Monday, September 1, 2008

Smooth as Silk

I'm not sure if I've really gone into the specifics of the CELTA course, but here's a quick review in case you're all kinds of confused by some of my stories. Every morning we start with input sessions from 10am - 1pm. That's when the CELTA instructors teach us (the 8 trainees) about teaching. We learn about grammar, phonology, teaching methodology, lesson planning etc. etc. - stuff teachers need to know if they actually want their students to learn something. Then after lunch we break up into our two groups. Four of us with the male instructor (or as we've started calling him "Daddy-Dearest") and four with the female instructor (who I've just now decided to call Bird, simply because she's a British woman). So my group was with Daddy Dearest teaching elementary students for the first two weeks. The other group was with Bird teaching intermediate level students. But as of today we, the trainees, switch. So I'm with new students and a new instructor.

Today we just observed the instructors teaching our new classes. This was really important because it gives us some time to evaluate how much our students know, who's chatty - who's shy, etc. And this will help us fine-tune our first lesson plans. The first week, we didn't do that we jumped right into teaching and as I was first up I had *no clue* what they would know and what they didn't. Terrifying. Anyway it also meant that today was not very stressful at all. We had an assignment due this morning & from talking to some of the guys I think I may have to resubmit it... but oh well - wait & see. Week three is supposed to be the toughest week on the course but I actually only give one & a half lessons so it should be manageable.

Anyway my day was uneventful (had a good breakfast, lunch & beer with the guys though - so a good day overall). But in my old class, one of the students got outed! The student in question was pretty flamboyant - so it's not like it was a big secret but still. I'm sure it was hilarious when his classmate, as an example of Present Continuous Tense came up with "He always liking boys!" LOL. I loved those students... I'm kinda sad I only got two weeks with them. I can only imagine how I'll feel about my students when I have a real class.

Speaking of having a real class. I know the plan was that I'd stay in Thailand for a while, but I'm starting to rethink that plan. There are just some issues that are bothering me a bit more than I thought they would. I didn't think I would be so excluded from the social scene here. It's hard to say if it's actually something specific to Thailand, or to teaching abroad in general. And I'm not sure how much of that is reality, or if it's just because I'm not making enough of an effort. I'm going to do some thinking about it... and try to figure out if there's another country that would fit better with my lifestyle. In any case, I'll probably have to work here for at least a few months before moving... otherwise I'm going to run out of money. I've got some cogitating to do.

Ok - most boring post ever I'm sure.

Oh - I can share one funny thing. I was talking to the guys about an upcoming lesson plan and describing that I would use an authentic menu (Laurelwood Brewpub!) and tell the students "Joe loves seafood, Mary doesn't eat meat... what should they each order?" at which point the guys started giving me a hard time "WTF's up with Mary - sounds like a real bitch... what's Joe even doing out with her." and I was like "Hey - she puts out." to which one of the guy responds "You shoulda put that in the context. I wasn't even fucking hungry." LOL


Yankee in England said...

I can't coment on the social scene where you are but I know that when I moved to the UK from the US it took a good six months to start networking and I spoke the language. Give it some time and if you really decide to move on you might want to think about an area that already has a large number of fluent English speakers.

Batty said...

My closest college friend spent a year teaching English in Prague, and most of the friends she made were either other Americans, Russians (she left Russia when she was 12, so she's technically Russian too), and the occasional Brit. When my sister went to Thailand, she mostly hung out with other Germans and some Brits. I know most of my friends are "unusual" for Americans, and I tend to hit it off with Latinas and Russians. It probably ha to do with culture and temperament -- I'm more chatty than the average American, and my idea of personal space is different.

None of this means you can't find Thai friends in Thailand, but it does mean that it may take a little time to get over the cultural differences. It's not easy, particularly when you're introverted. I've been in the US since the 1990s, and I still find it easier to connect with other immigrants.

Bezzie said...

You'll find your scene I'm sure. Has it been a month yet? Time flies!

Exuberant Color said...

I'm sure you will never regret trying this even if it doesn't work out. Maybe you need to check out the fabric store that had the quilt and see if you can connect with someone that sews. Or maybe knit in public and see if you attract some friends who also knit. Needlework is a common language.

Michael5000 said...

It has sounded to me since Day One... well, maybe since Day Four or so... like you've been AMAZINGLY social considering how long you've been in country. I'm actually a little confused; you talk about going out and socializing with people fairly frequently. You have to expect a general feeling of loneliness from normal homesickness, yeah?

Rebel said...

I think it has to do with expectations vs. reality. I thought there would be a bit more bonding, and a bit more socializing on the weekend. Instead I sometimes feel like the guys are tolerating me, but would have a lot more fun if I weren't around, and that's not a great feeling.

I'm dealing with it okay though... now that I know what to expect I'm just going to do more stuff on my own. And after the course, once I get settled in a job, I'll start looking into the expat community.

Alex Case said...

You can get lucky with the people you meet in any country (and starting at a school at the same time as a big influx of new teachers helps anywhere), but I found socializing in Europe, especially Spain, easier than Asia