Sunday, October 19, 2008

The tropical life...

I was just absolutely wiped out after my Saturday classes. I had about 27 hours of teaching last week (14 class sessions)… which is normal. But since I’m new it takes me a long time to prep each class... about an hour per class… and that’s just to get a feel for what the lesson is about and what order to do the activities in. I’m not even close to giving the kinds of lessons I’d like to be giving at this point. I learned a lot from the CELTA course… but with all the self evaluations, peer evaluations, and tutor feedback it teaches you to be extremely critical of every little thing. I keep trying to tell myself that I don’t need to be perfect… as long as the students are getting exposure to the language and getting to practice a bit each time, I’m doing okay. Still… it takes a lot out of me. I really want to be a good teacher; I want my students to actually learn something and for their skills to improve. But also, after years and years in unrewarding jobs, I want to feel like I’m actually doing something productive.

Oh, and the kid classes I was dreading…all I can say is that I survived. I’m taking both of them over from the Canadian guy who just left for a job in Bangkok. I remember him complaining that one of the course books was too advanced for his students… and now I know what he was talking about. In the first class I was struggling to get them to do even the most basic of the activities… seriously, I was saying “point to the mountain” and only about half of them could do it. So that was the first three hours (I misread my schedule and thought they were each 4 hours… so I was actually relieved it was only 3 hours). The second three hour course was the complete opposite. They ploughed through the activities in the book like nothing. We did a listening activity – and usually I have to go through the CD like 3 times before the students can get all the information from it, but with this group – the kids were laughing at a joke on the CD the first time through. That’s a pretty advanced level of comprehension! I know I’m going to need to challenge them though… I don’t want to let them skate by just using the forms and structures they know really well. For the first lesson though, we spent the last hour playing games. Word games, but still.

So, after all that my little brain really really needed my day off. I made it a top priority to get to bed early so I might get a decent night’s sleep. I did go to bed by 11pm… but unfortunately was woken at around 3am by a HUGE storm. I mean, cracks of thunder that sounded like (I can only assume) a giant bomb going off next door, and lightening flashes that just light up the entire sky. And the rain… the rain! After living in Portland, I feel like I’ve got some experience with rain. But we didn’t get many real storms. Here the sky just opens up and it’s like fire hoses pouring down. The upside is that the storms blow past pretty quickly, so most of the days I’ve been here have been at least mostly sunny. But it was quite a production and I couldn’t sleep through it, and then I couldn’t fall asleep for quite a while afterwards. So much for catching up on my sleep.

I got my legs waxed again today… no big adventure this time as I’d dutifully waited until I was good and furry first. Then, as per my routine I went to the beach. This time the songthaew stopped in the town of Ban Phe. I think I mentioned that I figured out that the beach I really like is not actually in Ban Phe… I think it’s called Laem Mae Phim. Anyway, the songthaew stopped well before the beach I wanted to go to, so I walked… and walked… and walked. I gave up as soon as I got to a spare bit of beach and spent a bit of time in the water. I wasn’t really enjoying myself though…there were a ton of people around. And I haven’t gotten swim shorts yet, so I was feeling decidedly naked in comparison to the Thai swimmers, even in my fairly conservative speedo. Anyway, I wandered around the shops for a while, but realized I hadn’t brought much cash, so I didn’t actually buy anything.

I did pick up a nice cool beverage though.

No, it’s not an adult beverage…it’s just coconut juice. There was a woman with a cart and a bunch of under ripe coconuts in a cooler and I watched someone else order one, so I did too. She basically takes the coconut out and whacks it a few times around the top with a cleaver until it cracks… then she just sticks a straw in it and there you go. Fresh cool coconut juice. And let me tell you, it was nummers. After I finished the juice I ate the fruit. Since it’s under ripe it’s not all hard and dry, it peels off the shell really easily. And when you eat it, it’s not like gnaw gnaw gnaw, it’s just kinda soft and chewy. It has a milder taste too.

And now I’m back home… I stopped by the school to pick up the teachers books for my classes tomorrow. I have to do some intake/placement evaluations in the morning (all other duties as assigned) so there goes the morning I was going to spend planning lessons.

*update - of course after writing up this whole post I realized I was far too tired to do any lesson planning last night so I just went to sleep. =? Todays classes should be interesting! Oh, and I think Thailand might be gearing up for another coup... some people don't like the new PM any more than the old one. I still have enough money for an emergency plane ticket home... but so far none of this political stuff has had even the slightest impact on my day-to-day life.

TAG - Code Pineapple.

1 comment:

Bezzie said... I'm craving coconut juice!