with the foot-tall orange letters that read “Non-Credit Registration”)
3 – Location of bookstore
3 – Need program information
3 – Location of person or program office
2 – Is there a student computer lab in this building? (No, there isn’t.)
2 – Can I apply for jobs here? (Name of building led them to think this was an employment agency)
1 – Where is a close parking lot?
1 – Where to get a student ID
1 – Location of Financial Aid
1 – Location of Cashier’s Office
1 – Location of phone
1 – Location of somewhere to eat
1 – Need name of street
1 – What is this building for?
1 – Vending machine not working
1 – Is this the WD building? (Yes, it is.)
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Now, this would normally concern me a lot, except that the teacher in question had been telling me about this student all term -- came to class irregularly at best, never did his homework, was never prepared for class, was sullen, seldom participated, and so on.
So I asked H. to sit down and I called up the spreadsheet with his attendance for the term.
I told him, "Well, it looks like you didn't come to class at all during weeks 4, 5 and 6. And you came only once a week for the rest of the quarter."
He said he actually meant the quarter *before*this last one. I asked if that was the case, why hadn't he come to me before that? I further suggested that he might do better by attending class more frequently and doing the assigned homework. (In teacher-talk, we call these "success strategies".)
Curiously, that didn't keep him from throwing his certificate down on my desk and stalking out.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
I replied that this student needed to complete and sign a FERPA (Family Educational Records and Privacy Act) form and return it to me so that I could release the information. Simple enough, yes?
I soon got a response from the official that there was no need for the student to sign a form. I needed to provide the information in accordance with German federal law.
Honestly, at times it's hard to maintain a professional demeanor. I had a terribly big urge to write her back and say, "Um, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but y'all lost the war."
Instead, I politely explained that I appreciated her situation, but I was bound by U.S. federal law. Fortunately, she got the message and agreed to contact the student to have the form signed and returned to me.
Sometimes I'm very proud of my self-control.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Sometime before Tara was to appear on the scene, a young woman came to the door - a sales person for a ‘strollachair’. Not only would it be a stroller, but it would convert into 13 other pieces: play table, etc. As nicely as Mommy-to-be could, she indicated no interest (the very idea of spending a toddler’s days converting equipment into other uses was daunting to say the least).
The saleswoman pursued, wanting to know what time Daddy-to-be would be home from work, that she did so want us to just see the slide show of Hugh Downs demonstrating the many uses. Mommy gave in and set a time.
When she showed up, she was not alone (apparently Mommy’s 38+ years had indicated to her she would not be dealing with a couple of young marrieds); her supervisor was with her. From the outset, it was obvious the supervisor was indeed going to show the young lady how to make a sale.
We watched the show and listened to the spiel. It went something like this:
Q. “Now, you see it comes in two colors, aqua and gray; which do you like best?”
A. (Daddy) “Gray.”
Out came the order book.
(In unison) “But we don’t want it.”
Q. (To Daddy) “I know you want your wife to have whatever she wants for the baby.”
A. (Daddy) “Oh, yes.”
A. (Mommy) “But I don’t want it.”
Daddy remarked that the construction was very good.
Sure enough, the order book appeared again.
(In unison) “But we don’t want it.”
Q. (In a very confidential tone) “Do you know that some couples who don’t even make their payments on their TVs will make their payments on this?”
A. (Daddy) “Oh, that’s no problem; if we wanted it we would pay cash for it.”
By this time, the supervisor must have realized she was dealing with a couple long familiar with the A, B, Cs of selling, so she began to dig in. There was a deal to include a crib (which Mommy and Daddy were not going to buy). In a very strident voice, “If you’ll buy tonight, I’ll pay for the mattress out of my own pocket!”
(In unison) “But we don’t want it.”
Then, came what was supposed to be the clincher, “If anything should happen to the baby, God forbid, here’s an Act-of-God Guarantee; your money would be refunded.”
(In unison) “But we don’t want it.”
Less-than-cordial goodnights were said. Daddy and Mommy had the distinct feeling the supervisor had a big urge to slam the door.
After Tara was born, a young lady arrived one day to sell a set of Little Golden Book Encyclopedias.
As she walked in, she looked around and said, “Oh, I can see you like nice things.” I had the definite suspicion she would have said the same thing if my decor had included burlap bags and orange crates.
I let her give her spiel and gave her a “No.”
Using a confidential tone, she said, “Now some women just take the payments out of their household money and their husbands never know about it.”
I came back with, “Of course that would not be a problem; if I wanted it, I would pay cash.”
As I remember, she didn’t know quite where to go from there - except out.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
When I was teaching college Spanish, it wasn't surprising to have a number of students vanish by the third week. Sometimes they dropped; sometimes they just stopped coming and forgot to drop.
Therefore, I didn't think anything of it when this particular young woman disappeared from my class in the second week. I was surprised, however, when half an hour into class during the eighth week, she walked into class and rather noisily headed toward an empty seat, saying, "Sorry. My bus was late."
I thought, but somehow managed not to say, "Your bus was six weeks late?"
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
"If I get on the elevator and I want to go up, what button do I push?"
As far as the other questions, here's how they sort out so far (after 2 days):
- Where is the Noncredit Registration Office? 3 (It opens onto the lobby and has orange letters a foot tall above the door to identify it.)
- Where is Room ##? / What floor is Room ## on? How do I get to Room ##? 109
- Is there a student computer lab in this building? 3 (Answer = no.)
- How do I get a temporary parking pass? 5
- How do I get a student ID? 1
- Where can I buy ... books / calculator...? 1
- Where is a vending machine? 1
- How do I get to the basement? 1
- Where is the restroom? 6
- Can you check my schedule for what room I'm supposed to go to? 7
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
D. asked each student, "What do you always do in the morning?"
One student responded, "I always drink tea in the morning."
The next one also said, "I always drink tea in the morning."
Now, there's always the chance in drills like this that a student is just imitating the successful response of the previous student rather than giving a meaningful answer, so D. decided to probe.
"You always drink tea?" he asked. "You don't drink coffee?"
The student was very sure of his reply. "I always drink tea," he said. "I never drink coffee. Gives me gas."
Friday, January 8, 2010
Where is my class room? Where is [X] building? 173
Where is the new employee orientation? 4
How do I get on the internet? 1
I need to know my schedule. 5
Where do I buy books? 1
Where is the restroom? 4
I need a temporary parking pass. 11
Where is a change machine? 2
Where is a vending machine? 2
Where is a public phone? 1
Other information needed. 2
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Saturday, January 2, 2010
I no can’t go to class tomorrow because my stove is no work.
I no’t class tomorrow because my sink is broken.
People keep dreaming and thinking of their own dreams and do their best inorder to fullfil there dreams and make them true and so to reach their gaol, but in some cases these dreams are broken and will not come true, thus people get disappointed and their lifes is screwed.