I had my first year presentation on 17th June 2010. It went fine. The one-day event was a nerve wrecking situation for all of us first year students. Of course I was apprehensive and tense about the presentation, as it represents a special moment in our process here, but feeling very much prepared to do it. I worked hard on every detail and was fortunate to have precious help from a number of friends and from Ros and Patricia. Other than that I tried to relax from listening to good jazz, walking in the Common listening to the birds singing for me, and praying.
The audience seemed interested in my research and not bothered by my long talk and everything was satisfactory in the end. I had three questions and responded to them accordingly, I think. The questions were, as far as I could process and can recall them: 1. from Patrick Stevenson: well, he said a few things in the beginning, which I did not fully follow, and asked about the validity of the work / the course, in such a tough setting; in other words, why or even if it is really worth teaching the course, taking into account the problems the teachers encounter there. For a moment I was not certain the question was more if I knew what I was doing and would then be able to justify the course or if he really thinks the course is not a good idea. My answer was basically that because the situation is a difficult one we should not avoid addressing the problem and trying to help it. I have the teachers’ interest in the course, and this is an important starting point. All of the other reasons I had addressed in the presentation. Yes, it is worth every effort. 2. Rob Baird: he asked if I had taught a course in the same format before. My answer: yes for the intensive mode and also for the focus on writing. I taught before in post graduate programmes for the state university called ‘academic writing’, as well as other courses in the same format and to the English teachers from various kinds of schools and from different cities in the state. The difference now will be that I planned the project and the course; with clear and special objectives in mind to use and freedom for creativity and to meet to the teachers’ needs and level of English. It is crucial now that some of the activities we do in class, not only from the workshops, the teachers be able to implement in their own teaching. I hope they become more curious and investigative about their practice and open up for new possibilities. 3. Najma Husein: she asked if the students are asked whether they want to study English or not. No, they are not asked this question and they are not given the option of studying it or not, despite the fact that the subject does not have the same level of importance as the other subjects do. English is the official foreign language in the curriculum. I need more information before I put a word here about Spanish, but I suppose it is being offered to some grades, not all of them, though.
When the presentation was finished I spoke with Ros. She said that I seemed calm, in control and that everything was very clear. I felt so good. This was the reward of hard work. I now feel much better about my research and more reassured of my research plans. The first year presentation is an opportunity for us students to answer questions we didn’t even know they existed before. It is also a moment to put the work together, orderly, academically. I love it. Now we can move on to another phase in the process.
Later on I had a celebration at the Crown Inn with Diana Popescu. The celebration is also part of the first year presentation. I felt great and relaxed and really needed this after so much hard work and tension.