Ok, I know I should probably say something about the elections right? I did get up at 3:30am to watch CNN and see how things turned out. Not so much because I am so political as that I was coughing and felt bad about waking Cyr up. I actually love election coverage the day of. Watching the states come in, seeing the excitement from both parties.
Is it strange that all of a sudden I feel like I can be "proud" to be an American again? I am so tired of feeling like I have to apologize for Bush every time someone finds out I am from Texas. This is not a political blog and I do not want it to be, but the people have chosen and it's time to once again be proud of our country and our leader. Unfortunately I went last night with a group of people (me being the only American) to see the Oliver Stone film "W". How I wish I could get those two hours of my life back. From now on every time I hear "The Yellow Rose of Texas" I am going to think of W. trying to bong Jack Daniels or stuff a burger in his face. I am not making a statement other than to say; "Not all Texans are like W. He isn't even FROM Texas and he didn't go to Texas colleges."
Well that was longer than anticipated....
So my first day at work...was completely not what I expected. I was told that they all had a firm grasp on English and that I was to teach high level Business English to them. The first two students walk in, I say "Hello, welcome! I know we are part way through the semester, is this your first English class of the year?"
Response: ::Eyes dart from side to side. A slight smile and cock of the head reminds me of when I used to make funny noises to my dog to see him looked confused. It's the same look. It's because they don't understand a friggin word I have said. Ahh...nothing like exaggeration while selling a job eh?
So as my 35 young 18 year old students file in for my 2.5 hour class I begin to see that most are not very good with English. About 5 of them can hold a conversation. I try to start off by telling about myself and the course objective. I move on to a simple lesson and ask why there is so much talking.
Response: ::"I have to translate for my friend" respond a few people.
So needless to say it was a fairly long class. At one point I asked the kids to use paper to put their names on so I could see who they were. One kid told me "That is a waste of paper." I told him he should go hang out in the office and see how much paper this school wastes making copies if this bothered him. Maybe next week I will suggest he start a coalition to use less paper.
Funny thing is that it really wasn't that bad. We had some good conversations, I got a few groups to get up and argue (or try) points of business and one person even told me he learned a few new words. 10 years ago I would have been upset because my plan crashed, but I recovered. It was like a sales meeting where you find out the person you are selling to doesn't need the product you thought they did but instead needs something about 90 degrees different. I can identify with and see how frustrated they are and am planning to break them up into groups next week. 35 kids is a big crew to teach English to, especially with such a broad array of levels in the room. Should be a nice challenge I guess.
Today I am picking up a class from the Canadian teacher who has a conflict with the class time. I teach the same material but only for 2 hours so it should be better than yesterday. At least I know what to expect today! I have asked to sit in on a colleague's class, but I doubt he will let me. This would be someone who was not willing to share lesson plans after all...