Saturday, November 28, 2015

I'm Back!

Hi, Everyone! How I've missed you! How I've missed writing! I've been a bit busy... may I tell you what's been going on?

                     For as long as I've been here, our school has had 2 foreign teachers. This year, there is only one: me!
                     Until now, only freshmen and sophomores received the benefit of Oral English classes with a foreign teacher. This year, Juniors will also take Oral English... much to my joy!
                     Our school has enjoyed a record enrollment this year: nearly 150 freshmen English learners. We have as many freshman classes as we do sophomore and junior classes combined!
                     Last year, I taught 3 classes per week. This year, I'm teaching 3 classes per day, 2 days of the week. The other days, I teach 2 classes each day. My workload has quadrupled! I feel like I've come out of retirement.
                     I have the privilege of designing and teaching my own curriculum rather than following a prescribed syllabus. As I've been at it for 5 years, my files are full of materials I can rotate through my classes, depending on students' needs. There's even seasonal material! However, because Juniors now get a 3rd year of Oral English, I have to come up with all new material for them.  

It is hard to recruit good help! Our school has ben searching for another foreign teacher since last spring. We had a candidate, but he backed out at the last minute. Fortunately, my leg has sufficiently healed and I'm otherwise ready for the challenge of working every day.

Long before I broke my leg, I had pledged time at my friend's daughter's kindergarten to help teach Oral English. Obviously, I couldn't do it while my leg was plastered up but now that I'm getting around reasonably well, it's time to make good on my promise. Even though I'm working every day, there's still time to design and create learning materials for my littlest pupils, and we play/learn every Saturday.

Except last Saturday! Gary got married, and what a hubbub that was! Besides asking me to host his wedding, he asked if I would make his wedding video. Two hundred and sixty-nine pictures, featuring 8 costume changes, to be strung together into a thirty-minute movie, to be played during the wedding banquet. I relished the challenge!

Making a movie is very time consuming: placing the pictures is a reasonable order, finding music to suit the picture series' mood and adjusting the exposure time to match the music, finding the proper transition from one picture to the next...

For 2 weeks, all of my free time had been consumed with artistically placing pictures. The video was about halfway complete. And then, Gary appears, asking me to use hi-def pictures, recently acquired from the photographer. Soon, eighty-nine new shots were downloaded. Oh, and could I still make the video last for 30 minutes with only one third of the pictures?

Wait... NOT new shots! Same shots as before, only resized! My dear, obstinate friend did not believe I too could resize the pictures, thus still using all of the original pictures, instead of scrambling between screens to figure out which pictures were or were not hi-def.

In the end, the movie turned out very nicely and showed well at the banquet.  

All of this activity served to wear my down. Soon, I was sick: unable to breathe for all of the clogging in my lungs. I begged off teaching little ones this weekend mainly because I didn't want to get them sick, but also because I need this break.

And I need to connect with you again. I've missed you; missed being a part of this community.

Hello again! How have you been?

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