Teaching two classes in a summer session is not for the faint of heart. I’m extremely grateful for the work, but the pace is really difficult. If it were a course I had taught before (or in the last year or so), it wouldn’t be as difficult, but each night is full of prep work for the next morning. I am teaching an Intermediate ESL Reading course from 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. I then rush off to the gym – or home if I need extra prep time for my second class – and head to a city about half an hour away to teach Developmental Writing from 12 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Ah, the life of an adjunct.
Teaching ESL is tiring but so rewarding. I have four students: one from Ukraine, two from Saudi Arabia, and one from Iran. Each has a degree from his or her own country and is here to learn English and gain an additional degree in the States. These students are so incredibly eager to learn; in fact, some days, I don’t look up until it’s already 9:30 – past the end of class. One in particular loves to talk about slang. He’s already asked me about the phrases my bad and shotgun and even taught me one: mean mug (giving a mean face, if you’re slang illiterate like I am). However, teaching this course is also exhausting. I have to be conscious of every single word I use as my students’ vocabulary is good but still limited. We have a great book with units that teach a bit of grammar, vocabulary and culture in each lesson. That said, there is still a lot that I have to come up with on my own. Plus, the students have questions outside of the lessons. Try explaining the word certainly to a non-native speaker. I can sense their frustration at times, and I am sure they can sense mine. I have always heard English is a very difficult language to learn, and partly, I think it is because we have so many words like certainly that are not necessary but do assist the language. And don’t get me started on how many times I have to say: “Well, that is an exception.” Grrr.
Developmental Writing is a course for students who are not yet able to matriculate into the regular writing courses offered. Almost every student has some sort of learning problem. On top of that, I am dealing with years of incorrect instruction. Ever heard anyone say “Put a comma where you pause”? Yeah, I want to roll that person in poison ivy. (I know. I’m so violent.) Each student is capable of writing a complete sentence, but the writing is littered with fragments, misspellings, and incorrect verbs. It is overwhelming to try to correct that in 19 days, and frankly, I am appalled that the course is being offered in a summer session.
So, dear reader, this picky girl has not had much time to read this June. I come home really exhausted, but this week, I have manages to read the final two books in the Stieg Larsson trilogy and thoroughly enjoyed them. I will try to wrap up my thoughts and write something coherent in a couple of days. I was not sure if I would be able to read the last two as the first really, really scared me (I stayed up all night with a shovel next to my bed). A Facebook friend asked why I was so frightened by it, and I think I would have to say it was the torture/sexual torture aspect of it. I cannot watch Law & Order: SVU either. There is something about that kind of evil that sticks with me. It’s odd because I love mysteries and really do not scare easily when reading. I am glad to say that The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest were not only not scary but very enjoyable. I wish Larsson were still alive to finish the 10 books he had originally planned.
The rest of this week included:
- making black bean soup (delish)
- exercising in a Zumba class at the gym (fun!)
- watching Extract, a Mike Judge film (also creator of Office Space)
- walking the dog
- trying to find energy to blog
This evening, I was planning to go with my Wine Night girlfriends to Kemah (near Houston, Texas) for a special Wine Night on the water. One of the girls’ fathers owns a boat and property on the water and was planning to take us out to enjoy fireworks and wine. Unfortunately, I strained a muscle in my low back this morning and won’t make it. So now, I’m debating on what book to start next. Happy reading to all, and happy weekend!