Monday, January 21, 2013

An Update: Life

Life is about to get really crazy over here. I have a million different things on my mind so here's a little update on all of them.
As you know, Gia started preschool a few weeks ago. She is going two days a week and is loving it. There haven't be any tears--just tons of adorable moments.  
From the moment she wakes up on a "school morning" she's so excited. We eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, style that crazy curly hair and then we get going. The entire car ride to school, she talks and talks--and it's all about school. "We're going to schoooooool" she yells from the backseat. 
As soon as she's out of the car she flies up the walkway and in the door and then promptly....stops. Stops dead. For two seconds she's unsure of herself and it she really really wants to go in. Miss Mary usually draws her in with promises of fun toys and songs. And she's off again, barely even turning around to say goodbye.  When I come to pick her up, she cannot get enough of me. She usually says "Mommy's home!"  We had to work on the Mommy's here vs Mommy's home thing. Either way, it's adorable and there is nothing better than tight squeezes and tons of kisses from your daughter.

So for the past few weeks I've been enjoying my two free mornings a week. My poor wallet is not happy, but it's been very nice to be able to wander through a store rather than run through and grab stuff while trying to entertain a 2.5 year old.

But all of this is coming to an end later this week, as the spring semester starts, and that means I'm back to work. (Cue the music: back to life, back to reality) No more leisurely strolls through Target. Now it's grading papers and lesson planning.

I teach developmental English at the local community college and I absolutely love it. A very good friend and former colleague is now one of my bosses and that makes an awesome job even awesomer.

Final Exam time -- Fall 2012

So, what is developmental English? Well, before matriculation, all students are required to take a placement test to be sure they are ready for college level classes. If their reading and writing scores are not above a certain number, they fall into the developmental category because they need to continue to develop their skills. (The students are usually native English speakers. There is a whole separate ESL department.)

People are usually surprised when I tell them that, yes, these students have high school diplomas but no, they are not ready for college level classes. In my experience sometimes they blow off their placement tests and thus land in my class, and sometimes they truly don't have the skills. 
Just like with being a mom, teaching is definitely one of the things that I'm meant to do in this life. I love the content of what I teach. Reading and writing are my things. I'm a grammar nerd and yes, I find it fun to teach fragments and run-ons and misplaced modifiers. I get giddy up there, carrying on about grammar rules and I'm pretty sure my enthusiasm is entertaining for my students. Even if the subject matter bores them, I know they think I'm crazy to get excited over a fixing a comma splice. I tell stupid "jokes" and they cringe, but then they remember the "rules"-- so, ha! My corniness works. 
Wanna hear one of my faves? Run-on sentences usually occur because my students use a comma to separate two complete sentences, which is a no-no. So I always tell them that in a boxing match, the comma always loses. A period is stronger and so is a semi-colon. So if they aren't sure what to do, just remember: the comma is kind of a wimp. When it doubt, separate those sentences with something much stronger. Told you I was corny. And now you believe me.

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