Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Quite a complimentary day

Today was good. Today was awesome in fact... and only partially due to food this time. ;)

I'm enjoying our input sessions - when we teachers in training learn about teaching. It's great to be in a learning environment again - especially with other intelligent people. Particularly with other intelligent people with charming accents. =P

A good start. I was pretty hungry at our first break so I went across the street to the food vendors and grabbed some Papaya... then I walked down a ways and saw a little bakery cart. This woman was selling what looked like genuine, authentic, from a duncan-hines-mix brownies! I had to get one... but then I thought - it would be cruel to withhold something like this from my fellow ex-pats, so I bought little bag of 6 for about a $1.50 (I can't believe how much I used to spend on snacks in the US - insane!). It was an *instant* hit. The other American hadn't had chocolate of any kind in at least 6 months, and some of the other students had been similarly deprived of brownie goodness. It was heaven. Not only was it awesome to eat said yummy brownie, it was amazing to watch everyone's reactions. Absence makes the heart grow fonder indeed. But now that I know she's there, I'm going to have to be careful.

Then, this afternoon I taught my second lesson. I had scripted out exactly what I was going to say, and had practiced it a bit... then in lesson planning, the tutor looked at it and gave me a green light. The thing is, actually teaching a lesson is different from writing it all out on paper. I forgot a few things... then *AGAIN* I ran out of material a lot sooner than I had expected. It was supposed to be a 40 min. lesson but I was 90% after about 20 min. =? At least I had a watch this time, so I could tell that I still had time, and I added a few more examples on the fly. Then you know, I did a few things that I'd forgotten to do in the beginning - a little late... but I was really just trying to stretch the lesson.

At the end, I was supposed to just provide a written record of the lesson - get the sentences we'd been using on the white board for the students to copy down. I had them up - and still a good 10 minutes to go, so I decided I would try to get the student's help to diagram the sentences. That was a completely appropriate activity - I observed one of the professional teachers give a similar lesson the day before and that's what he had done. But I'd asked him specifically if I needed to do that and he said don't worry about it. So I hadn't actually *prepared* the sentences in advance and had to make my best guesses about parts of speech. I mean, they were pretty basic sentences... but I still made some mistakes. Which is *BAD* when you're supposed to be the teacher!!!

But then... the end. I'm going to tear up because this was the most basic thing - it took 30 seconds. But two of the students had a question about the difference between a Hobby & a Habit... and - I knew this... so I told them "I like to paint... that's my hobby." "I paint every morning... that's a habit" and they got it! For the rest of the lesson I had felt a bit like an actor on a stage, or at best an improv actor... but for those 30 seconds, I actually felt like a teacher. And then I cracked up because they started spelling "Habit" "Hobbit" so I spelled it out on the board for them. Oh... that part felt really good. Really good.

After the lessons we do self-evaluations and get feedback from the teacher... I mentioned that but also that I'd forgotten to do things and all the things I'd done awkwardly etc. But when I got my feed back I received an "Above Standard" for the lesson!!! Which doesn't mean it was a spectacular lesson, but only that it was better than expected for this stage of development. Still - Yay!

I figured an "Above Standard", plus the fact that I don't teach tomorrow, was deserving of a beer out with the guys. The Brit had also taught that day so he was game, as were the Canadian & the Short Aussie. I have to say - these are some of the best guys I've ever met (quilters excluded ;) ). We just had fun chatting... and I started telling the Brit the abbreviated version of my life story the past few years... from my first trip abroad to Europe in 2006 to trying to get out of my horrid job to finally coming here to Thailand. He was really awesome and actually echoed a few of the things about "The universe gives you what you need." That my therapist used to tell me. So I get to the end of my story and he gave me perhaps the best compliment I've ever gotten.

He said (and mind you - with a charming British accent) "Hearing your story... it's really great, it's like you're right here..." and he drew on the table a funnel from the narrow end opening up exponentially. "I feel really privileged to hear you talk about your life right now."


What can I say? Other than, I kinda feel like that too. Except, you know, still only at the beginning of the funnel... but that my life is opening up and I feel better about my life now than I have in a very very long time. We'll see if I still feel that way in a few weeks.... but for now life is good.


IamSusie said...

I knew you would be great! Your classroom descriptions remind me of all of my teacher prep courses. It is an important skill of a good teacher to see the parts of the lesson that didn't go as expected and be able to see why or the ways that you can change that next time.

Teaching never goes quite as planned! With experience, you'll get more tricks up your sleeve to fill up those extra minutes.

Magatha said...

What a wonderful day Reb!
And you are definitely living in the now, a very healthy place to be. I am so happy for you.

jovaliquilts said...

Congratulations! I'm sure that was the first of many rewarding moments. Now you know you can do it. :)

Michael5000 said...

I feel really privileged to read you blog about your life right now. Or at least amused.

Exuberant Color said...

Great job! I wish you many more successful teaching days.

gl. said...

your brit boy is right, of course, but british boys can say anything in that charming accent and it makes me agree with them. :)

d said...

dude. that. is. totally... spectacular.

this is going in my 'favorite posts of all time' column. well, it would if i had one of those.

i need to meet some british folk.