It’s been a grading bonanza this weekend and on into this week. As I turn the pages, make my comments, labor over assigning grades (I hate them) and figure out how to turn my responses into a meaningful learning moment for some of my struggling students (blow to my ego), I am constantly up and down, refilling my Turkish tea glass with the strong dark brew hewn of Assam and Rize tea leaves.
I learned this mixture from watching M.’s Teyze (maternal aunt) mix proportions of Rize tea (from the Black sea region) with Assam tea (from, presumably, India). She swears by the mix, as does M. Once, I tried to supplement rose-petal infused Assam for just plain old Assam, to no good result and the protests of the aging matriarch who was visiting at the time. “It tastes like soap,” she was reported to say. Oh well, so much for creativity.
In any case, this weekend, I am getting the tea myself, instead of relying on the little chorus of dancing ladies, who are usually lovely about delivery, as I have exhausted them – “m’lady,” one of them said the other day, “you are drinking SO much tea, is it healthy?” I finally told them how much I appreciated their efforts, but that I could make tea for myself. After much consternation and debate, the little lady puppets decided to let this be as my skills, they tell me, have improved significantly. Quipping to them with the best of my statistical humor, I asked them if it was statistically significant. They drew blank looks. I reminded them that I am grading exams about “independent samples t-tests” and “paired samples t-tests.” They again drew blank looks and I let the topic drop, but not before Hacivad Bey asked me if I was referring to the Istatistik-i Umumi Idaresi – the Ottoman Empire-era statistics agency who conducted the census between 1891 and 1914. I just said – “yes, something like that.” I teach enough statistics in my university, I’d like to give it a break at home, not going to be teaching these puppets statistics anytime soon unless I get another breath of workaholism. While my tea consumption during this grading phase might be an indicator of workaholism, I would like to think of it more as an endurance-oriented coping mechanism.
But in any case, back to tea. Gone are the days when I struggled to execute the perfect brewing of Turkish tea (you can read about one such hilarious learning moment here, where I was caught unawares by an early visitor whilst still in my nightgown, and ended up using once-boiled tea only (Horrors! The yabancı gelin (foreign bride) couldn’t make properly brewed tea). All I have to say is, for someone like me who hates grading as much as I do, the ability to just run down the stairs to refill my glass is a wonderful option to keep me going.
Any guesses about how many tea glasses worth of tea had to be drunk to get through this stack of tests?
Thirty-two. More than two per test for this class so far, inşallah it will end soon!
- Old Tea in Anatolia (eatingasia.typepad.com)
- Searching for the world’s best cup of tea (moroccotomorrow.org)
- Time for çay (emsontheroad.com)