Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gabriel García Márquez

Gabriel García Márquez, one of the most famous Latin American writers from this century, has passed away. He was never my favorite writer (I always prefered Mario Vargas Llosa). Garcia Marquez won the Literature Nobel Prize in 1982. I wanted to share with you something that I find incredibly touching every time I watch it: an amazing clip that I always show my students when we are studying Colombia. It shows the TV news program announcing his win. Even if you don't understand Spanish, watch the reaction of the people on the street, celebrating with joy. The video comes from Accesso, the amazing Spanish program that rhe University of Kansas has developed for their Intermediate Spanish program. Click on the link, scroll down, and there you will find the video I am talking about.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Using Facebook to get help with your homework

This semester, I am teaching two sections of Intermediate Spanish I. Last week, they had to write a composition (in class, Google translate killed compositions as assigments at the lower levels Spanish courses). The prompt was something like "Describe how do you use technology and the Internet on your everyday life and in college" (it was a little more detailed, but you get the idea). So far, I've had 8 students (out of 20 compositions graded) that wrote that they love Facebook because it helps them connect with friends, meet new people, and GET HELP WITH THEIR HOMEWORK. Can somebody explain me what does that mean, exactly? And even worse, should they be telling that to a professor?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Urgent question

As you can see from my previous post, I have been insanely busy. One of the unintended consequences is that I left filling my tax return to the last minute. Ergo, I am mailing them tomorrow, deadline day! It is the first time since I moved to the US that this happened (I am usually send them in February). The question is: how long will I have to wait in line in the post office tomorrow? I have this mythical idea that I will have to be in line all day, but I am sure that the introduction of tax filing software and e-filing changed the situation. However, I would like to have a ballpark estimate, so I don't miss an important meeting I have tomorrow.


So today I woke up, look at the huge pile of essays, assigments and tests that I need to grade, and wanted to go back to sleep. Instead, I just cancelled my classes in order to have 8 straight hours devoted to it. So far, it is going better than expected. It's amazing what you can accomplish without wordly distractions

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Letter of recommendation

Among the many service activities I am a part of this semester, one is being on a search committee. In reviewing candidates' applications, I just read one where one of the letters of recommendation was written by a Nobel Prize. Just that...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Typical foods from Argentina

Dear students:

The following are NOT considered "typical" foods from Argentina:

- tacos
- vodka
- fish (except in Patagonia, where trout may be considered "typical")
- guinea pigs (????)

Spanish Prof


Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Today, the students in my language class had their midterm exam. We've practiced a lot, but some students weren't feeling very confident, I think. Right before the class started, and I give the exams, a student raised his hand and asked me: "Profesora, would you lead a prayer for us?". I was suddenly puzzled, not knowing how to react. I put my best smile on and answered: "I' sorry, I am Jewish, so I won't be able to lead the class in prayer. But if you feel the need to prayer, please go ahead". And I soon as I said that, three more students starting praying. First time something like this happened to me after almost 7 years of working here.

And even worse, now I am REALLY scared of starting grading the midterms