Oberlin Blogs

My Winter Term in Lists (part 2)

February 4, 2011

Zoe McLaughlin ’11

Five things I learned because of Winter Term

  1. Once I'm in Indonesia, I could teach a class as small as ten or as large as ninety.
    This is a very intimidating thought and one that I'm still trying to get used to.
  2. It's possible to teach English, completely in English, to people who speak no English.
    I won't claim that it's easy, but it can be done. I also won't claim that this is the approach I'll take in Indonesia, but I'll at least try to emulate it, since it seems like a very good way to go about things. In high school, we tried the same thing in my French class, with limited success, but I think if enforced, it could work well.
  3. My boss at the museum would be proud.
    I don't put my hands in my pockets anymore, just like when I was doing demonstrations at the museum. In fact, I spend most of my time thinking about not putting my hands in my pockets.
  4. Make classes student-centered.
    This means making students responsible for their own learning, which means making students interested in their own learning. Group work also helps a lot. Plus, I feel a lot more comfortable as a teacher when my students are working in groups.
  5. Once you start thinking like a teacher, it's easy to come up with things to review each lesson.
    For example, throughout the days when we studied aliens and Bigfoot, the words "abducted," "kidnapped," "hovering," and "floating" came up multiple times in readings. I noticed right away and started emphasizing them.


Four fun books I read

  1. The Science of Fairy Tales by Edwin Sidney Hartland
    What I'm currently reading. After some extensive Wikipedia reading on fairies and changelings, I decided to move on to reading their sources. Luckily for me, the Oberlin College library even has obscure books like this one.
  2. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
    A film adaptation of this was recently released, but the novel has been on my to-read list for almost two years. Again, the Oberlin College library pulled through for me.
  3. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
    I sobbed through the last quarter of this and was irritable for days after finishing. And that's all I'm going to say about that.
  4. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
    This is probably what spawned the reading about the origins of changelings, as it deals with a small town that has a changeling problem.


Three things not part of my project that I did anyway

  1. The Winter Term opera.
    It was rough there for a while, but it's started coming together. And it's creepy. Very, very creepy. The first time we rehearsed with the singers, I got chills.
  2. Went to Cleveland to figure out what food to order for CSA's Chinese New Year banquet.
    We're having--among other things--very delicious tofu, roast chicken of some sort, and amazing green beans. And that's just what CSA is providing, to say nothing of the Oberlin Korean Students Association and the Vietnamese Students Association.
  3. Listened to a lot of musical theater.
    Is there a musical about Scientology? Yes. Is there a musical about Wal-Mart taking over the United States? Yes. Is there a musical based on a silent German film and does said musical star Oberlin grad Judy Kuhn ('81)? Yes.


Two things I'm going to do next semester

  1. Really concentrate on creative writing.
    Every semester I tell myself I'll do this, but then the reality of chemistry classes sets in and creative writing starts taking a backseat. This semester I'm purposely planning less math/science courses so that this doesn't happen again. I'll be working on my capstone project--several stories that would constitute an application to grad school were I to decide to go that route--and I want it to be good.
  2. Make the most of the resources available to me while I still can.
    Meaning I want to go to Career Services to get advice on my life after Oberlin and I want to talk to professors about grad school and the decisions I should still be making even after graduation. I've got some of what I'm going to do figured out, but there's still a lot more to work on.


One thing I don't have time for

  1. Hanging out with people.
    I thought, Oh, it's Winter Term. I'll have time to actually see people, unlike during the semester! I was wrong. Shansi training took up a lot of time, and the opera took up the rest of it. Maybe over the coming semester...


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