Monday, October 12, 2009

teaching and all

Why bother constructing the world's tallest building where the clouds always come down so low? I wonder what the view is like from the top half of 101? They probably don't know whether it is day or night in those offices. The secret to their productivity.

Tomorrow I demo two classes in front of the CTs (Chinese Teachers). Today I observed for the last time and it was the first time I got to observe one of the CTs running the class. This was Fantasy's class. I learned something very important about the English language; if you shout, it doesn't really matter what you say. Some excerpts from today's lesson "W-W-W wa wa wa Wolf! Do you know what a Wolf is?" (A boy howls) "Yes, a kind of cat."
and then
"Jackie, take out your Panics book" (replace with Phonics book).

But really, these CTs know English pretty well. I'm starting to despair of ever learning Chinese with any degree of proficiency but I will take it from these guys and try, and maybe if I try really hard I can get half as good at Chinese as they are at English.

I have 9 different classes assigned to me for now. Come early November that number will be 10 and in January, 11 or 12. By then I'll be working a little more than 40 paid hours a week plus unpaid prep and grading time. This is a pretty sweet deal. The only difficulty is that there are so many different groups of students I'll have to get to know and so much material I'll have to become familiar with. Well, that and some of the sentences I'll have to teach will either be through gritted teeth or neglected entirely. Watching Francois the South African, teach his class yesterday I learned these sentence patterns that were repeated over and over "'Who's that cool beautiful girl?' She's my sister.' 'Wow, she's so thin!' 'Yeah!'" and "'Who's that big strong man?' 'He's my dad.' 'Wow, He's so tired!' 'Yeah.'" and " Who's that excited crazy woman?' 'She's my mom.' 'Wow, she's so happy!' 'Yeah!'"
I think I took too many Gender Studies courses.

My situation compared to Ashley's: Her students throw shoes at her. They cheer when she threatens to increase homework (they have no intention of doing it anyway) and they only sit down and be quiet when the owner of the school walks into the room. This woman, Ingrid, Ashley's boss won't show Ashley any books or her give her any ideas for structuring the class but when Ashley makes a lesson plan and tries to implement it, Ingrid steps in and tells her that is not how it is done. Today I laughed aloud when Ashley told me Ingrid's request to teach the children phonics. She said she wants the children to sound out the word starting with the middle vowel. Flower. ow ow er . low-er. F-lower. Flower! Ashley said "What do we do when we get to a word like Aerobics!?"

I'm going to work on my lesson plans for tomorrow. I have a lot of reading to do. My natural inclination towards procrastination is tempered by thoughts of the bed bugs that are waiting to get me back in my bunk. If I keep my fan on (I finally got one that works) and stay away from the wall, and move around a lot, and get out of bed three or four times in the night, then they don't bother me too much.


  1. Your life as an english teacher is surprisingly similar to mine. Phonics instruction beginning with middle vowel sounds is damn near impossible, but if they can do that, hard consonants will be a cake walk! (But how totally frustrating!) In short: Ingrid's an idiot.

    Miss you, gals!

  2. hahaha. yeah. she is.
    when i get my place you come visit no?