Its snowing! It started yesterday afternoon and its not supposed to stop until Friday night. I drank apple cider and watched the snow fall last night while editing two academic papers for Turkish friends and a grad application for another Fulbrighter. Oh yeah and listened to this:

Just kidding, I didn’t listen to that pony. He just showed up on Pandora when I was making coffee this morning and I laughed out loud alone in my apartment. Its surprising to me how often I do that. Anyway, snow!

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Hopefully it keeps at it.

In other news, I gave my students their second Speaking Exam yesterday. The students each selected a partner and when they came to my office, I gave them two topics that we’d covered in the course (campus life, neighborhoods, hobbies, etc.) about which they had to speak together for 5 minutes. They did a surprisingly great job. I’m very proud of the improvement many of them show. Some of them still don’t try and I’ve yet to find a way to motivate them, but most come to class willing to try. I’m honestly amazed that they try at all since they take 30 hours a week of English courses and for most of them, passing the course isn’t mandatory. They are required to be enrolled and to have some level of attendance, but their grade will have no bearing on their future studies. This year could be an opportunity for them to just hangout with friends, party, and coast, but instead most of them study hard, try to improve, and just generally breakdown the stereotypes of Turkish students that were set out for me at the beginning of this year. I should have guessed they would! Where is my optimism when it matters?

To again shift topics abruptly (An aside: during this semester of teaching, the importance of shifting smoothly between activities has become very apparent to me. If I have a good strategy for changing gears, class progresses without a hitch. If I haven’t thought through why or how I’m going to introduce new material or games, student progress is impeded. Teaching=the ultimate teacher)… Jenny, Spencer, Noah, Amanda, Daniel and I are meeting up in Spain for New Years. People I love, a villa, warm weather, paella, wine. I can’t wait.

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