Monday, October 30, 2006

Look who's back...back again

Okay, I know it's been forever since I posted, but honestly, life's been a little too crazy lately. We had to make an emergency trip to the United States for three weeks due to a death in my wife's family. We've been back in the Philippines for almost a week now. I think we're finally over our jetlag and we're almost all healthy again.

So, it's time to get back to work. I really tried to knuckle down today. We left the week of finals, so there were lots of requirements that had been handed in and finals that hadn't been graded. We had the students submit things to the academic dean while we were gone, so I headed over to his house to collect the submissions. It was pouring down rain (as it did all day today; we're in the midst of a typhoon), so I carried an umbrella and picked my way carefully across campus. Along the way, I stopped at a couple of other faculty houses to drop off some chocolates we had brought back from the US. Most of the other faculty were just getting their day started; they had gone out of town to hold promotional services over the weekend and had returned late last night. The academic dean gave me the papers I needed. I asked if there was a schedule for this semster's classes (which starts next Monday). He said he was working on it.

Back at home, I sat down and began working on grading missions papers. There were only 12 students in that class, but it seemed like I wasn't able to get very far. They each wrote a paper on a world religion and on an Asian country. I got most of the world religion papers read, but I haven't even started on the country reports. I got interrupted several times because we are trying to start Elijah on "school" this week. We found some interesting curriculum at I had read most of the material, but Tiffany was the one teaching, so she had to ask me for direction a few times. I think it was a bit of a rough start, but we'll keep trying and hopefully he'll begin to find it a part of his routine. We're also working on potty-training him, but we're very much in the beginning stages of that.

Anyhow, back to grading papers. Finally, I switched to grading philosophy papers. There were 20 students in that class, and they also had 2 papers each. One was supposed to be a personal life philosophy. That was a hard one to grade, primarily because none of the students seemed to understand what I was asking for. I wanted them to give their personal answers to the big questions of life, like "What is real?", "What is true?", "Is there meaning to existence?", etc. Instead, what I got was a hodgepodge of testimonies, pity sayings, description of their ideal spouses, etc. Then there was one girl had a typewritten paper of about 3400 words, which was a little hard to grade alongside another which was about 80 words scrawled on a piece of typing paper.

The other paper was even worse.