Fighting with Religious Studies

This was my first week back at ASU.  It was pretty good, except for the confrontation I had with a Religious Studies professor.  I arrived at the first meeting of my Advanced Conversational English class on Tuesday and found that another class was being taught in the room I was assigned to.  Hoping that there was a typo on my class schedule, I called the English office to verify that my class was scheduled to meet in that room.  It was.  I took a deep breath, knocked on the door, and explained to the professor that the room was reserved for my class.  He, in turn, told me that he has been there all semester and that the university’s computer system has a problem and keeps assigning his classroom to other people.  He was very polite, but it was clear that he was not budging from that room.  Luckily, a class had been cancelled 2 doors down, so I took my class into that room for the day.

The next day, my boss told me that the classroom was, indeed, mine and that I needed to kick the professor out if he was teaching there on Thursday.  She put a sign on the door saying that the classroom was reserved for an AECP class and called the professor’s department to get the classroom problem sorted out. I emailed my students to tell them that we would meet in our original, assigned classroom on Thursday. 

When I arrived to class on Thursday, my students were standing outside of the classroom looking in through the window.  One of them said “you need to fight!” and held her fists up like a boxer.  I had been dreading this all day…  I knocked on the door and did my best to be assertive and demanding.  It didn’t work.  The only way to claim the classroom as my own would have been to walk into the classroom and start teaching despite the other class being there.  And I seriously doubt that would have worked.  So we found another classroom for the day and I reported the events back to my boss, who called the campus scheduling office to get it sorted out.

One day later, we found out that the Religious Studies professor was correct.  There was something wrong with the scheduling system and it kept dropping his class.  The scheduling office wanted to put me back up in the Wells Fargo Arena, but my boss persuaded them to put me in the Education department instead (Thank goodness!)

My Piano

I have a beautiful piano that my dad bought for me when I was in high school.  After high school, I moved to Arizona and the piano was moved to my mom’s house.  It was supposed to be a temporary arrangement; I was always planning to move the piano into my own home once I had one. As it turned out, it took 11 years for me to move into a place where I could keep a piano.  (I’ve been living in small, upper-floor apartments for a long time.)  But finally, this weekend, we moved my piano into our home!

I have to say that I’ve felt extremely guilty about the piano for a long time.  I never played it, mostly because it was really out of tune and I felt bad about letting it go several years without a tuning.  I also felt embarrassed about earning a bachelor’s degree in music and not being able to play anything.  (I’m not one of those musicians who just sits down and plays by ear).

For some reason, all of my piano-guilt has disappeared now that it’s here in my house.  I’ve been having a lot of fun with it even though it’s horribly out of tune and I can’t play like I used to.  I’ve been playing a lot, and it’s nice to be back to doing something that I used to really love.  I’ve been working on a Mazurka by Debussy.  Dave’s probably sick of hearing it, but he’s too nice to complain about it!

My First Political Rally

I went to my first political rally on Friday, and I’m a little ashamed to say that I left before it started.  Barack Obama was at ASU on Friday.  I saw a sign saying that he was speaking at 10 am.  My orientation meeting finished at about 9:45, so a coworker and I decided to head over to the lawn outside the library to see him.  Neither of us are huge Obama fans.; We just thought  it would be cool to see the famous politician. 

There were a ton of people at the rally.  Obama was speaking outside, and they had an area roped off.  You could get “inside” the roped off area if you waited in a really long line.  We tried to get in line, but we couldn’t find the end of the line because there were so many people waiting in it.  Instead, we found a nice place to stand outside of the roped off area.  It was a great spot.  We had a good view of the microphone.  We waited and waited….  Our spot got more and more crowded.  It was hot.  At one point some guys came out and threw T-shirts to the audience.  We continued to wait.  It was really hot.  And we left at 10:45. 

I heard that Obama did eventually come out and talk.  It was probably good that I left when I did, though.  He talked for awhile, and I would have felt funny leaving while he was talking.  And I had a lot of work to do.

So I didn’t take this picture of Barack Obama at ASU.  I downloaded it from the internet.  It’s a better picture than I’d have taken anyway.

My week off

I love the fall.  It’s my favorite season of the year, and it looks like it’s finally here.  We’ve turned off our air conditioner in the house and we’re enjoying the nice change in weather.  It’s great to be able to go outside and be comfortable!

I’m on break from my job at ASU.  Our terms are only 8 weeks long, so we finished the first fall session last week.  I really like the schedule at ASU, and I think it is good for the students.  Each of our courses only lasts 8 weeks, but we cover a full semester’s worth of material.  Students are in class for 4-6 hours a day, so it’s intense, but students really learn a lot!  We’ll start the next session on Monday.  I’ve kept busy this week with a couple of other jobs (TOEFL and South Mountain Community College). 

Many of my students at ASU and one of my students at South Mountain were observing Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting.  They weren’t able to eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset for about a month.  Ramadan ended last Friday, so my Turkish student at SMCC brought some Turkish food to class last night to celebrate!  She brought baklava and some lentil lettuce wraps.  The other students in the class had never tried any mediterranean food. They loved it! 

In other news, my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew left yesterday for Morocco.  They’re going to keep a blog while they’re there.  Here’s the address:  http://manna.castillomania.com/

I’m excited for them, but I’m really going to miss hanging out with Natalie and Mike and playing with Caleb.  I guess we need to start saving up for some plane tickets…