new term, new terms

A couple of weeks ago I wrote on Facebook:

Короче. На этой неделе я подсчитала свою нагрузку: 52 академических часа в неделю. Филфак, технари, ученики. Не успеваю спать и есть.

Сегодня выяснила, что у одного из учеников на следующей неделе каникулы, и предложила перенести занятие с пятницы вечера на день среды, хитро придумав, что в пятницу освобожусь пораньше и наконец-то увижу мужа и, возможно, даже схожу с ним в кино. Ученик согласился, я возликовала.

Перед уходом столкнулась в дверях с его мамой. Рассказала об успехах и сына и о том, что будем заниматься в среду днем.

— Вот и замечательно! – воскликнула мама. – Значит, в каникулы можно заниматься целых три раза!

(Прослезившись, ползу домой. Завтра рабочий день.)

Basically, it sums up all I’ve been up to since mid February; apart from that, we’ve moved (HELLO again, Petrogradka, it’s been a while), I’ve seen The Newsroom (twice), I’ve had my boots mended (the fucking first time in my life), and I’ve been taking a completely useless academic writing class where the tutor, a kinda distinguished lecturer, makes me proud of my last-minute reckless lesson plans.

Also, here are some links to Nabokov’s and Hemingway’s reading lists (I’m in the middle of The Sun Also Rises, why wasn’t I told it was such a cute piece of writing when I was 21?!)

new school year

keep calm

So, this year I’ve got 6 new groups of students. First of all, I hate everything new) I think I cried when my students of 3 years graduated. It was terrible to see them go (I know, I know it will go away eventually but anyway).

The new guys are mostly okay. 2 groups at the technical, 2 groups at the philological, and there are 2 more to come. I’m going to be particularly nasty to one of them because they truanted the class this Wednesday, and I had to get up at 6 to get a lesson prepared, nearly fell asleep on the metro, and they didn’t show up! I hate it, too. I also hate the fact that they are not tested before the class and I actually have no idea of their level. Could be elementary, could be pre- or intermediate. A nightmare for the teacher who has to think of 3-hour assignments which would be useful, appropriate and not boring. So you kinda end up preparing 3 classes instead of one.

One of the greatest surprises was the group who master in regional studies (ZR-something). Nobody is from St. Petersburg, class geography varies from Far East to Krasnodar and Archangelsk. They are funny, smart and talkative. And they like House MD! The first class was great, even if really long due to their stupid schedule, and at the end I suggested they play Alias. It was great fun and a real bloody competition, because I announced the prize as a free pass to one of the following tests. This game is a teacher’s savior when you need to kill some time and to have the students entertained but engaged.

At the philological faculty, in addition to my own kids of last year, there are 2 new groups. I’m assigned to teach them vocabulary, so listening and speaking that is. In a way it’s convenient because I don’t like to teach grammar separately but on the other hand, it takes lots of listening and engaging from my side, and at the end of day one I was rewarded with a splitting headache and the will to silence the whole world. Good thing S. understands and doesn’t require me to report on my day when I come home and just lets me read in peace.

To make this post a little less about me and a little more about teaching, here is a link to the Guardian’s How to teach… series. A while ago they posted a collection of links to help us teach grammar. I haven’t tried any of them because I had the most amazing August absolutely teaching-free but I think I will have to in the nearest future because that ZR-something class is supposed to be about grammar. Well, way to go.