My new semester is just 5 days away. Usually, I feel more prepared for the start of the semester, but I’m not feeling it this time. It’s not that I am unprepared. I just don’t feel prepared enough. I’ve got all the little necessities done: syllabi – check; tentative schedules – check; course homepages – check; first week of lessons and activities – check. So, what’s left to do? Part of my unprepared feelings is that I am taking a more relaxed approach this semester. I am trying to slow down in terms of what we learn in class, so I am planning less ahead. This is scary for me, because I usually need to be well planned if I want to successfully balance my work and home life (being a father of two isn’t easy).
I am also very excited about this semester. I have come up with some new projects for my students that I think they will love. This is also the first semester where I will have one of my graduate classes completely design the syllabus for their course – I’m most excited about this. I am also excited about the presentations, skits, and videos students will be making this semester. It seems like I’m pretty well planned, doesn’t it?
I guess I feel like I haven’t planned enough. So, to alleviate these feelings, I have begun to do some different planning – goal planning. What am I trying to accomplish this year, both in and out of the classroom? Why am I doing all this preparing and planning? Here are my goals for 2014:
- Focus on listening and pronunciation more in my conversation classes.
- Focus more on emergent language.
- Find ways to give more individualized feedback, even in larger classes.
- Integrate music more into my teaching.
- Find a way to use Game of Thrones as a teaching activity (usually, I use zombies).
- Use less paper , or use it more strategically.
- Have students keep lexical journals.
- Write up and publish my research into a journal article.
- Find a new research project.
- Speak at a conference.
- Blog more about the activities I do in class.
- Blog more in general.
- Study for the GRE every week.
- Take and ace the GRE this summer.
- Decide on a PhD program.
- Join the Peace Boat.
- Read one or two books on linguistics, applied or traditional.
- Continue with Python and Android coding.
- Try to start again at the MMA gym.
- Relax more.
- Publish my children’s book.
- Finish the Clan of the Cave Bear book series.
- Start the Game of Thrones book series.
- Travel to Okinawa and/or Bali.
- Get off my phone.
- Build more with legos.