Sunday, April 13, 2008

The End of Another Semester

Well, this is the end of another semester. I’m going to wait until tomorrow to read the last blog entries of all of my students as I gave them until midnight tonight to finish their blogs. I really can’t wait to read them tomorrow. Usually I really get a sense of satisfaction at the end of a semester reading the students blogs and seeing their growth from the beginning of the semester until the end. If I ever do another presentation on blogs, I’ll be really proud to show off what my students did this semester. When I was in New York, a lot of people were very impressed with the work of my students from past semesters, and I think I may have even inspired some people to start blogging with their students. It’s amazing to think that I have been blogging for over 4 years now. That’s a lot of words written by both me and all of my students. It’s even more amazing for me to think that I have had 100’s of students since I started blogging 4 years ago, and I got to know them all so much better because of the blogs. I’m sure I became closer to my students because of the ability the blogs gave me to see into their world.

I guess the biggest news for today’s blog is that the final exam for the EAP 3 writing and grammar class is already over. I haven’t even looked at the final exams yet for my class, but I have finished looking at the term papers, and I was pretty happy – much happier than with the first term papers. With the first term papers, I had to come up with an emergency solution to prevent most of the class from failing (I wonder if the class knew I was giving them a “free” chance to pass). However, for this term paper, the vast majority of the students did quite fine. That made me happy because it was real evidence that the students were growing as English writers. My next job is to finish marking all of the final exams, and then enter everything into blackboard so that I can calculate the final grades. I have to get all of the grades into the office by the end of next week, and then it is up to the registrar’s office to process all of the marks.

After all of that, I have to get ready for next semester. It is going to be my last semester of teaching for a while because I am taking a year off from teaching in order to finish up my PhD degree. The big surprise from the spring summer semester is that I’m not going to be teaching EAP 3!! Instead, I’m going to be teaching EAP 1. It’s too bad because I was really looking forward to teaching all of the EAP 2’s from this semester. However, I’m sure I’ll have a great time with the new EAP 1’s. Also, Murray is going to be teaching EAP 2, and Regina is moving to EAP 3 instead. Oh well . . . they say change is a good thing!

Anyway, I want to wish the best of luck to this semester’s students. I’m sure you are going to take the campus by storm next semester!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

One Down One to Go!

Today I finished my first presentation on vocabulary in university writing, and it really went well. You see, today I was part of a doctoral forum where doctoral students like me from all over the world presented their thesis proposals and the research they have been doing. I am still in the early stages of my research, but there were some people who are almost finished, and it was really interesting hearing what they had to say. It was a great opportunity to get some feedback on my research. It was also funny to hear that some Phd students hated APA citations!! It reminded my of my students in my writing class!

However, the best part of the conference so far has been the food! I have been to a deli every day I have been in New York. The sandwiches are amazing! I had a corned beef sandwich on rye bread with mustard that must have been one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten in my life. Corned beef is this slowly cooked meat that is cooked with spices and pepper. It is so good it melts in your mouth! I also have had pieces of New York style cheese cake as big as my head. They were the perfect balance of sweet and tangy cheese . . . so good! I have also had Matzo Ball soup, which is one of my most favourite kinds of soup, but you can’t find it in a restaurant anywhere in Calgary. On top of all that, I have eaten about 10 bagels and cream cheese since I got here. The bagels are so good and so chewy. I think I’m going to miss all of this great food when I get back to Calgary.

Last night, I went to the Broadway Musical “Chicago”. It was really amazing. I went with my doctoral supervisor and another grad student from the University of Calgary. I really felt like I was seeing a piece of real American culture. To be honest, I have never really understood musicals, and how every five minutes people seem to just burst into song for no reason, but having said that, I really enjoyed myself.

Anyway, tomorrow I’m not giving any presentations, but I’ll be in a lot of workshops. Friday is the big day for my presentation on blogs! I can’t wait to show off what my students have been doing this semester! And don’t worry, I’ll make sure I take time off from the conference to look for souvenirs for everyone (cheap ones!)