Category: Jeff

On Secondary Education: Why It is Broken

On Secondary Education: Why It is Broken

I am sitting in one of the dark classrooms at one of the schools I teach at in Riga, Latvia pondering why one of my students said that they would like to see the school burn down. What are we doing to make high school students feel so demotivated and even angry at the system? …

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We Got a Cat

We Got a Cat

Kaķis 4.10.17 This is just a quick post to let everyone know that we fulfilled Anna’s dream and got a cat. Rita happened to know someone who knew someone who had a farm and there were some kittens who needed a home, so we decided to help him out. Jacques Balzam arrived in the early …

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Feeling Safe

Feeling Safe

Drošība un Miers 28.9.17 Safety and Peace… I wanted to write a quick follow-up to my post yesterday about the vacation being over. I want to make sure that no one misunderstands my collection of mishaps and woes as a general reflection of my mood. Yes, there are ups and downs, as there always are …

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The Vacation is Over

The Vacation is Over

Nav Brīvdienas 26.9.17 Yes, it is true. This is not a vacation. This is not a trip. This is real life! After three weeks of being a Latvian worker, doing the daily commute, and getting my ducks in a row, I am exhausted and content at the same time. From my blog posts, one might …

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My Commute and a Language Thing

My Commute and a Language Thing

My goal today was just to post a bunch of photos of my daily commute via bicycle to Gymnasium 2 and RTU. I just want to remain thankful and humble each time I leave in the morning to go to work. I am lucky enough to live right along the river, and it is easy …

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Professor Grīnvalds

Professor Grīnvalds

With only a Master’s degree in English from the lovely and wonderful University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I have landed myself a job as a lecturer at Riga Technical University (RTU). The Mighty Flying Letts of RTU are a traditional powerhouse of the Big Baltic Conference. They are dominant in such sports as Ice Fishing, Feline Trapping, and …

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Indian Summer

Indian Summer

Atvasara September 10, 2017 Atvasara is the Latvian word for a day like today. It was cold all this week. I even wore gloves, a coat, and hat while riding to school. Then, suddenly, it warmed up to a balmy (for Latvia) 23 degrees Celsius, which turns out to be just 73 American degrees. So …

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New Home: Jauna Māja

New Home: Jauna Māja

It has been awhile since the Spanish Incident; in fact, it seems like forever ago. Today is my first day off after a very busy week and weekend. I am recovering from some kind of sinus infection that has been the source of a three-day headache, but I have some time, and the story is calling …

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September 1: First Day of School

September 1: First Day of School

Okay, America, let’s get this right! Latvia makes the first day of school a national celebration. Every public school in the country starts on the same day every year—September 1. And on this day, students walk to school with flowers in hand to give to their teachers. I was excited to see this spectacle, so …

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Why I Can’t Have Nice Things

Why I Can’t Have Nice Things

If anyone could follow me and record my exploits for a day, you might not believe it. I think when they made up the phrase, “And that’s why we can’t have nice things,” they were thinking of me.   Today, my goal was to go to the ministry of foreign documentation to get started on …

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