Friday, April 28, 2006

Today's Random Summary

. . . I am so excited – two of my level 2 ESL students have graduated from our program! This means that they received high enough scores on the assessment exam that they did not have to take level 3 and can now go on to community college level ESL classes. Woo Hoo!

This is a first for me, but it seems like it should happen much more often. When people first take the placement test, anything could happen – they could be having a bad day, be very distracted or the evaluator could interpret their answers differently and as a result someone could end up with a lower placement score than reflects their true proficiency level. Also, the test does not test reading and writing skills very well, so you could place out of the program with excellent oral skills, but still not be able to read or write English very well at all. (As is the case with one of the folks who just placed out.) The organization is supposed to be looking at implementing a new assessment tool, but I have no idea when that will be. It is also hard to get a lot of reading and writing instruction in when you are only dealing with people 2 hours a night, twice a week, with volunteer instructors. The students are always asking for more conversation, pronunciation and vocabulary skills to help them interact better with native speakers and allow them to get better jobs.

The student who placed out of the program with poor reading and writing skills has been matched with a one-on-one tutor, who will work with him exclusively on his reading and writing – so I am very happy that he will continue to get the help he needs . . .

. . . I am a lousy commenter on other people’s blogs. Usually when I read other blogs, I only have time to sneak a peak. Other times, I don’t feel confident enough to comment. There is an old saying that I have internalized (and that I probably have wrong) “If you don’t talk people may only think you’re stupid, unless you open your mouth and prove them true.” So I tend not to say much both in real life and on blogs. My new boss has pegged me as an “observer,” which is a rather accurate assessment. . .

I have a huge inferiority complex, haven’t you been able to tell? A lot of times I think I know just enough to sound really stupid to people who actually know what I am trying to say. A lot of times, I will know what I want to say, but struggle to find the appropriate words. The picture will be in my head, but I just can’t say what it is. . .

It is really frustrating and I feel really bad about it. I think part of it is not having enough confidence – I know lots of people who are just wrong, wrong, wrong, but they say things in such a way that sounds really intelligent, if you know what I mean . . .

. . . This is going to be a beautiful and very busy weekend. I am really hoping that we get to the nursery tomorrow and buy some plants for the balcony – I feel the need to nurture at the moment. I also hope we finally get a wireless router so I can actually use my laptop as a mobile workstation, instead of being chained to the desk in the den. The den isn’t big enough for both Mr. Random and I to sit in there at the same time . . .

. . . The studio idea is on hold, but not off of the table. Last weekend we talked to some actual artists to ask about where they know of studio space and most of them said they either work out of their homes (they have enough space to do so) or find spaces in marginal neighborhoods and share the rent with 3 or 4 people. One of our desires is to have a space near where we live so that we can get to it easily and actually get a lot of use out of the space, but given those parameters it will take us forever to find a spot . . .

. . . National Poetry Month is ending. I’m sure you all will be glad to not have to see any more of my horrid attempts at poetry. I do have some decent raw material to work from should I ever wish to improve. From now on, I’ll go back to spotlighting the random cool poets and poems that I find in my wanderings. Trying to write a poem every day during National Poetry Month has increased my appreciation for the hard work that goes into crafting a good poem . . .

6 comments:

Tree of Knowledge said...

You can tell me I'm wrong. I don't mind. I'd love to have a real debate on my blog. But I think a lot of us are too tired to post anything of substance on anyone's blog right now (including our own). And I'm horrible about commenting too. We should start a club.

Tree of Knowledge said...

Oh yeah, congrats on the two students graduating! That's exciting.

Merci said...

Just do it! The more you speak up and the more you comment on other people's blogs, the more comfortable you will become with these things.

justrose said...

i totally blew off napowrimo this year, so kudos to you for writing. i just ... i don't know. i'm a typical poet i guess. i ignore the fire of it for years on end. but i'm always, always, thinking of it and in it. it never goes away, you know?

Virginia Gal said...

oh I make stupid comments all the time - I sometimes fear I comment too much and people wish I'd just shut up.

Please know you are always invited to comment on my blog and I nothing you could say would be "stupid."

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