Not sure if this is a baseball term or where “Home Stretch” came from, I suppose I could google this and find out. I like to admit that “I see the light at the end of the tunnel” and I am making sure my 85 students in my six composition classes know they can share that light with me too. Once this fall semester is finished, I will miss seeing my students who all seem ardently working away. They come as freshmen students with different skill levels depending on what high school teachers they had and how much they worked with research papers. Some understand the complexities involved, others are like deer in the headlights about what is expected of them when it comes to researching.
However, I think after three months together, my students have a good understanding in my class that this is university level and what they pulled off as “A” papers in high school doesn’t cut it in their new academic environment. One class has proven a bit of a challenge for me. I got two students out of there who were good and it fit their schedule to attend another composition class I taught in the morning. Two others dropped out while one student hasn’t handed in much of anything. I keep wondering why if we are up to 700 points out of 1,000, he has about 100 points and still shows up for class. For sure he will be taking this comp class again next semester…that is if he can survive the cold.
This weekend my 45 comp students are hopefully working diligently on their Paper #4 which is a topic they were able to choose, once I gave my approval. I had a list of ten topics that I considered “Hot button” topics that did not get my approval. Initially I needed to see from them a workable thesis statement and also a working bibliography of FIVE academic, peer-reviewed articles. Some of my students chose topics that haven’t been written about by the academics or if they have been written about, there are no opposing views. That was also part of my assignment for this persuasive research paper, it must have an alternative argument so that they can see from another point of view. I am getting all different types of proposals and titles for title pages from my very diverse group of classes. I have football players that want to write about football helmets or another wants to write about whether college players should be payed or not. Then I have would be farmers who want to write on the latest in planting and harvesting. I have soccer player girls who want to find out more about the effects of artificial turfs and then I have a dancer who is learning more about children’s motor skill development with programs in dance.
This weekend I have already corrected 50 points worth of a quiz on the textbook dealing with the APA formatting style. Now THAT was tedious and I still have to finish off with two more weeks of instruction before we take a two day break for Thanksgiving the end of November. After that, I will have them do a ten minute powerpoint presentation on their writing assignment. Then Dec. 12th, we are DONE with instruction, classes. It is up to me, while they are taking finals the last week of the semester, to get the grades in before my husband and I head south for a two week vacation in the warmth. Can’t wait to see the grandbabies and how they have grown from last year.
What a strange day today with near white out conditions, then sunny, more wind, then it dies down. I’m looking out now and can see two miles away, but earlier you couldn’t see 300 feet or even 50 feet in front of you out in the tundra prairie. Oh, we DO love it here because it keeps the riff-raff out. People who are up to no good do NOT want to stick around when the really bad weather starts up. It could happen any week or month now. I’m thankful though that our weather is NOT as bad as what I experienced in Astana, Kazakhstan for two winters. Now THAT country experiences a real hard-core winter and Astana being the capitol of the expansive country, you can be sure they have managed to keep most of their riff-raff out due to the extreme temps but also the high prices.
Do I want to go back to Astana? Some days I think about it but I think I would prefer Almaty even with all its air pollution and slanty roads because it is south and warmer. How did I get on this topic? I DO want to write about all the stories I collected from my Kazakh students the 3-4 years I lived and taught in Almaty and Astana. If only I had more time and didn’t have to currently teach writing…I could write and get this book that has been on the back burner finally published. It took me THREE years to come up with a title for this book “Unbroken Souls: Soviet Grandparents’ Stories from Ukraine and Kazakhstan” but it will probably take me another decade before it gets into print. Perhaps it would be best as an e-book to reach the expat community who care about these countries and who want to order it off of Amazon.com. We shall see…I just have to get to the end of THIS tunnel I am in right now, even if I feel like I am in the middle of a white out!