Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's a full moon...

I guess that's why I had such wild classes today!  I started off my day with an interesting Angel Food Cake muffin we bought on the street last night.  I had originally thought the scrumptious muffins must be corn, but was surprised to find them to be sweet and delightful paired with a strawberry yogurt before a long day of classes.  Gavin had his usual of Corn Flakes and bananas with soy milk.  We woke up early and headed off to class around 7:15 so I could get to my 7:45 class on time.  This morning I started off with my 6-7 year olds.  I teach from a book called Beeno which follows the story of a bee (Beeno) who appears to be the milkman's androgynous child who lives with a seemingly normal family.  The kids are super excited to be in class and our time is filled with games, drawing, singing, and speaking.  The students are always enthralled with my lessons, however I leave less than stimulated after repeating the same 5 words over and over again for 2 hours.  

After Beeno (today's lesson was numbers) I went on to a 9-10 year old class of complete lunatics.  I had possibly the worst lesson I have ever had in my life today and had to threaten to call students parents.  Apparently Farm Animals wasn't as exciting to my students as I had hoped.  What can you do?

After class, Gavin and I hopped on our scooter and headed out for lunch.  We have a red Yamaha Nuovo scooter which nearly buckles under the weight of our combined 350 pounds (a feat not even achieved by a Vietnamese family of four deftly clinging to their motorbike).  Gavin wears a matching red helmet that says "Arctic Cat" on the side and a red bandanna covering his face.  I have a pink helmet with a matching pink face mask with a music note and an animal on it (still haven't figured out what the creature is).  The mask hardly blocks out the toxins from the caustic sea of exhaust, but I guess it's better than nothing.  We battled against traffic from work, along a sewage strewn river, down the alleyways of our neighborhood, finally past our apartment and to a Hanoi style restaurant just down the road.  There we feasted.  I had noodles and grilled flank steak in sweet broth with an array of vegetation (leaves, lettuce and some sort of stringy green plant) while Gavin indulged in a fried egg with greasy meat (maybe pork?) and a fresh French roll.  What a delightful meal to share on a hot day together.  

Upon arriving home at last, we kicked back and took naps.  The heat is exhausting.  It is very humid and consistently hot, weather that I am not accustomed to.  It has been a hard adjustment for me, but I am coping.  This afternoon we lesson planned together.  Gavin faces his first Beeno class tomorrow, while I have two 10-13 year old classes.  We have been surprised so far of how disorderly the classrooms can be.  Students chit-chat a lot and it can be hard to keep them focused.  We have to remind ourselves often of how we were at that age, and keep lessons interesting and creative.  The students we teach are very bright.  They have been learning English from about three, and are surprisingly good.  Their pronunciation is often weak, but they ask thoughtful questions and can answer vocabulary questions at 10 years old that advanced adult Turkish students struggled with.  I overall love teaching here even though it can be difficult to gain class control and keep the classes attention.  Let's just say I have learned a lot of games in the past two weeks!

Our school provides us with a dinner if you work in the evening, but since only Gavin was working, I made us a snack before he left.  We have been trying a lot of the different things available here, so I made us a platter containing sweet buns with a few different cheeses and fruit.  Unlike Istanbul, buying different cheeses  doesn't cost much and we have been endulging (Gouda, Emmental, etc).  We also had one of the sweetest mangoes I've ever had and a hot pink fruit the size and shape of a large mango called a Dragonfruit, which tasted like a Kiwi.  And some sour cherries dipped in a spicy salt mixture. 

After Gavin left for work I enjoyed a Zorok beer (Polish origin now brewed in Vietnam?) and finished my lesson plans for tomorrow.  I also did the laundry.  We are privileged enough to have a washer.  While hanging out laundry to dry, I noticed our neighbors doing theirs by hand.  It looks like an arduous task.

Tomorrow I look forward to a class observation from our head teacher and two "exciting" three-hour lessons with some "wonderful" children.  I just hope they are a little more well behaved then the ones I had this morning!

I hope everyone is doing well!


JoAnn said...

G&N: We enjoy your blogs and pictures. G'ma Maggie is enjoying them too -- she's here with us for a visit. Thank you!
P.S.-- Glad to hear you're wearing helmets.

Carol said...

It sounds to me like the food makes up for the heat and unruly children! I hope someone can take a picture of you on your scooter with full gear....this I have to see.

Ned said...

So far we haven't heard anything about the Vietnamese bathroom situation except for the tale of Shit Creek and guys peeing in it. Anything interesting in that department?