Yah, everyone hates me…

because I can’t even finish a freaking sonnet-link and because I don’t have time to do anything but try and catch up on homework at the last minute. And I’m a grouch all the time.

I keep waiting for the fun part of the whole doctoral studies thing. I think that’s the part when I finish my coursework and can retreat to the library with my Top 40  and Top 30. What that means for those of you with the good sense to keep working for a living is that I will have to write exhaustive comprehensive exams on any possible combination of said 40 poems and 30 works of fiction. This includes everything ever written in the history of man about each one, which narrows things down considerably. My friend Karin is studying to become a paramedic. I am sure that she can relate to much of this. However, she is surely making enough as an EMT to pay the bills.  

In working-vacation news, La R. and I have our “pre-course assignment” for CELTA–basically, a workbook reviewing English grammar and explaining the basics of what to expect in an ESL classroom. I’m looking forward to getting back into ESL. There’s something deeply satisfying about working with adults who appreciate getting an education. I feel that I do more profound good in the world when I can help someone learn a language that in turn helps him or her make a better life. I like to think that teaching college writing has a similar effect, but it doesn’t always seem that way. 

Along those lines, several of my old students are in touch via Facebook. I can’t believe I’m on Facebook. I got to revisit them as students while writing up my teaching portfolio for this year. The good students make the whole exercise worthwhile.  Waiting patiently to find out whether or not I’ll get to teach creative writing next year. The policy/lore for selection has changed for the fourth time in two years, but this time it was sent out in writing. As far as I can tell, the qualifications would place me at the top of the list. We’ll see.  

Dreams deferred for this coming academic year:

–Master Scuba Diver class (twice)

–O2 class (for the nth time)

–Jazz Fest (again)–

25th high school reunion (oh well) 

–At least two fiction courses I’d like to take but can’t schedule

–A clean living room

–Enough money in the bank

–Most social events, many poetry readings, and  all vacations.

Like Mama said, you can do anything for 16 weeks. Meanwhile, dreaming of the water, and of better times to come.  

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7 thoughts on “Yah, everyone hates me…

  1. Lori says:

    Hi Robin,
    Yes I so agree with you about teaching adults ESL. I am a kindergarten teacher, but for an entire year a couple of years ago I taught an adult ESl class. It is very rewarding. Loving your writing. 🙂

  2. robinkemp says:

    Thanks, Lori! I’m really looking forward to the CELTA course. What kind of class was it–community, private language school, college? I’ve taught in the community for a non-profit, both in the agency’s school and in a factory. I’ve also guest-taught at a small private language school. For the past eight years, I’ve taught ESL students who were mainstreamed into regular college composition courses.

  3. Lori says:

    I taught it in the community, non-profit. It was offered to our students parents at the elementary school, then we sent out flyers to get more of the community in. It was a success by my standards. We had about 35 people who completed the class. It started out as a year and a half course, but I asked the class if they wanted to come one day a week for a year and a half or two days a week for half that time. So I taught two days a week for the whole school term. It was fun. I’m sure you are looking forward to the CELTA classes. I would be curious to see what those classes were like.

  4. robinkemp says:

    You can look up the basics at

    http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/teaching-awards/celta.html

    and the syllabus at

    http://www.cambridgeesol.org/assets/pdf/celta8_251103.pdf

    What approach did you use? Communicative? Something else? How much education in their L1 did your students have? Did you have people at different levels in the same class? Did they speak the same L1?

  5. Lori says:

    WOW! That looks very intensive and extensive, but also very fun too! Each Tuesday and Thursday the group met for two hours. The first hour was spent listening and interacting with the English Yes I Can video, where I would stop and we would discuss the concepts and I would have them practice the skills. For the last hour we spent reading, talking, and a major task was working on vocabulary. I found that if vocabulary was the focus then the other aspects of speaking would fall into place. I think once they learned common vocab. they gained confidence in other areas of speaking. So yes communicative was the main approach. I did teach writing concepts each class and we had a reading segment in each class. Many of the students were young, there were a few grandparents in the group too. As they gained more speaking skills I found out that many of them had limited education in their native country. They were all about at the same level of speaking English when they started the class. Teaching them was a lot of fun, it was a challenge also and that made it that more exciting for me and for them – I don’t shrink from challenges – makes everything more interesting! Have you already started taking the CELTA classes?

  6. robinkemp says:

    We start in June. I’m really looking forward to it, but am a little worried about not having an ESL class to teach right after that. Maybe I’ll pick up something around town over the summer–I want to keep up my skills while CELTA is fresh. I’m not sure whether I can teach ESL on top of grad school and regular English this fall–OK, I’m SURE I can’t–but if I wind up taking two classes instead of three, I might keep teaching it if all the stars align. I’m going to look around and see. Besides, to do the DELTA, Cambridge requires two years’ post-CELTA teaching before admission. I may go for the DELTA at a later date (as in, AFTER the doctorate) as an extra trick in the bag.

  7. Lori says:

    Hi,
    Oh yeah there can never be too many tricks in a person’s bag. I agree with you about wanting to use the skills and teach a class right after you finish with your class. You will do it all and you will be fine with it! I just got back from Florida. (The traffic in Atlanta was awful this evening!) The school where I teach just had Spring Break this week. I rented a beach house and stayed on the beach and sight seeing for the whole week. It was great! I loved a week off from teaching and two Saturdays off from ESOL Saturday School teaching! I missed the kids I teach though and I’m ready to get back to them. Do you teach any online writing classes?

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