Just a quick note about my orientation today... then I have to go to bed and try to get a good night's sleep because I teach tomorrow!! I thought I'd be a bit brain rusted from having over two months downtime between work & class, but it's actually kind of nice to have something specific to do. And it was cool, as the tutors were presenting us with material as part of our orientation I was observing their teaching technique and noticing things that I'd never noticed before as a student. There's going to be a lot of meta-analysis going on in my little brain for the next month. Then when the tutor started explaining what we'd be teaching the next day things that I'd read about in "Learning Teaching" and "How to Teach English" started clicking. My sleepy little neurons were starting to spark to life again. I tend to forget how much I actually like being in class & learning new things. But while discussing lesson plans for tomorrow I asked "Can I ask a student to come write that on the board?" and the tutor (let's call him Mr. P.) replied "well, would you want to do that?" and I had to catch myself before saying "Sure!" and settled for an explanatory "I really liked school." =P
Ok, quick anecdote from Rebel's childhood, circa 5th grade or something. There was an assembly about drugs - "Just say no." and all that, and I can't even remember the analogy but the presenter said something like "deciding to take drugs is like taking a test...do any of you like to take tests?" And I fairly leaped out of my chair raising my hand. I realized too late I was the *only* kid standing up and also that I had entirely missed the point of her analogy. Even through college I would much prefer an exam to an essay... even if it was an essay test. With an essay I never knew if I was done or if I should do one more edit (anyone who reads this blog has probably picked up on the fact that I don't generally edit my posts - you're lucky if I remember to run the spell checker!), but with exams... I study what I can and there's a finite amount of time to regurgitate the material and if it's in my head it's there, if not it's not, but when the time's up the time's up and that's all there is to it.
However, being a good student doesn't necessarily lead to being a good teacher, and I've got some work to do there. A fair bit will be mental, understanding that I'm not supposed to know everything yet, taking feedback positively, and not getting myself too worked up the whole thing. I just need to pass... I don't need to be perfect... I just need to pass.
As for my classmates - it's an interesting bunch. I hit it off immediately with a couple from Australia we'll call Sheila & Joey. Sheila's the only other woman in the class. It's us and six boys, should be interesting! We started chatting about our experiences thus far and compared notes about songthaew prices and the food. When Joey said the one Thai phrase he knows I said "I think we had the same CD." and it turns out we did, I got up to lesson 5, he got up to 4. Sheila only made it through the first CD before she wanted to break her MP3 player. Seems I'm not the only one who was bothered by the "You are an American (or I guess on her version Australian) man speaking to a Thai woman." To which we both replied "But I'm NOT!"
Nationality breakdown - mostly Aussies - Sheila, Joey, and two others. One Brit., one Canadian, and one other American. I made it a point during one of our ice breaker games to mention my contempt for W. ... the other American did the same. For the most part the class seems pretty cool. Oh - and I was all dressed up because they'd stressed the whole dress code, but everyone else was in jeans & shorts & flip flops etc. Apparently they'd gotten the message that we only need to dress up when we're teaching... during the morning input session we can wear whatever we want, and then change at the school so we're not all sweaty & gross in our nice clothes. Oh well, it never hurts to look cute I guess. One guy showed up late to orientation, and also returned late from break, he didn't have a pen or paper or notebook or anything. At the end of the session we were all leaving talking about how much work we needed to do and the guy was like "I need a break." Sheila was like - "We get to sleep for 8 hours tonight, that'll be a good break!" We'll see how long he lasts.
I've read the handbook, organized my notebook, and practiced my lesson so I think I'm in pretty good shape. We'll see how the actual teaching goes tomorrow.