Friday, January 19, 2007

Work Update

Well, I decided to take some english classes at Javeriana. It wasn't something I really wanted to do and I highly doubt that I'll have a 2nd semester in me, but for now, it made sense. I'm only teaching 14 hours a week and 4 of those are Intro to International Relations. The 10 hours of English class are all scheduled for the mornings of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday meaning that I have the afternoons off to continue my job hunt, work part-time if I'm so lucky, or volunteer. I also have Tuesday's and Thursday's completely free.

As classes start Monday, I now have a lot of work to do. In fact, it's a bit bizarre the way things were sort of just handed to me. They gave me the books and that's it. Now, there's a meeting this afternoon at 4pm, so I'm guessing there will be more info available about grading, tests, the semester calender, etc. But if there isn't, I've got some serious questions to ask. Because as is, I basically am going into this blind. Fortunately, teaching english isn't a particularly difficult thing once you get the hang of it. And, since I have 9 months of experience, I feel that I should be able to manage adequately.

The International Relations course is a bit different. If I were teaching in the US or the UK, I would immediately go to several key source books that I'm familiar with and start from there. However, those books appear to be unavailable. I will be receiving some materials this afternoon (journal articles mainly, I think) that have been used in previous classes, but the primary text that the previous professor used is in Spanish.

This is going to make my life more difficult. Fortunately, I have a good bit of notes from my MA program and that's given me a bit of a course outline. I have work to do to develop things more, but I basically have a good idea of what I want to focus on and how I want to organize the class. Plus, the previous professor gave me a good bit of his materials - course outline, previous exams, essays, etc. So I have some material to help me on my way. But, I have a lot of work to do between now and Wednesday if I want to make this course something special.

At any rate, while I'm happy for the opportunity to teach at Javeriana (and make more money in 14 hours/week than I was working 20 at my other English job), the job search continues. I met briefly with an HR rep from an international NGO yesterday and my wife is organizing a meeting with a doctor that she knows who works with Doctors Without Borders and has tie-ins to a variety of organizations in that sector. Hopefully something is going to come up.

Of course, if I am able to establish a relationship with the International Relations department at Javeriana, then perhaps I'll be able to teach and publish as a normal professor. That could be an enjoyable experience. We shall see.

Anyway, I'm thankful to have some work, even if the majority of it isn't what I'm really after. Sitting in the house all day, even if I'm "working" on my things, gets a bit boring and surely would have driven my wife mad (if it hadn't already). So this is going to help for a lot of reasons. But, absent a real opportunity to work in my field, I'm still pessimistic about our future here. I know that English teaching has run its course. And I'm worried that I'm not going to find a valuable opportunity.

Still no word from the company that offered me the job. They're totally annoying me right now. I called them twice this week, once reaching my contact only to be told that he was in a meeting and would call me back. Still waiting. At this point, I find it highly unlikely that I would say "yes" to any decision that they made. I'm not really interested in working for a company that's been jerking my chain for two months now. Who knows, maybe they'll surprise me, but I'm just not happy with them and I think that opportunity has been lost. Stupid government, stupid company.

Anyway, since it's almost the weekend. Here are my football picks:

New Orleans at Chicago

I've been struggling with this one all week but in the end, I'm taking the Saints. I know that the home field advantage is huge for Chicago. And I know that Chicago should have the dominant defense necessary to shut down the Saints. Except, the Bears haven't been the Bears of late and I just don't know how they're going to stop the Saints' playmakers. And that's really it in a nutshell. The Saints have playmakers (Brees, Bush, McAllister, and Joe Horn) while the Bears have solid, dependable, yet non-flashy players (Muhammed and Jones) and a QB that is accustomed to throwing the ball to the other team. The only way the Bears can win is if their defense scores points and I just don't see that happening this week.

Saints 30 - Bears 24

New England at Indianapolis

A lot of commentators are speaking to the legend of Tom Brady and Bill Bellichek after last weeks upset of the Chargers. And Brady's "brilliance" at the end should not be discounted. But I like what I read in a CNNSI article the other day. Brady's great play at the end masked his terrible play for 3 quarters. I don't think he can play that bad again and win. In fact, last week's win was a tribute to the utterly poor coaching of Marty Schottenheimer as well as a good dose of luck (throwing an INT and then having the Charger fumble, getting the ball back, and scoring).

Now, the pro-Patriots crowd retorts, the Colts haven't played that well either, which is certainly true. But you can't say they've won on luck and karma. Their defense, surprisingly, has played exceedingly well, while the offense has struggled to score points. In fact, I see a toughness in this Indy team that I haven't seen before. In the past, the Colts have been a finesse team. Everyone knew that if you popped them in the mouth enough times, they'd cave. Not this year. This team has taken its licks and fought back.

Ultimately, I don't see how the Patriots are going to control the Colts vertical passing game. The New England secondary isn't rock solid and they have a real weakness at both safety positions. That's bad news against Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, and Reggie Wayne.

Colts 24, Patriots 17

(And remember, I'm about as good at prognosticating football as neo-cons are at foreign policy.)


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