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Overwhelm

Sometimes you just get overwhelmed. It used to be that just one big task used to freeze you up, but now you have a plethora big tasks, with little yapping small-but-important-it-will-only-take-a-minute tasks.

And then lockdown seems inevitable.

Another brick

Lately, when grading tests I started dreading a student doing TOO well. When I started a the first page perfect 100%, that 80% on the next page came as a relief.

This is because I previously got into trouble for not noticing a student was placed into a class of a too low level (the system confused her with her sister and spit out the wrong birthdate) - hey, I'm still new at this, okay? And I get little guidelines for things line baseline ability.

All I'm saying, even private academies are not free from the educational systems drawback of having to have everybody conform. There are mechanisms in place that form not only students in that way, but also the teachers.

Let us maintain our chill composure

One of the things you learn the hard way when teaching English is that mental preparation is as important as coursework preparation. You may have the best lesson plan ever, but if you are too upset, you will start jumping from point to point, misread excercise numbers and, worst of all, have trouble reading a classes reaction to it.

Because of this I think the worst thing about private language academies is the fact that you have no breaks between lessons most of the time. You finish one class at 7:45PM only to start another one immediately in the same classroom, so you have no time to cool down after your pupils got on your nerves.

This is what happened to me today, as my 8 year olds managed to get me to lose my cool and the adult after them was a complete disaster. Sigh... this job gets to you, man.

Another term, another deadline

Since the winter term is coming to a close here in Spain, I had to write some reports yesterday (and have Anna translate them, because my boss is not responding to my pleas for an advanced Spanish class).

The worst thing you can do with reports is write them at the end of the term I think. It's very hard to remember all that happened in a term and it can be daunting to come up with something constructive to say. I think I should start a student diary, just to record my students progress better. Sure, I have the weekly tests and pop quizzes to gauge their reading and grammar skills, but listening, speaking, writing - all of those need to be tracked way more closely. And what about those intangibles: motivation, cooperativeness, camaraderie?

All in all, I think I did a good job this term with the reports, but dang it if this term didn't suck for all involved. I really feel that despite our hard work, me and my students didn't progress as well as we expected.

That paperwork

Man, the paperwork at my job is killing me: weekly tests, report sheets, attendance lists, test result sheets, lesson plans, lesson reports and everything has to be done in real time, because all of this is part of you building a dynamic lesson plan. If they weren't paying me a boatload, I would be really stressed.

Still, my days are kind of segmented now between morning classes and afternoon classes and it's getting hard to get anything done.

Carry on my wayward... buyer?

Albert just sent me a wonderful present: a Nintendo DSi. The console came with a copy of Pokemon Platinum (in German of all languages), whose owner forgot to wipe her save.

At first I wanted to delete the save, but the Pokemon game first prompts you twice before doing that and on the second prompt I decided to check it out.

It seems Alison, the previous owner of the cart got through all of the League's Elite Four, but couldn't manage to beat the League Champion, Cynthia. Nor did she finish her regional Pokedex.

When I tried beating Cynthia with Alison's team I got beat badly and I decided that no, I'm not going to delete this save. I'm going to finish Alison's pokedex, I'm going to curbstomp Cynthia and then I'm going to catch all the Hoenn pokes, legendaries I can find. I mean, Alison already went so far, it's time to finish this mother off.

I also bought Pokemon Black in Spanish, to practice Spanish, but I think I like Platinum more. Then again, I'm only three gyms in.

To Boldly Feels

Man, the TGWTG.com anniversary video is finally over and Doug Walker is retiring the Nostalgia Critic character. All of my feels. All of them.

Seriously, NC and Spoony were a big part of my media consumption for a while now, though probably the most significant during my 4th year of college, when I would sap their videos using Firefox plug-in magic to watch later at home, where I had the saddest excuse of an Internet connection ever. I cannot tell you how many times I have re-watched the Batman and Robin review.

Still, Spoony promises he will ramp up the video production soon enough as his doctors finally figured out the meds he should be taking, so there's that.

Me? I'm just going to continue with my newest media addiction: podcasts. It started at first as a way to while away the hours on the bus, shuttled between Llodio and Vitoria. Now, even though I already moved to Vitoria proper, I still find myself gorging my ears with Read It and Weep, Gundamn, Weekly Manga Recap and everything Lordkat puts out in mp3 form. Somebody make Spoony start a podcast with the Cinema Snob and I may never again take out my earbud headphones.

Oh, yeah and I now have an apartment with Anna, a new full-time job and I may be going back to school to get my MA. But, you know, those are the unimportant details.

Homesick

When I was in Milan dad gave me the book my mom bought me for my birthday. He also said that I was practically the only person who talks to mom about that stuff, because none of their friends are into literature and writing like I am.

I never felt guilty about leaving home - my parents always made sure to tell me how proud they are of me striking out on my own - but that line really hit me. I have to visit them more often.

Milan, here I come!

I will be heading out for the Gods of Metal festival in Milan until the 26th of June. I will be one of the hundreds of bearded men there. Say 'hi' if you see us.

Look both ways before crossing

Lately I've been playing Monster Hunter Freedom Unite on my PSP. The game is fun, but so frickin' hard sometimes. I think one of the things that makes it so hard is the camera.

In other PSP action games, like Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy for example, the camera can lock on to an opponent and track his movement, making sure he is almost always on screen and your movements are relative to his. So you can actually be running away from him, while still watching his body for tells of an upcoming move.


I know this looks bad, but the horned guy actually sees it coming and will dodge.


What's more, even if you lock on you camera to something else on the field (like a powerup), there is still a blue floating arrow around you that shows you where the opponent is.


It's rude to point.


On the other hand, in MHFU the camera is fixed on you and barely even turns when you. Which means enemies can jump you any time if you're not cautious.


Not pictured: the five bugs the hunter is running into.


You have to remember: this is a game where you will often be fighting multiple enemies on screen or a humongous enemy that takes, literally, half an hour to kill. The best part? The fixed, manually controlled camera is a feature.

How? Well, think back to your last football match. Did you always know where the ball is? Didn't you sometimes look behind you to see where your teammates were? The camera in MHFU is supposed to simulate that. It's manually controlled so you actually have to pay attention to your surroundings and situation - you will sometimes have to disengage the enemy to just run out a bit and see check what the other 3 monsters are doing.

The camera is hard getting used to, but it contributes immensely to the ambience of the game. When assessing the situation actually needs to be part of your combat technique you really feel like you are hunting dragons.