Thursday, December 16, 2010


Here I am at Starbucks again, which probably sounds wonderful to you, but I have to tell you, I've been logging a LOT of hours at local Starbucks and other coffee shops this semester. I just handed in my last assignment for one of my two courses, and boy does it feel good. I still have 3 assignments for the other class, which are due at the end of the month. So yes, my blog posts have been few and far between, but I am getting pretty good grades ;)
I have a 2010 reflection post in the works, but for now, a little on teaching with passion (from a book discussion in one of my classes)

I love the term “dynamism” on page 136. I agree that a passion for teaching is important. The writers note that this means not only an enthusiasm for their subject, but also a love of teaching itself. It’s true that “If you are not excited about teaching, then why should students be excited about learning?” (136) I find if I’m getting bored while teaching, then my students must be bored, and if they’re bored, they may not be learning. Some of the marks for a successful lesson for me are when the students are actually having fun, to the point where they forget they’re speaking English. I love it when I start to wrap up the class and students say, “It’s over already?” Of course that doesn’t mean that we can play games with our students 24/7, as much as they may enjoy that. But I think the suggestions given on page 137 are helpful: use a variety of strategies in class, change the pace of activities throughout a class session, and be flexible and willing to find out about what excited your students and use it in your teaching. I think a passion for teaching can encompass many of the other qualities of excellent teachers discussed in this chapter.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Christmas is coming!

I decorated my Christmas tree tonight! Click the link to see pictures. I like getting into the Christmas season with friends and students. Most people here don't put up their own tree, though that is changing, and there are Christmas decorations all around the city now. And Starbucks has my favorite drink back: the toffee nut latte! It's still been quite warm out until today, when it finally dropped to 10 degrees. Now it really feels like winter! My updates have been quite scarce I know, but I did write in my Chinese blog last month. I've also been to two weddings this month, which was interesting. One was a Christian/international wedding and the other was a very traditional Taiwanese wedding. Weddings banquets are an extended affair with a 10 or more course meal. Sometimes there are interesting/exotic things like sea cucumber, intestines and the like. There's usually a lot of meat and seafood. And at the international wedding I went to, foreign guests were even served chicken nuggets and french fries! The second wedding, I attended the family engagement ceremony, which was kind of like a tea ceremony. The bride-to-be served tea to her future husband and in-laws, and they placed red envelopes with money into the empty cups when they were finished drinking them. It was really interesting!