57 days to 60: Week 2 at the Coffee Shop

heinz_57_sauceI probably should have resisted, but with today being 57 days to 60, I just couldn’t bring myself to ignore the obvious. Anyone who knows me isn’t really surprised anyway.

The poll results are in. This was the picture that readers could vote about:

casting spells

The results:

Three choices were given about what I’m doing in this photo from my last day of teaching the Japanese students.

21 people voted as follows:

  • Teaching a class   – 48%  (10 votes)

NOTE:  OK, you are right. But did you have fun being right?  🙂

 

  • Casting a spell – 38% (8 votes)

NOTE:  I have to admit, it was the first thing I thought of when I saw this picture. My favorite comment was from Emmely, who had this to say: 

Definitely casting a spell! You’re bewitching those students to love writing as much as you do.

  • Getting over caffeine overdose – 14% (3 votes)

NOTE:  I admit to setting the three of you up. When it comes to me and coffee, there is no such thing as too much.  😉

 

57 days to 60!

 

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58 days to 60: If We Were Having Coffee with the Japanese Students

58If we were having coffee, I would tell you:

Today marks 58 days to 60. And since the Japanese students left last week, I thought I’d feature them in this week’s IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE.

There is so much I could say about my time with the students from Japan. Teaching them was a special treat, and while I enjoy this program every time I do it, this year’s group especially touched my heart. I’d tell you that even though, I’m grateful to be able to catch up on rest and simple tasks like thinking, I really miss them already.

I’d tell you that in addition to the 14 hours of instruction that each of the two groups of Japanese students received from me, I had designed an extra activity for them before they even arrived in Taiwan. The idea was that I would take each group of ten students to the Tuesday night writing group at the coffee shop that hosts us. Ten students each night with a few of our regulars, and it would make for a nice group.

The plan:  Week 1 – Group B; Week 2 – Group B; Week 3 (just the regulars again)

The reality:  Week 1

Week 1-1Yeah, you might say my estimate was a bit conservative. What happened is that some of the students in Group B wanted to have their friends from Group A with them. I knew we could pull it off just barely, but then their English speaking TA’s ALL decided to come along. As you can see, the results were rather overwhelming for the space.

week 1-3I’d tell you that we survived it, and much fun was had by all. It took a long time to get drinks ordered and even more to take dumpling and noodle orders for the place two doors down that would deliver the food to us in the meeting room.

I’d also tell you that I knew with that many people (we had a total of over 30), we couldn’t actually do any writing activities. So I announced that the English TA’s could have dinner with us, but then they would have to leave except for the TA’s who were already assisting me. I told the departing students they could join the group in three weeks when the Japanese students were back home, but that the time was for them right now.

Whew! After dinner, eight people left. It may not seem like much, but it opened up just enough space at the tables that we could have some actual writing activities. By the end of the evening, we had agreed that now that we had the bugs out, maybe we’d do it again for week 2 with both groups. No point bringing Group A alone, when Group B didn’t want to come without their friends. Tomorrow, we’ll move on to week 2. Stay tuned.  🙂

58 days to 60!

 

 

60 days to 60! (And a Poll!)

Photo credit: balloonpower.com.au/

Photo credit: balloonpower.com.au/

Today is important for several reasons. First, after 540 days of counting, I am now 60 days away from my 60th birthday. I am making plans for a rather unusual celebration that coincides with a chance to say good-bye to friends, colleagues, and students. You will learn more about the plans as they progress, but I will tell you this: I’m working on a bilingual invitation.  🙂

I’m not going to be fanatical about this (famous last words), but my goal is to post something every day for these last 60 days, leading up to the big festivities. I will revisit some types of posts that I’ve done before, as well as a few unusual things. And there are a few fun announcements I plan to make.

My first post is going to be related to the second reason this is a special day. After three weeks of classes and other activities, the students from Tottori University in Japan boarded their plane back home. Even though the teaching load during those three weeks is rather exhausting, I miss them already. But having them on top of my regular teaching load is the reason I’ve been gone for a while.

One of the interesting things that happens during those three weeks, is that our classes are photographed more than a first grandchild. It would be no exaggeration to say that in the last three weeks, there are at least 100 new photographs of me. Sometimes, they’re posed with various combinations of students for various group photos, but there are many candid shots taken of me in various stages of “teaching.” As often happens with candid photos, some are decent, but many of them are kind of duds–as you will see over the next few days.

So in honor of the completion of the Japanese program, today’s post is going to be one of the photos that was taken last week. This was one of those candid shots taken of me teaching. Now I KNOW that everything thinks that learning about compare and contrast essays is one of the most exciting topics known to humanity, but I was rather impressed with this photo sent directly to me by my TA, with a comment on how dramatic I look. My response to her is what I am now going to turn into a poll for all of my readers. I’ve never done a poll before, but I thought it would be a good thing to start off these 60 days.

Here’s how it works. I’ll post the picture. Underneath is the poll where you get to guess what I’m doing in that picture. You have three options, but feel free to add others in the comments below. Your rationale for your choice is also welcome.

casting spells

Thanks for playing along.  Answer revealed tomorrow!

 

60 days to 60!

 

If We Were Having Coffee: Year of the Goat Edition

year-of-the-goat-with-icons_23-2147502885I missed the gathering last week, but I’m back today to share what’s been going on lately and all the things that are gearing up to keep me busy.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you:

That the celebration of Chinese New Year is winding down. Each day, a few more businesses are open again and the streets get a bit busier, and by Tuesday, life returns to normal for just about everyone. In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying extra hours at the coffee shop. Tomorrow, Dave and I will go to Taipei to meet friends for lunch.

My new semester begins on Wednesday. Since Chinese New Year fell on almost the last possible day that it COULD fall, we are getting a later than usual going back to school. My new 18 week semester starts on Wednesday.

Two of the Tottori students from the 2013 visit.

Two of the Tottori students from the 2013 visit.

Weeks 2-4 of the semester will be especially exciting and busy. Twenty students from Tottori University in Japan will be visiting our campus for a three-week intensive English program. During that time, I will teach 14 hours of writing each to two groups of ten students from that University. This is in addition to my regular teaching. This is the third year Tottori University has brought students to Ming Chuan University for this program. It’s also the third year that I’ve taught the writing portion. I love the challenge of trying to change students’ attitudes about English writing in the tight time frame. 

admin-ajax.phpSpeaking of teaching, it’s a good thing that I like to use PPT (PowerPoint) presentations, because I was informed by the doctor last week that my shoulder is deteriorating, and that writing on the board is not something I should be doing for the next few weeks. So, we’re managing pain and resting it and using heat. So fun. I guess I’ll look for alternative ways I can torture teach students about writing.

Did I mention that I suspected this doctor is likely younger than my oldest son? Not only that, he had the nerve to tell me This degeneration is due to aging! AGING! Who does he think he’s talking to? I finally asked him at our third encounter how old he was, what do you know — I was right on. He’s the same age as my second son. Geez!

I’m in the final stages of preparing my job application for a job in the US for the 2015-16 academic year. For now, think good thoughts and I’ll tell more when I have more information, and maybe an offer.  🙂

This is an interesting birthday time in our family. My two youngest children, were due two years and a day apart. So their birthday are one week and a day apart, and they were both late! So yesterday (Saturday) was my son, Tom’s birthday. Next Sunday (March 1) is Kate’s. She’s the one who usually tries to talk me into doing some kind of Kate-friendly post for her birthday. We’ll see what happens.  🙂

It’s been great having coffee with you and catching up. Wishing you a great week.

Thanks to Diana for hosting our gathering:  https://parttimemonster.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/4149/

 85 days until 60!

If We Were Having Coffee: Semester Break Ahead

If we were having coffee, . .

enggment_photoI’d tell you that I got a lovely gift from my son, Doug, and my future daughter-in-law, Jessica. A photo album with a collection of their engagement photos. The photos are lovely, and I just keep smiling as I look at them. Their wedding will be in Florida in October of this year. And I’m so happy that I will be in the US not only to attend their wedding, but to be more connected with their lives (as with the lives of my other three children, their spouses, and my grandson, Mr. Logan). Thanks, Doug and Jessica, for the lovely gift, and for sharing your joy with us. Best wishes for continued love and joy throughout your marriage.

I’m also eager to spend time with my parents. While our Skype time is great, it will be wonderful to be in the same room again with all of them. I haven’t even been in the same country now in over 17 months.

7Speaking of Mr. Logan, I’d tell you that he will turn 4 years old on Friday. At the right, you can see him (with his father, Gabe) on the day he was born. The cliche is true: I can’t believe how fast it’s gone, but I think that it feels even faster because of  the limited time I’ve spent with him over the years. Taiwan is a long way away, and I’m happy that I will have the opportunity to live closer to him and to be more involved in his life once summer comes.

 I’d tell you that I’m in the process of grading mid-term exams as my last formal responsibility for the semester. The other project I need to complete this week is for the beginning of next semester. I need to finish reviewing and revising the teaching materials that I will use for the Japanese students who will visit from Tottori University in March.

japanese students 1Even though this is the third year that I’ve taught all of the writing classes for this program, I adjust my teaching materials each year depending on student response.I’d tell you that I had a new idea about how to present the writing process in a more visual way. So even though this is my third year of teaching the writing component of this intensive English program, I’m redesigning some of my teaching materials for the 28 hours of classes for this year’s visit from the Japanese students from Tottori University. Teaching 28 additional hours over a three week period is a bit overwhelming, but it goes so fast that I don’t have much time to think about it. I’m sure I’ll be giving you updates in future coffee gatherings.

Japanese students 2

I’d tell you that Dave and I had such an amazing breakfast date on Friday. When we got to our usual (not very often, but consistently chosen), the only available tables were on the “patio” in front. Normally, at this time of year, this would not be a prime spot. However, it was unseasonably warm that day. We initially took the outdoor table, hoping that maybe an indoor one would clear by the time our food was ready. But amazingly, besides being sunny, it was also warm enough to be very comfortable. Here is my yummy coffee.

janfricoffee

A lot of these family-owned eateries are like this: closed in on three sides, with the fourth side open to the outside. Getting take-out food is common (as evidenced by the number of my students who arrive at early morning classes with their breakfasts). From where I’m sitting in front of my coffee, I can turn 90 degrees and get a picture of the kitchen area.

frijankitchAnd half-way between that angle and sitting directly in front of my cup, is this lovely scene. I should mention this is just around the other side of the block from our apartment.

betterscene

 AND I would tell you that an article that I co-authored was published this week in the Journal of Studies in International Education. It came out at a perfect time, since it will look great on my CV while I apply for jobs in the US.

1.cover

Finally, I’d tell you that it’s 120 days until 60 AND ~159 days until I land in the US!

THANKS to Diana for gathering everyone together this week.  🙂

https://parttimemonster.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/weekend-coffee-share-2/