9:16 a.m. on 12/21/13

Cup of coffee

(Photo credit: Etenil)

Saturday mornings have a bit of a routine, and this particular Saturday morning was no different. At 10:00, I usually receive a Skype phone call from the other side of the world, so between breakfast and the phone call, I try to see how much “work” I can get done. On most Saturday mornings, that means catching up on grading, or email, or doing some editing. On the particular morning in question, it was looking at textbook proofs and writing notes.

I am pretty much tired of the textbook project. The stress involved with getting Book 2 (of 8!) out was worse than expected. I won’t go into details, but I’ll be glad to be able to move along. Book 3 should be much smoother, and most of my attention can now be spent looking ahead at the plans for Book 4. And in theory, things should start getting easier. That’s my hope, along with the hope that this project will stop creeping into my weekend time, but for now, we’re pushing the publication deadline. In another week, I’ll breathe easier. At least when it comes to the textbook project.

Not an exciting moment. In fact, the less time I spend on it, the better. But these textbook moments have become significant in an unexpected way. The more of them I put in, the close they lead me back home to the U.S. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Here’s a bit of inspiration for focusing so I can move on, compliments of my daughter, the Collaborator.


A Moment in Time is a shared blogging experience, where writers document and share their stories from the same moment on the same day. The day and time for the next A Moment in Time is posted by Randee every few days in such a way that you’ll have a heads up on the exact moment to which you need to attend and focus on and, if it’s significant in some way, write about and add to the list.



I’m also participating in Just Jot it January *JusJoJan.” You just jot something everyday, even if it doesn’t always result in a blog post. Maybe several days’ jottings end up in one post. Lots of possibilities. Check it out here:



8 comments on “9:16 a.m. on 12/21/13

  1. What a great Moment in Time post! I want to know more. What type of textbooks are you writing? And how will finishing them get you back to the U.S.? If you’ve already written about this, you can direct me to a post you made. Thanks for participating. I love how it gives me a window into your life. 🙂

  2. Hi, Randee! I haven’t posted directly on the textbook project, though it has been mentioned once or twice. I tend not to want it on front page blog posts. 😉 The project that I crazily took on involves redoing all of the textbooks that are used for teaching English to the students at our University. In Taiwan, students start learning English in the 3rd grade, but the focus is on grammar and vocabulary, and so many students enter the university with skills that are spotty in some areas. Reading is typically the weakest skill.

    The textbooks currently in use were put together about 2001 or so, in a bit of a hurry, so there is no thematic or pedagogical thread running through them. There are 8 books, because we are one of the few universities that require 4 years of college English (or waiving out through standardized testing). So 8 books, one for each semester. I just finished the second book for freshmen. Now we’ve moved on to books 3 and 4 (for sophomores).

    The textbooks cover the four skills: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. Each unit has some “theme,” with 3 readings each and a number of activities to go along with them. The themes for the book we just finished include: Animal Rights, Online Identity Cuisine, and A Visit to Paris.

    I coordinate the entire project, after an aborted attempt at finishing an earlier revision of the series. This time, we seem to have gotten past whatever it was that hijacked the last effort. So, in all, I’ve already put in two-plus years on this project. With six books to go, I am working on a major plan to complete the books by the end of the next academic year, so that my “responsibility” is completed. There is no one else who is stupid enough or crazy enough to take it on. (OK, I admit I’m pretty dedicated, so there is more to it than stupidity.)

    I want to come back to the US NOW, or at least at the end of this year. However, that would leave the newest attempt at this book series only half done, and it would likely die a slow and painful death. So I’ve said if they will keep me teaching writing classes for students who are English majors, I will stay another year and finish the books that are used for all other university students, i.e. non-English majors.

    Once the project is done, I hope to retreat. I love teaching, I love my students, but enough is enough.

  3. Wow! That sounds like a huge undertaking. You’re doing this all on your own? You did say “coordinating,” so maybe you have a team of writers? It sounds like way too big of a project, but the continuity between all four years is crucial, so I guess that means one person needs to have the vision and make it happen. I’m impressed. Seriously impressed.

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