23 January 2010

teaching has been my excuse for not posting

i've been teaching for 2.5 weeks already. next week tuesday is the final exam already - and after a flurry of grading, i should be done. and i'd pretty much say that's my excuse for not blogging more.

and i have thoughts from teaching - the random things i've learned, things i've used in class, questions about how to do this teaching thing better, and how i can not help but feel honoured to be allowed to be part of students lives in this way. but they haven't appeared anywhere yet. i am still sorting out how to say them and trying to find for everything. this january course is intense enough if all you're doing is teaching. the problem is if you're trying to do anything else alongside (like research or visiting or trying to develop new course ideas), it's really hard both to keep on top of things and not to be exhausted all the time.

and at the moment i'm behind on my grading (i'm hoping and praying that tomorrow i'll get some good work done there) - but other than that it's been going really well. i'll gladly admit that i'm glad not to see my students tomorrow - but that's nothing personal :) after all, i do think they're a good group of students - and i do generally enjoy teaching. only it'll be really nice not to have to wake up at 6 and spend 3 hours in front of a class trying to pay attention to as many things as possible, most notably evaluating how things are going and how much comprehension is taking place.

08 January 2010

a normal day in grand rapids during interim

i started teaching yesterday - and that's been going well. as i haven't been teaching much in the last while, i feel a bit rusty and don't feel that i am teaching to best of my abilities. but i'm glad to be here and i've been enjoying the challenge and wonder of teaching.

the following is what a normal day looks like here:
- i wake up a bit before 6 and i lie in bed for a short while going through the lesson for the day (and thinking about what i still might need to do)
- then shower, breakfast, do some stuff on my computer and then put my stuff together and head off to calvin. getting out the door on time has been a bit of a challenge, as i've kind of forgotten what it's like to start work at a set time. that my parents have graciously lent me a vehicle (thanks mom!) helps a lot towards my being on time.
- class starts at 8.30 and goes until 11.45 - with a 40 minute break in the middle where there is the option to go to chapel.
- i open the class with some words and then pray - praying for the world, church, and our communities - taking the pattern of prayer from the community in Amsterdam.
- we cover one major concept/topic before the break and another after the break. it's a mixture of discussion (in small groups and as a class), a bit of note-taking, some powerpoint and references to stuff on the internet, my talking and summarizing things, and students being asked to write thoughts on the blackboard. the classroom isn't set up so well for discussion (no moveable tables or chairs), so i'm trying to think of ways to get around that - but the students seem pretty appreciative of discussion - and are more than willing to participate, so that part is going well.
- i eat lunch in my office (brown bread with chocolate spread) and i write down some thoughts from class, check my mail, and listen to the January Series online.
- i work at my computer in my cubicle until sometime after 3 and then i head home.
- when i get home, i do some exercise - either the rowing machine or shovelling snow (Grand Rapids gets an average of 21 inches (53 cm) of snow in January - i figure shovelling snow is not only good exercise but a great way to ensure that i'll be welcomed as a houseguest).
- the evening is spent having dinner, and sitting behind my computer preparing lessons and more. and pretty soon the grading will start...

so things are going well. i think the two things i like least are
1) driving in snow - but it has only been short amounts thus far, so that's okay. and i'm starting to get used to it again - it helps that it hasn't been too icy and my parents' vehicle is pretty good in the snow, and
2) missing life back in Amsterdam - both the rhythms and all the people.