Week 30

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The ethics committee has finally granted my ethics clearance! It was in Week 20 that I started working on the application forms. It took two-and-a-half months to shape my research protocol, information sheets and consent forms. A couple of weeks ago, I received a request for modifications from the committee, and resubmitted a response letter and the full application documents on Friday. Shortly after that, I received the clearance.

It was a great relief to reach this stage, and I can finally start my data collection during my trip starting next week!

All through Week 30, I have also worked on writing Chapter 3 of my thesis, and had a supervision meeting on Friday as an annual progress review. My supervisor said that I have done much more work than I needed to. This is a very good thing regarding work, and I was glad to hear it! But maybe it is now time to find a balance between work and social life, and start hanging out with friends at least once a fortnight, baking at the weekend and reading non-academic books.

Throughout the summer break, I have worked at home from 9 am to 11 pm (Luca said I am an authentic workaholic), having a short break every two hours, going shopping for groceries and doing some paperwork sometimes.

This weekend I cooked a macaroni bake for dinner and made Japanese mochi dessert, and also watched an anime movie, ‘Your Name’. The anime had a very high quality of colouring techniques, and all of the scenery was very beautiful. The story was moving. I can understand why the movie has been screened at cinemas in Japan for over a year.

Goals for Week 31:

  • Resubmit my working drafts
  • Safely fly to Tokyo and start my fieldwork
  • Work on translation for consent forms

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Students’ feedback

I have received students’ feedback on last semester’s course. Overall, they are sweet comments, and I very much appreciate their acknowledgements, like ‘the teacher, and the material we focused on, made the course a highly enjoyable experience’. From my point of view, I believe that only students make a course an enjoyable place to learn. Even though I use exactly the same materials and perform in the same teaching style, outcomes always vary. This is because classes are highly affected by human traits such as motivation and openness towards other classmates and the new knowledge.

One feedback comment was especially useful; the students want me to provide a summary of the next session in advance so that they can prepare for the forthcoming lesson. I must admit that I haven’t been doing this important step between each class, and this needs to be taken up for the next semester. Some students did tell me that they would like to do some preparation for the next class, but I just responded by asking them to have a look at the course outline, which contains the class schedule and the contents due to be covered. But I now recognise that the information was not detailed and supportive enough. I will make sure that students have a brief summary of the next class at the end of each session, which should facilitate their preparation.


Week 29

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Week 29 was my Master’s graduation week! I am not finishing yet, as I am still doing my PhD studies at the same university, but I wore the graduation gown, attended the ceremony and took many photos with my old classmates, which was a very nice reunion event.

I met Luca at the university on the very first induction day in 2015. We spent the whole of the MA programme together, working on all pieces of coursework and our dissertations over the summer. I cannot put into words how much I appreciate his support and encouragement regarding my studies and his affection for me since that day.

I had planned to complete Chapter 3 at the weekend (the actual deadline is not until September), but I wasn’t able to finish it, so I’m aiming to do that next weekend.

My goals for Week 30:

  • Complete my draft of Chapter 3
  • Resubmit the revised ethics applications
  • Submit my general leave form

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Week 27-28

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I received an email from the committee requesting some modifications to my ethics applications. I need approval urgently because, without it, I cannot conduct my preliminary fieldwork in August. I spent three days amending the documents on the basis of email suggestions from my second supervisor. I was so grateful for her prompt responses and support in these circumstances!

A draft of one chapter is due in 10 days. I am now back to where I am rushing to meet the deadline.

Last weekend, Luca and I went to a new Thai restaurant. Like Michelin inspectors, we scrutinised the hygiene standards, the service and the food, and whether the restaurant was better than our usual favourite. We decided that the latter is so much better. After dinner, we went to the cinema to watch Despicable Me 3. It’s so much fun, and they are so cute and funny!

My goals for Week 29:

  • Attend and enjoy the graduation ceremony for MA
  • Complete the draft of one chapter

Summer Week 10

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I have finished all my teaching jobs for the summer semester! For the last class, I brought some snacks and juice, which we enjoyed for the last 30 minutes of the lesson. I was so glad to know that they really enjoyed the refreshments and didn’t have to just study the entire time, right up to the very last minute. My students gave me a card, a beautiful box of assorted tea, and biscuits.

For the past six months, since I started my language courses in January, I have had wonderful experiences in the classes, great interactions with the students, and good opportunities for reflecting on my teaching styles and learning. I made teaching plans for all classes and regularly made notes of how everything had gone. In my blog, I can see how hard it was to make teaching plans on the weekends while writing my thesis chapters. This experience has given me the best memories from 2017.