Friday, January 18, 2013

My Baha'i Student Mohammed, Quinoa Guilt & Other Quick Takes

1. It is always exciting to have a diverse ESL class, and this means getting a few students of non-Mexican origin. In one of my classes, I have an older student named Mohammed. He shared that he has a wife and three daughters who remain in Iran. The other students started to ask him about Islam, and he responded that he is Baha'i and has been imprisoned three times. His daughters are not permitted to attend university, and he is in the United States as a refugee. 
My first teaching experience was in Austria with a classroom filled with college-graduates from sixteen different countries. To make the teaching experience even more rewarding, the students all had American roommates, so they learned English very quickly. I have now been teaching in the United States for over a decade, and I miss the educated 'captive audience' I once had. The typical ESL student at a community college has had six years of formal education. It is a challenge working with adults who do not know how to be a student.

2. I started the new semester, teaching at the local college. I haven't ordered books yet for my students because I have no idea what level they are. So, I'll be formulating my own curriculum for another week. Then, they have the choice to buy the book or make copies from the library. Did you know- there is a box I can check on my roster, forcing each student to buy a copy of the book or they will not receive credit for the class. The average ESL book (soft-cover, 250 pages) is 45 dollars. I refuse to check that box. 

3. I was stumped as to what to give to my children for lunch. I took quinoa and boiled it in chicken broth and then threw in pieces of spinach and arugula. I felt good for giving them a healthy lunch that everyone ate. And then I clicked on this article from the guardian, telling all us Western hipster types that we are what is wrong with the world and that the people who farm quinoa can no longer afford it because of international demand....
4. These quick takes are getting serious! Here's Sting singing 'The Cherry Tree Carol'- from his album If On a Winter's Night- rest for the weary....but the entire album is rather serious, befitting its title.

5. What should I do with our Christmas tree? I'd like to be rid of it before Lent begins (Monday February 11th for us new calendar Byzantine Catholics!) Yes- St Valentine's Day is after Lent begins...so let's plan ahead and have our filet mignon the Sunday before (or after) ! (I can't find the source of the image below...so I probably shouldn't have used it....but it is so cute)
6. I continued my save-a-step cooking strategy with yesterday's dinner. I used leftover broccoli and ham and made three quiches with sauteed scallions and crumbled feta. The photo below is before the egg and cheese mixture was added.
 7. My older sister has 8 children between 16 and 1, all boys except the second and third to the last being lovely girls with curls. It has been a long tradition of theirs to have 'movie night' on Saturdays. Can you suggest any media that could work for all those age groups? I am completely out of ideas! 
She sometimes reads this blog, so please comment below- no account or code needed!
go to Jen's Conversion Diary for more!

14 comments:

  1. Hm, I think it's nearly impossible to please everyone in that wide an age range. Disney and Pixar films are interesting for a wide age range. What we do, is we start with a cartoon or two and then let the littlest ones fall asleep while we wtach something else as well.

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    1. that's what I am thinking too- or maybe a board game/ movie combo?

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  2. We are weird, we all like kids movies. :) Wall-E was one everyone liked as well as The Secret Garden and of course, The Princess Bride.

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  3. THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE!!!!! Haha one of my favorite movies EVER!

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  4. Very interesting about your ESL class...and I would not be happy to offer a $45 text book to my class either! Especially when I'm sure each dollar they earn is either spent on survival or sent to their family. I have a friend who just got back from a trip to India (her husband is Indian, she is American), and she photographed the Baha'i temple there, I know there are mostly Muslim and Hindu there, and there is a lot of religious stereotyping there. My husband was in Iraq in 2003 and 2005 (when he was in the Army) and bought 2 beautiful rugs from Iran. I hope this man in your class and his family are able to live life to the fullest, with freedom!!! We are so blessed here in America. ♥ Your quiche sound so good!

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  5. Oh, I also bought quinoa yesterday...$3.49/pound, but I often get it at Trader Joe's and it's organic, for $3.99/pound. I have seen US grown quinoa, but it's always more expensive. I know I should buy as local as possible, but I also know that quinoa is not a native food, it is grown in warmer climates, usually Bolivia or another South American country.

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    1. I know that they are able to grow chia in Australia- maybe they could grow quinoa as well and get the prices down for all!

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  6. While I was in college and grad school, I bought a mixture of new and used textbooks for classes. I've kept some of the books because of the topic. The rest I sold back although I didn't get much money for them.

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  7. That is ridiculous that the students can be forced to buy a book for the class! How is that monitored? Are they required to purchase it directly from the university bookstore? I teach a college course online as an adjunct, and while I think my students would do pretty poorly if they did not purchase the book, I wouldn't have any concrete way of knowing.

    The book that I inherited with the original syllabus for my class was outdated and cost like $60. I found a better one that is available as a PDF download for $9.99 as well is in traditional book format. I was proud of myself, but then when the other instructors of the course were considering adopting my book, I created a survey and all of my students answered that they had never failed to purchase a required textbook, regardless of format or cost. I was pretty surprised, since cost definitely motivated me when I was in college!

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    1. yes- isn't that crazy= I can check on the computer where I require them to buy the book- and they would have to buy the book from the college bookstore where they give their student numbers! I don't know how many instructors do this but I think it is unjust

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  8. Really considering not believing in God or the Catholic Church anymore.
    Made a blog to talk to others about it, if you're interested stop by:

    http://catholicismontherocks.blogspot.com/

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    Replies
    1. I replied over at your blog....but before you totally reject God, lease read conversion diary's story conversiondiary.com

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    2. For Ashleyjeanlavana...what about asking God directly in prayer what His thoughts are about whether or not you should believe in God and the Catholic Church anymore? Prayers for you!!

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  9. Sorry this is late, but how about "We Bought a Zoo" for movie night?

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