Friday, November 30, 2012

Week 48; the last week of teaching before Christmas

Like it's indicated in the heading, this week was the last week of teaching before our Christmas break. On Monday we talked about Christmassy things. First of all, we went through vocabulary concerning Christmas as a holiday, different foods, plants, decorations, baked goods etc. Secondly, we talked about different Christmas traditions in our country and abroad. We also compared different Christmas customs inside Finland, and it turned out that there are differences for instance between Christmas foods in western and eastern parts of the country! I am from eastern Finland, and for us it has always been obvious that we have Karelian stew/hot pot at Christmas, whereas in the western part of the country it is apparently never included in the Christmas menu! The same applies also to liver casserole and some other dishes. Also it is interesting to find out about other traditions concerning Christmas, like when it is the right time to bring in the Christmas tree. I learnt on Monday that some people agree with my husband thinking that the right time to decorate the Christmas tree is on the morning of Christmas Eve! I have always thought that this is inevitably too late; in my opinion everything should be ready for Christmas before Christmas Eve! You can only guess how infuriating it is when my husband sets off to buy Christmas presents on Christmas Eve! He says it's the best time; things are already on sale and there are no queues anywhere. Yeah yeah, but like I said; it is too late, things should be ready before Christmas Eve...!!

On Tuesday we also talked a bit about Christmassy things, but actually we spent most of our lesson watching a theatrical performance and discussing it. We all went to see the new play of our black light theatre group Lumo, and we liked it immensely. The performance mixed black light theatre techniques, puppet theatre and 'regular' theatre. Also different effects like music, songs, different sounds, and the use of darkness, lights and shadows give a special atmosphere to the show. It was really worth seeing; we strongly recommend it!

On Thursday I actually had a substitute teacher since my cold got worse and I also got an ear infection on top of everything else! I have been feeling under the weather for a few weeks now, and in addition to a sore throat, a cough and a cold I also started having a bit of a temperature and an ear infection. That is why my boss and I agreed that it would probably be best if I stayed at home for the rest of the week and tried to get myself well again. I got some antibiotics for the ear, and I hope they'll start working soon. Me left ear is pretty sore and it is also deaf at the moment, so I feel pretty uncomfortable altogether.

All in all, it's been a nice term, and I have enjoyed working with my students. All of the groups are different from each other, and that is one of the things that makes my work interesting and versatile. Thank you all; have a Very Merry Christmas, and I'll see you again in January! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Week 47

This week started with music; we had a juke box jury on Monday. Those people who were present were really able to make themselves heard because of the scarcity of the participants! We really had only a few people there; others had all kinds of hindrances (sickness, work etc.) that explained why they couldn't join us. But anyhow, we had a good time and listened to some beautiful music with our small group. The selection of music ranged from choir music to Mozart, and we had a nice chat about the songs. On Tuesday and Thursday we talked about some important events that have occurred in 2012 both in Finland and abroad. We also had discussions about some significant people who have passed away during this year.

Next week we're going to talk about Christmassy things, since it'll be our last meetings before the Christmas break. On Tuesday and Thursday we will also discuss our impressions on the new performance of our black light theatre -group Lumo. We agreed that we will go and see the performance together with the Tuesday group, and since almost all of the people in the Thursday group are going to see the play anyhow, we will also discuss it with them on Thursday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Week 46

This week we continued with the topic of the American presidential elections on Monday and Tuesday, so now we've dealt with this issue in all of the discussion groups. It was actually very interesting to compare the electoral systems in the USA and Finland. We quite unanimously came to the conclusion that the Finnish system is simpler. On Thursday we had a juke box jury, and again the people in the group brought extremely beautiful music with them. There were some singers that were unfamiliar to the rest of us, and certain names of singers and records were written down for further use! Next week we will have a juke box jury also with the Monday group, so then we've had it once in each group. On Tuesday and Thursday we will sum up the most important events that took place in 2012, both in our country and also elsewhere.

In addition to different English courses I also run a film course, which means that each time we have a specific film to deal with and talk about. I have been trying to choose different kind of films from different directors, and so far we've had Billy Wilder, Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock and  Martin Scorsese on the 'menu'. I have actually had problems with these directors; the abundance of their work is so extensive that it is difficult to choose just one film from each director. Naturally, there are films that just have to have their turn in this course; for instance, you just cannot have a proper film course without the film Citizen Kane! Actually I'm going to collect some material on that very film today, and maybe I'll watch it during the weekend once more. The film has so many layers and so many references to other things that it would be impossible to analyze it well straight after you've seen it. It takes time for this film to really sink in, just like all good films.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Week 45

This week we actually had different topics for all of my conversation groups. On Monday we talked about appearances, and like I promised, not just about the appearances of people. The majority of people on the Monday discussion group are men, so I thought it might be interesting for them to talk about cars as well as people! I suppose I was right; there seemed to be a lot of discussion about different makes and models, and pros and cons of different kind of cars. Quite interestingly, the men also all agreed that their first choice for a beautiful and elegant car would be an Aston Martin, not for instance an Audi, a BMW or even a Jaguar. Maybe Aston Martins possess such subtle elegance that it is just impossible to resist..? Although it has to be said that personally I also think Jaguars (for instance the S-type) or Rovers are also extremely beautiful cars, but there is no accounting for tastes! And of course, an old Aston Martin DB5 is just simply a dish, isn't she?

On Tuedsay we had a juke box jury, which was nice. The people in the group brought extremely beautiful music with them, and the time seemed to fly by really fast! We also had versatile opinions and fruitful discussions about the songs, and we agreed that this will be done again some time during the spring term!

On Thursday the topic was the presidential elections in the USA, and we had texts and discussion about this topic. The outcome of the election was evident already on Thursday, so we were also able to talk about the things we assume Obama will concentrate on during his second term. Next week we will talk about this topic with the Monday and Tuesday groups as well.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Week 44

It's been quite a week! On Monday I had to be off work because my daughter was ill. On Tuesday and Wednesday I was at work ('business as usual'), but on Wednesday evening I hopped on a train and went to Helsinki. The reason for that was that I went to a two-day seminar that had to do with Suomenlinna both as a tourist site and as a World Heritage Site. Our adult education centre is a so-called 'UNESCO-school', which means that we have for instance lectures on different Finnish UNESCO-sites and arrange visits to them. Next April we will have lectures on Suomenlinna in all of the four municipalities in our adult education centre (Suonenjoki, Rautalampi, Vesanto and Tervo), and some time in the late spring/early summer we are going to have a cultural trip to Helsinki. The planning of this visit has only just begun, but the idea is that there will be a visit to Suomenlinna and also to some other cultural events or places (museums etc.). I think I got some very good ideas for the upcoming trip from this seminar!

The topics for the discussion groups will vary a bit between different groups next week. With the Monday group we will continue to talk about appearances, and like I wrote before; we will not be talking only about the appearances of different people. On Tuesday we will be having a juke box jury (=levyraati). The presidential elections will be held on Tuesday the 6th November, and that is the topic we will be discussing with the Thursday group. The Monday and Tuesday groups will have this same discussion topic in the following week.