Archive for September 5, 2007

“Over the Hump” of this week’s teaching

It is 5 pm here and 6 a.m. your time.  I’ve gone “over the hump” (8 of 10 class meetings complete) and will stay in this relative calm and sort papers and try to get BlackBoard set up for my classes. (Pearson publishers has a “Course Compass” powered by BlackBoard, that it has given me.  Fortunately, our university has LEGAL copies of textbooks!) 

I have pretty good attendance in my introduction to economics classes, which are mostly first year.  Not bad in the others, too. I pass out a sheet, actually one on left and right side, or 4 by 4 sections and have students sign and give some “vital information” — and I read the names of those absent in the past and warn that if someone signs for another it may result in the loss of 4 attendance credits. They don’t know that I probably wouldn’t figure out who is cheating, but I think I keep them off base enough that not many will try it.  Now to collate the attendance sheets and get the feedback on BlackBoard along with other grading.

It is invigorating to introduce new technology.  I’ve also taken pictures in class and will get to know some of the students that way. ***************  I did my work, ready for class and had 50 minutes to go to the shopping mallette up the street.  Bought a Brita filter and an extension cords, and at a food mall bought pizza, salad and drink. I picked a bottle of water turned out to be fermented milk. Pretty good. I think it was probably cow’s not mare’s milk. ***************

I am in office hour now, that started at 4 p.m. and lasts until 5. I had a visit from a young girl named, Laura (pronounced Laa UR a) who made an appointment before, to ask me about the course. She is a freshman from KyzL Orda on Aral Sea.  Nice, deserves a good chance.  It helped me form the course to talk with her, a possibly weak student who is working. I am working on syllabi now. I benefited from meeting with three of the tutorial instructors.

I had lunch in “The Grill”: cost about $3 for chicken leg and grechka, orange juice and coffee. I went to HR and they gave me an insurance card and form for your insurance, if we want it.  I think we do, it is only about $80 total for the year; somehow subsidized by our university. They gave me a list of clinics, pharmacies, etc. that take it. 

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Lease Agreements and Pre-“Remont” Apartment

I’ve been spreading the word that we might what to rent an “unimproved” apartment if someone has one to rent for first time, and would rent for 9 months.  Use the money to do the “remont.”  It’s just an idea, to spread to individuals informally.

It is good not to teach today.  I have my door open and window, and I can wear noise cancellation earphones and it is okay.   I cannot “stream”  KFNW or MN public radio. It is blocked somehow. I will try playing a CD from the desktop to the speakers or earphones. I just did it and have “Praise Piano” in my life again. There are good helpful teckies here, and I will solve this when there is time; and I will get the new computer which has office PRO and will work fully on the LAN here.  If we get the old notebook to work at the apartment, both Paul and I will have SKYPE.  He has a company notebook, and they won’t let him put SKYPE on it.I reflect on the fact that an American “styled” U. is run by people from the dark places on the Transparency International map. But, that is our Msn Field.  I can love them.  WEll, it is probably usual for them to have student rebellions especially with this heat.  I was told 36 centegrade. How much is that in Fahrenheit?In 2 pm class (where the comprehension is good), I gave them encouragement and one student thanked me.  I told that money flows into USA from countries like Kazakhstan who save but don’t have good financial markets to channel it. I said that was the challenge for them.  They took it as a charge.  It was well received, gives PURPOSE. ***********

I was asked earlier yesterday for a copy of rental contract with my name on it, although I am a guest of another fellow who has the contract. I guess I’ve registered for passport/visa purposes but this is to be paid, I need a tax number, and that requires indication of a lease.  As I came home, it was to the whole landlord’s family cleaning the apartment.

More emotion, with them wanting a lot of money for me to say here, Paul came home to it, called his office helper, who will call landlord and I guess they
realized they could lose Paul as a renter.  Anyway, they left friendly, but apparently no way visible now I can get that contract with my name on it. So I’m sure God will get it done.  I may try a letter of simple explanation and ask university to submit it.

I’ve been put on “publicity committee,”  as a marketing face for the economics department to talk at schools to recruit.  I’d like that but will tell them I can’t market something I don’t believe in, so problems have to be addressed about how freshmen are handled in intro courses, and question of how my agreement was handled by university. Pray for winsomeness. 

I took my time getting here, and rode a different bus. Sat next to a young, 2003 graduate of our university in economics. He now works for a Houston Oil firm.  I gave him my card and said we were looking for an unimproved apartment that would give money after 10 months to the owner to improve it. I’m starting to put out leads like that.

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