Do you ever have trouble getting things out of the packaging? I just bought an external portable hard drive, and the first challenge will be getting it out of the large cardboard-with- Fort-Knox-like-plastic-shields deal it's encased in. The actual hard drive is small, but it was delivered in a box that could have held a mini-bar. I need to drink everything in the mini-bar before I try to get the external portable hard drive released from its cardboard torture chamber. I'm hesitant about buying CDs (music), because I can't get them out of the wrapping without practically cutting my fingers off, stabbing at the case with a very sharp paring knife or scissors. Another problem I've noticed lately is that I can barely understand the words I have to use, such as external portable hard drive or HD or LCD, and I received a memo the other day from the English Division, regarding email addresses and how my email address for school had to be something and go somewhere and I'd better change it or send it or fax it or fix it or put it wherever or something would happen, I didn't know what. I had to ask the English Division Secretary to translate the memo for me, but she couldn't figure it out, either, so she had to ask the Tech Guy, and he got back to her and she got back to me, but I was busy turning on my HD and my LCD and hacking the cardboard Fort Knox off my external portable hard drive with a machete, so I didn't get the message.
Does your job ever seem incomprehensible to you? For example, I teach college English, writing and literature, and I have 30 students in my Freshman Composition class, two native speakers and 28 ESL students from China, Japan, and Korea. I love teaching the ESL students, they are great students, but I have no educational background in teaching ESL. I majored in contemporary (mostly American) literature with a philosophy minor. I have never been to China, Japan, or Korea. But they are now my people, and I am theirs. This has been going on for about six years now. I am not an ESL teacher, but my classes are almost all ESL students.
And sometimes I feel like I don't know what happened to my job or what I thought I was supposed to teach or how I was going to do it...all of that has been completely altered.
The reason why I'm teaching so many ESL students: they actually have a chance of getting an "A" in my class. Let's face it, I'm easier than many of my colleagues (I may be easy but I'm good). So I'll put it this way: I give an ESL student the "B" when he'd probably get a "C" in another class or even a "D" if the teacher is truly going by Freshman College English Standards, say for UC Berkeley or Stanford. These students work hard; they do everything and do it to the best of their ability, but because of their grammar/usage skills, they can't get an "A" grade. Not unless they plagiarize. So I'm softer on the grammar/usage than many of my colleagues. I send my students to the tutors. They go to the tutors, they are dedicated. But their writing can never be at "A" level. Not yet. They simply haven't lived here and used the language long enough, no matter how hard they study.
It's a difficult situation, and we are doing our best. There are three or four teachers at the college who get all of the ESL students in their classes. And we have other interesting things going on like the teacher whose classes are cancelled because of not enough students, whereas my classes and other colleagues' classes have students bulging out the doors and windows. This teacher either gets his classes cancelled, or he ends up with about seven students in each class. So, for the same salary, he's teaching a total of about 30 students in his classes combined, while I'm teaching about 140. Does this seem absurd to you or maybe like highway robbery? Believe you me, ESL students never register for this teacher's class.
In the English Division, we never talk about this. It is a well-kept secret, except, hey, I'm spilling now.
The other day, I was trying to eat a cheese stick, you know, string cheese, but I couldn't get to it through the package. I decided on pretzels instead, but the bag was made out of plastic cement and wouldn't open, so I ate an apple although there seemed to be something going on with the apple skin, I chewed it and chewed it and chewed it and it never disappeared, sort of like apple gum instead of any apple I'd ever experienced before. Does anyone out there understand what's happening to the apples? Is it like the tomatoes?
Last apple of the day: I watched the Republican Convention last night and listened to Sarah Palin's speech. I looked out at the crowd applauding her absurd statements and thought: I don't want to be divisive, but these are not my people.
I may move to France and become an FSL student.
Causes Susan Browne Supports
Run Together, A Race to Raise Money for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society