Tuesday, October 21, 2008

First step

Well, as promised I'll deliver the tales of my first day teaching.

It wasn't bad. I actually enjoyed it, and I think I did a pretty decent job for my first day. One of my fellow classmates and I have been assigned to work at "the Railway School" which actually has a really long Thai name. We work separately and our job is to teach basic conversational English to the teachers there. Nothing too fancy. We have them for 7 days and we need to teach them about giving directions, ordering at a restaurant, going to the market, and vocabulary they can use to speak to international parents with kids there, or those who are considering enrolling them. On Monday we observed our instructor as he ran a class on personal information and got a feel for how to operate and what our students would be like. When I got back to the Languagecorps building, I spent almost all of the rest of the day (except for finishing my last blog post) working on my lesson plan for Tuesday. I thought it would work pretty well and I gave myself a lot of space where I could alter it if it wasn't going well. I chose earlier to teach the kindergarten teachers rather than the primary school ones and I was told that I'd have a class
of 18. Much to my surprise, when I walked in there were only 7 (one walked in later). This kinda freaked me out because a lot of what I had planned wouldn't really work with so few if at all. My mind was racing as I introduced myself and set up a little game to practice a little of what they had done the day before with personal information. The smaller group was nice in a way though because it was not nearly as imposing to me and we were able to get more people involved more often. The problem was not only that I couldn't do some of my lesson plan, but that the things I could do took far less time. An exercise that I had counted on taking around 8 minutes was over in about 3. I knew I was in trouble when class was half over (it's 2 hrs total) and I only had one thing left to do. I was able to stretch that one last activity out for a while though. We were working on words like across from, next to, on the right/left, etc and had been using a map of places I had put up earlier. Then I had them list off other places to which people would want directions. We had already gone through airport, market, bank, school and a couple others but I knew they knew more. I was just surprised at how many more. I had had a few up my sleeve in case they were reluctant to speak, but once they got the idea of what I was doing they started rolling off a whole bunch I didn't even think of, which was very cool. Then I had them draw their own maps and give me and each other directions on how to get around their town. I threw in a variation of what we had done earlier to round out the last hour and I was done with my first day. I had assigned them a little homework but they told me they wouldnt be coming in because they were all going to a rally tomorrow. For what I'm unsure, but it would be kinda neat if I had tomorrow off because the school is closed for Thursday and Friday (!). I'm still gonna write up a lesson plan for tomorrow but it would be nice if I could hold on to it till Monday.

After each day at school (8:30 - 10:30) I come back for Thai language classes which are pretty neat. After today I could technically count to a million in Thai. Today there's been an enormous thunderstorm which has kept us all pretty much inside the Languagecorps building since the rain looks painful to be in and the streets are totally flooded. It isn't terrible though because the first floor has access to the bar nextdoor where they have a dartboard, also I get to work on my lesson plan a little..i guess.

A bunch of us are going out to dinner and I really hope the streets have drained a bit since I last checked because I'd really like to take a shower beforehand. The days are hot enough without wearing a shirt and tie through them, and the railway school only has a couple little fans.

I'll let you guys know how my second day goes, if it goes at all.

much love,

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