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5:27 p.m. - January 28, 2005
Grr. Just shut up and pay attention
The day passed slowly and too often I caught myself looking out the windows at the snow, wishing I could send everybody away early and finish the seminar, announce benignly like a pleased son how proud I am of their aptitude and lo! the three-day training has become two and it's time to go home.

I dislike Powerpoint because it forces me to lecture linearly, traverse the points in domino fashion, just like reading from a script. I still refuse to repeat orally what is presented on the slides, so I know there's still some resistance inside. There was just more fun back in the pre-Powerpoint trainings, when I was all over the place and filled up boards and flip charts with material. Now, I feel canned, stale. The problem is me, because I've done this too often and somewhere it became a chore instead of a pleasure.

I like it when I make the audience laugh with my wry comments or jokes. When that happens I feel, however briefly, like a part of the group. A lot of laughing today, which made the day bearable.

I don't think I allotted enough time for questions - they are endless and distracting, take up precious minutes. With 32 people here representing a (wide) variety of languages, I'm kind of annoyed that they can't extrapolate and apply from L3 to L-whichever-they-teach, thus forcing me to what I consider an excessive amount of review and individual responses. Must remind self that behind the scenes I'm the bitch, an outside consultant hired to solve their problems, problems that arise when states create standards for foreign languages and teachers become accountable for student non-progress and utter lack of accomplishing the most basic skill in a second or foreign language.

One teacher in particular was hard on herself, wrongly so, in my opinion, and I said as much. Good teachers pour their souls into their classroom and can create miracles both minor and spectacular, but the reality is too many young people are disinterested in the basic concept of work or practice, much less awareness or interest in something beyond the confines of their immediate pot-filled, tv-watching, doomed-to-work-at-Walmart spheres. I mean fuck, they're not even fluent in English, so how and why is it we expect them to acquire and demonstrate practical proficiency in French, Spanish, Latin, German, ASL, Chinese, Japanese, or any other tongue? The sad fact is that in 2004 the standards and expected outcomes across the board and subjects other than foreign languages are worse off than they were in 1965 for eigth graders. Do you understand what that means? We are literally becoming dumber each year and worse, today's college students don't realize it at all. Shit, yesterday's college students didn't realize it either, especially the one Spanish teacher with an M.A. working as a Wandering Jew Adjunct at several colleges, who was most vocal about the lack of discipline in the classroom - my students just will not stop chattering! - while herself chattering in an all-too-audible whisper that royally pissed me off.

An initial pisser-offer was finding out how much the attendees paid to attend the training: $150.00. Multiply by 32 = $4,800. The coordinator of the college bitched and moaned so much I approved a $300 discount, and I see they're making a huge profit over what they're paying me. Damn, I hate that.

I want to go to a bar so badly tonight and become lost in the swirl of other people's lives bumping into each other like atoms.

I want to go home.


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