Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Starting the new year off right

So far, 2015 has been off to a good start. We've been working hard on getting organized and I've been making good progress getting some new projects off the ground. We've got two huge Ikea bags of old clothes ready to go to Goodwill, two grocery-sized bags of books to take to Half Price Books, and even found a place where we can recycle our old printers (yes, plural!). I've started a new eating plan and so far (*knock on wood*) my stomach's been feeling better than it has in months. Cross your fingers for me!

Yes, folks, that's the t-shirt folding thing that Sheldon on Big Bang Theory uses. J loves it!

Things are starting to move forward at my various jobs/projects.  I just finished my first couple of headbands for my etsy store! I will open that (and start looking for craft fairs) once I feel like I have enough of a stock to really start advertising and selling.  I've also booked two vendor shows as an exhibitor for Thirty-One Gifts. One bridal show and one pet expo! Should be fun. If you're in the area, let me know and I'll give you the details to stop by. I may also have one more bridal show in July. Additionally, I've been putting out some feelers for possible January parties. If you're interested in hosting one, just let me know! (Double hostess credit in January! I do online and catalog parties, too :) )

My online class started this week and I'm trying not to be too overwhelmed by the fact that the number of students I have has nearly doubled. Yikes. But I got my teaching evaluations back from last semester (I'm teaching the same course again) and they were very good. 100% of my students who submitted evaluations said they'd recommend me as a professor (90% said they'd "strongly recommend" me) and 100% said they were satisfied with the online course experience. This is good to hear as I gear up for the spring semester.

I also started teaching ESOL classes again today, though only a three week session for an organization my regular employer works with. This organization helps refugees and they (the refugees) have required hours of English lessons. Since my real job doesn't start back for another 3 weeks, I offered to teach for their clients a few times a week until then. Today I had mostly planned to do introductions and had planned for a very low level class, but it turned out the students mostly all knew each other and were at a higher level than I anticipated. We finished what I had planned for the class 15 minutes into a 2.5 hour session! But one of the things about being an adult ESOL teacher in mixed-level community-based classes is that you have to be flexible and learn to go with the flow. I pulled a couple of picture dictionaries out of the supply closet (I use both Oxford Picture Dictionary and English for Everyday Activities: A Picture Process Dictionary) and we went over a few pages of those books. Then we played a game where I divided the students into two groups by level and gave each group a stack of cards. Each card had two words written on them that were either the same word (for example: "cares cares") or two similar words ("cares scare"). The students worked together to determine if the words on each card were the same or different. With the more advanced students, we also discussed the definitions of the words on the cards.  It actually worked out really well!  I think I'm going to look for some more games to play with this group as a "fun" way to learn English before the official classes start up again in a few weeks. Any suggestions?

And, finally, I thought after 2.5 weeks off - I'd be bored out of my mind and ready to go back. But, alas, I wasn't. It's not that I don't love my job. It's just that I had so much I was going to do to be productive over my break and I didn't even come close to finishing it all! The good news is that I'm only working part time for the next 3 weeks so I still have time to make a little more progress on that to do list. Wish me luck! :)

Stay safe and warm, everyone!


  1. I have a love hate with your comment section. I wonder if mine does this.
    You are a great teacher and I'm not at all surprised they loved you.
    I love the headbands and am totally going to buy one. Oh my gosh they are cute. You found my weakness in that cute black and white check.
    And I am going to look at the bags. They sound very convenient. You may suck me in yet.

  2. What is my comments section doing to you? Maybe there's something I can fix. Maybe.

    Thanks for the compliments on my teaching :) I really try to be a good teacher. I find the online classes to be particularly difficult because I get so much of my energy from classroom interaction and it's really hard to get a good sense of the class through the online discussion boards.

    Glad you like the headbands! I'm really excited about some of the patterns, but I do think this one is my favorite :) I'm open to suggestions if there's anything else you'd love to see. (Though I should probably start actually selling some before I buy any more materials.... )

    Ha! about the bags. I just find them really useful and would probably be telling everyone about them even if I weren't a consultant. Let me know if you have any questions about them :)