I only have a few more re posts from my Edarabia column.  I have been having some difficulty sleeping at night and for some reason, my years in Manhattan are running through my mind like a trailer from a movie.  I dream many times of my mom’s good friends who were Russian Jews living in Queens.  Through the internet, I see he is still a practicing attorney and through facebook, I peruse a picture of his son, who I visited several times while living in the city.  Yet it is too awkward to return or call them but they are in my memories for some reason.  My days of visiting the Marble Collegiate Church and listening to the wonderful sermons of Arthur Calliandro return.  I revisit the letter I received from him welcoming me to “come visit again” after I left NY for the South.  Here is a re post from last year.  I also worked last semester with a student from Venezuela at a nearby public university.  I often think of him and hope he is ok with regard to the living situation in Venezuela.  The public university was not as friendly or as welcoming as the private university that I work with.  After working with both, I really value the private university work experience.  I hope the students know how fortunate they are;  I am sure the staff realized very quickly!

I was asked by the Bridge Department to work independently with a student. It was originally two students; one was from Venezuela and the other from Japan. The student from Venezuela left so now I have the student from Japan. As you teach more students from other countries, linguistically, they begin to make and mirror the same mistakes. Because our Bridge Program has so many Middle Eastern speakers, I was more familiar with their linguistic issues than the mistakes and the academic demeanor of the Japanese student. It has taken some getting accustomed to his language idiosyncrasies, etc.

The fall is beautiful at the University. The weather is cooler and the break after the midterm was good and by that I mean, midterms are over, so now everyone feels freer and those who have been alerted to their grades know what they have to do or else they may just give up. I like this time after the mid terms because the instructor is familiar with the students and their work habits and they have come to some kind of understanding, so the next month or so becomes more comfortable. They have tried their best to get their English writing instructor off track, press the limits, or some have amazed me by their outstanding presentations, so it is an interesting time.

I was immensely moved by a presentation from my ROTC students about an author who writes about the Vietnam War. They presented information about the author receiving the purple heart and then one of the students spoke about his childhood spend living in the shadow of West Point Academy. I am very familiar with the Academy as my 20s were spent attending university and working in New York City, when I travelled back to the Catskills, we would pass West Point in all its glory. As he spoke of his desire to be involved with the military, I was moved to tears. More presentations will follow and I have learned to assign them stories so I am taking better control of the class as I become more familiar with the content we cover for Academic Writing I,II. It feels good to be assigned the same class to instruct because you are a better instructor the more you teach it and become familiar with the material and the students.

I enjoy the higher class (English 122) more because we cover Thoreau, the Inaugural addresses of past presidents, and there is more critical thinking involved. Next semester, I want the students to do some debating, and get more involvement from them. I am also becoming a more skilled grammar instructor as I review the grammar handbook noticing the patterns of grammar mistakes students are making when turning in essays. I know what to focus on during class time. I enjoy teaching grammar and look for a way to make it a little more entertaining or something that is more teachable so that they will remember. I think back to my grammar instructor in high school and remember her teaching us prepositions as anything the frog can do. He can go to the log, about the log, for the log, in the log, through the log, etc. I share this with the class and they just stare and then they listen. It is a learning process for both of us. Some days are good and some days, one wants to be that frog under the table. One more semester and it should be routine with room for creativity.