Saturday, November 21, 2009

finding out information in a roundabout way

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I am applying to grad school. After I mailed my application, I emailed them to let them know, and I immediately got a reply back. Then I waited, and waited, and waited, checking my bank account often to see if the application fee had been withdrawn. Then, out of the blue, I get this email, asking me to set up an online account: I was a little shocked, but I set up the account, and then was able to find out that my application has been received (obviously) and is still pending. So....keep praying for me! If it goes through, I may be able to start an online course as early as January. And I would go to LA in July to do modular classes.

Last weekend I attended ETA, the English Teacher's Association conference in Taipei, for two days. It was kind of a test for myself, to take in some of the more academic speakers and see if I could get a handle on what corpus linguistics is! I actually really enjoyed it and learned a LOT, especially from two speakers in particular. It made me feel like I'm ready to tackle graduate studies!

A corpus is a body of text, and here they were talking about using text analysis (kind of like a database search of different kinds of published text) to inform teaching, textbook writing etc. One speaker noted that the earliest use of this method was concordancing the Bible, followed by dictionary making. Significant? It just goes to show the importance of this book through history on so many different walks of life. Very interesting stuff.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

QUarantine


I arrived at class on Monday and after the end of the first period, the teacher informed me that the next class would be absent because the entire class had to stay home due to H1N1. The government here has made a policy that if there are two positive cases in a class or office within three days, there must be a week of self-quarantine. So I got a free period in the middle of my day and a complimentary(?) pack of surgical masks to wear. I didn't wear them since it would impede language instruction in a number of ways, but most of the students were wearing them, for self protection. It felt like I was teaching classes in a hospital!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

New Hair!




I got a haircut last week and got some layers. So far I like it, but the funniest thing is the "compliments" I've been getting from my Taiwanese friends. In one day, I had at least three people tell me, "Your hairstyle looks so feminine!" Kinda made me wonder if I was looking too masculine before, or what haha! I know what they mean (女生味), but it's still funny to hear.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

daily life...

It's suddenly quite cool here in Taiwan, I think the temperature is in the mid teens, and while I do feel a little chilly, being acclimatized and all, it seems like I'm sill wearing a lot less than the people around me. I haven't busted out the turtlenecks and winter parkas quite yet.
Today is Tuesday, and I like Tuesdays because they're pretty relaxed. I have two advanced English classes in the morning (two hours each) and then I usually stay at the school for lunch since the school provides the food. Last year I got the idea to have a free chat time at lunch and invite my students to come eat with me. It's been going pretty well so far, and today I had some girls who are writing the script for an English drama competition later in the semester. I get things like that sometimes, but most often they just want to talk and find out why I came to Taiwan and what my life is like here.
In an hour or so, I'll head to Chinese class/dinner/tutoring/fellowship with Ivan and Christine and their four adorable girls. Getting to know this family is definitely a highlight of my week, and has been a highlight of my time here. I'm thinking of taking a Chinese proficiency test next semester. I was originally going to take it this weekend, but I want to take the intermediate level rather than the basic, and I'm not quite ready for it. On the test website, you can take practice tests and in the listening section for the basic I got 46/50. But on the intermediate my score was only 39. Since listening is my strongest area, I know I really need to brush up on my characters and reading before April when I plan to take the test (it's a joint listening and reading test).
Time is going by really fast, but I'm glad November is not going to be as hectic as October was, I'm looking forward to ETA (the annual English teaching conference), as well as a wedding or three.