Friday, 1 March 2013

Day 85: The last day of summer

In the shadow of autumn
Day 85 (28 Feb) The last day of what has been a very wet summer. Indeed, it is still raining. And there is more forecast for the weekend. 

The first teaching week takes a bit of adjusting to time-wise. The new timetable needs to be remembered for us as well as the students. You could say I've got the full range this semester. The early start on Monday, through to a 9pm finish on Thursday nights. Wednesdays will finish around 7.00 and when I take over from a colleague going on leave later in the semester it will be a late finish Tuesdays (9pm) and early start Wednesdays. The question then is what is the best time to leave. Creature of habit that I am (as I think this blog is beginning to show) I'll stay with getting up early and getting onto campus. Parking is a problem otherwise. 

Today's emoticon, at 6.12am
So at 6.12am I was up to my usual coffee, papers and today I happened to be sending out today's emoticon. It's a small twitter contribution I've come to make each weekday. It started off as a bit of fun among some tweepsters, but it has, as they say, grown like topsy. I have some Japanese emoticons (made of punctuation marks) on my Japanese keyboard. I send them out in various combinations, usually around 6am. I soon know about it if they don't get out there. But I know people enjoy them. 

By 6.12pm, I had just returned from a class and was preparing for the next one at 8pm. The class was the second year Japanese class and we begin early on with reading materials from Japanese magazines. AERA is one I have read since its inaugural publication over twenty years ago. It is a weekly news magazine with a lot of current affairs, contemporary culture and similar things. It is not unlike our old magazine The Bulletin, a bit of everything. 

AERA and my class, at 6.12pm
I've never feared the 'kanji' or Chinese characters we need to know to read Japanese. Indeed, they've been one of the key reasons I've stuck with the language, I find the aesthetic and what a small pictogram can say, intriguing. I try very hard to convey that to my students in the face a strong resistance to learn such 'foreign' things. 

There are days in the classroom you wish you could wave a magic wand and give the students the automatic access to the language. I know they'll get there, but sometimes it must feel like it will take a little time. 

I was thinking about those classes on the way to the car tonight. Looking down and thinking, I saw the pattern of light and shadow on the leaves in the car park, above. It was worth a shot, even if it was 10.12pm, four hours past our time. 

In more Queensland news, following on from yesterday's proposal for privatisation of the QHealth system, today we heard of a proposal from the same government to 'privatise' the building of new state schools. 'Public-private partnerships' they call them, and they always work well <sarcastic font>. 

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was on 612ABC this morning too, an interview with mornings presenter Steve Austin. It seems to have received some good reviews on twitter during the day. It was interesting, it was a little bit off the main news story game, and showed a reasonably relaxed prime minister. I'll probably get the politics students to listen to it next week. 

It was the last day of summer when I started this, we've tipped over to autumn now. It's into the teaching and learning period now, no more excuses. Enjoy it everyone. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.