So…you’re probably wondering why I haven’t updated in a while (and why I’m holding a fig). It’s because good things are afoot. I was in training for a few days in Ankara with my colleagues and the English Teaching Assistant Fulbrights who are here. There are 9 of us English Language Fellows (ELFs) all over Turkey, and a bunch of ETA’s as well. It was a great training. Then I came home and had my first week of class–it was great! I love my students! I’m teaching two speaking classes, a first year writing class, and an English poetry class which I’m super thrilled about.
But the stuff I’m really excited about is extra-curricular. I found out that my students will have graduated from an English Literature department having on read Hamlet. ONLY HAMLET!! I mean, yeah, Hamlet’s one of the greatest plays of all time, but there are some other pretty awesome ones too. Like Romeo and Juliet–you may have heard of it–or The Merchant of Venice, just to name two. So, since time is limited and my students are super busy, I decided to offer a Shakespeare Film Club, so students could come watch his most famous plays on film, then discuss them and familiarize themselves with them. It’s only an introduction, yes, but that’s okay. At least they’ll be familiar with the stories and be able to connect other literature to these stories, should they go on to get Master’s Degrees or P.H.D.’s. And if nothing else, it’s a chance to keep working on improving their Old English speaking abilities.
But the project I am MOST excited about is this: I’m going to start a short-film production club! (Yes, I am so excited I made the font larger…it’s not a trick of the imagination). Anyway, I’m ordering video cameras using some programming money I get with my job. My students will learn how to write film scripts for five to fifteen minute films, we’ll shoot them in the early spring (or this winter if there’s time, but I doubt we’ll get the cameras by then). We’ll edit for a month in the spring as well, then have a film festival and awards ceremony just before summer! I can’t wait!
And the coolest part is that my students are going to team up with local under-priveledged high school students. These are students who have qualified for an after-school English language education to help give them opportunities they might not have otherwise. Not only will they have the chance to practice writing and speaking in English (all the films must be in English) they also will get to develop relationships with college students that will hopefully inspire them to do well in school and get excited for university. Plus, they’ll learn how to use our film editing program and get more familiar with technology. It’s such a cool program! I’m in the middle of putting it together right now–contacting the high school and getting student interest generated–so I’ll keep you posted as it develops.
I do have to mention, though, that this wasn’t my idea. My colleague and friend Dustin Schwindt came up with the idea and invited others to do it with him. Go Dustin!
By the way, if you’re at all interested in donating a film camera to our project, let me know. We’d super appreciate it! I can only afford a few, and there will be a lot of students that will have to coordinate to use the cameras. We’d really appreciate a donation, if you’re interested.
Hope you’re well! And remember, if you’re feeling sad, just eat a yummy fig like the one above (you have no idea how good the fruit is here) and it’ll brighten up your day.