See also http://jpnreligions.wordpress.com/tayln/ for my blogs while I was in Japan this summer! (The better of my two blogs)
Presentations and Life’s Big Mysteries
This semester has been so busy and that’s no exception in this class. I’ve been a part of two out of the three projects that we are working on this semester and have been keeping myself busy with those. So busy that I have forgotten to blog all semester long and am only just remembering to do so now. Oops.
The first project this semester that I was a part of was the Presentations group. We were tasked with preparing to teach students at local area high schools about topics in Japanese religion. Naturally, as a Communication Studies major, I decided to join up with the group and take charge of this project (at least at the beginning). The first presentation that we did was done pretty well with only minor hiccups. As leader of the group at that time I had to deal with people not doing work and not showing up to meetings or being extremely late. But, all in all we pulled it together and gave a talk on Japanese creation mythology and different perspectives on that. I talked about incest in creation myth, which I already knew a great deal about do to my paper I wrote earlier in the semester. I also was responsible for putting together the Prezi (prezi.com) for the presentations and I think it went as best as it could.
The presentations have been a fun way of learning and cementing in our minds the ideas that we learned in class. Maggie the Magnificent was the best presenter in our group and took to teaching bratty high school children, like a fish taking to water. Her vibrant personality also helped us stay on course when things got rough in that one meeting. Thanks to her!
The second set of presentations that we gave was based on the theme of life cycles and the phrase: “Born Shinto, Marry Christian, and Die Buddhist.” In this presentation I did the introduction and the added bonus section on cyclical festivals/rituals done throughout the Japanese year.
The kids weren’t complete brats 100% of the time, but I still have reason to think my favorite high school teachers even more now. It’s one of life great mysteries as to why or how they haven’t succumbed to just killing themselves after a year or two of teaching. It only reaffirms for me the decision that I have made to never wanting to teach in high schools ever, but I am beginning to wonder if my desire to teach at the collegiate level is any better of choice?
Hindsight is 20/20
I dedicated a significant portion of my time to the website. After the presentations were done and out of the way, the last few weeks were spent to making sure that the website was remaining at the same level of quality that it was before everyone in the new group got their hands on it. As the creator and one of the original contributors the website, it has been a tough ride this semester seeing all the changes that are being made to the website. At first I wasn’t able to give my opinions or have a direct way of being able to help at with the website and that made everything even worse. I am glad though that I had several weeks to help out with the website though, and make it the best it could be.
The first things that I did for the website was to add a few new stylistic changes to pages in adding content boxes and a slide show to the home page. Also, I added divider bars above citations and links at the bottom of the page and I think that was a nice touch. Picture uniformity was my next task and I think with the pictures on one page always being the same dimensions the pages look way more professional. Finally, I added pages for Mr. Happiness, Vowz Bar, and a page for describing the Presentations. I ended up doing a lot more than I had originally intended on doing, but it was all work that was necessary to the stability of the website.
I think that the website really could have benefited from a better strategy in tackling the beast of project it became. First I feel that if we would have all sat down and came up with strict-deadlines things could’ve gotten done in waves. Starting with the information sections of the website and most importantly the glossary, that section of the website could have been done two to three weeks after we started working on the site and that would have given us a great foundation to build on. With the glossary done the linking of words to subsequent sections would have been made easy. Plus, the focused attention of all 8 or so students would have really been a good thing in breaking up the list of glossary terms. Making it more manageable. Hindsight is 20/20 though and there isn’t anything we can do about fixing that now…