Friday, February 28, 2014

A great start

Yesterday was my second day in the office on campus. I don't have any pictures to share yet, as I thought it would have been a little silly of me to show up and start taking pictures like a tourist! Offices are shared here, and my office mate is the charming Millaray, who was so welcoming and helpful. We found out we are both avid readers, prefer tea to coffee (she has a lot of tea in the office to share!), and that we both like cacti. She has several in the office, which is nice for me-especially since I don't think we'll be able to have plants in our apartment due to the eastern exposure and tall buildings around us.

I will be teaching Advanced English I and will be working from a new syllabus. This was a bit of a shock, as I begin teaching Monday. But the other profs are in the same boat, apparently. It seems a new curriculum was created, and the syllabi are just becoming available. This new one is actually quite a bit better than the old, so I'm looking forward to the class, and have more direction as to what I need to do.

As you can imagine, things are done differently at PUCV then they are at Bradley. For instance, while there is an online course management system like at BU, I can't get on it yet and may not be able to do so for several weeks. This is where my class list is, and would also be where I could post assignments, electronic documents and things of this nature. Also, students may not be registered yet, and won't be for 2 or 3 weeks more, as they are still in the process of paying for their classes. So as of now, I don't know how many students will be attending either class!

Millaray also let me know that this year is supposed to be a VERY active year for student strikes, due to the new president, Bachelet who will be sworn in on March 11. She served a term before: in Chile presidents can serve more the once, but not consecutively. I've been told that while she talks a lot about education, she didn't come through in the past, and also that she did not get votes from young people this time around so students are not at all happy.

What all this boils down to is I may be doing very little teaching this semester. This would be a shame, as I'm really excited about the classes I've been assigned. If classes were cancelled due to student strikes, I would then have more time for developing workshops for inservice teachers, and perhaps be able to visit other campuses in the country as well.

Just to let you know, we are moving today and are not sure about when we'll have internet installed in the new place. I do have access at work, so I can check email, but I most likely won't be blogging from work!

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