Thursday, 25 March 2010

Guests of Honour

I have been judging an English competition, in a local primary school with a couple of the other teachers from EF Puri. It's been a nice experience so far except that it has meant that I've worked a couple of fourteen hour days. I'm getting paid a lot of overtime for it, as the school seems to value their marketing schemes, of which I'm sure this is... funnily enough I arrived to judge the event on the second morning and who did I see but 'Audrey' an EF Puri student. Her spoken English is excellent and she kept asking me random questions. I'm glad that I'm not teaching her anymore as she is extremely demanding and almost strives for exclusive attention from the teacher... which is hard in a class of fourteen young kids. I've included a photo but don't let the cuteness fool you! Judging was a really nice experience and the school were very appreciative, they looked after us quite well and provided us with some pretty good food - Indonesia has some tasty school dinners. The most amusing aspect of this experience was watching how engrossed the teachers and parents were with the progress of their kids during the competition... I just felt like saying "relax the poor dudes are only 5!" Some parents were arguing trying to get us to change the rules to allow their kids into the final. Chinese-Indonesian parents are very controlling and put too much pressure on their children at a young age - well from this experience this is how I feel - of course I'm only generalising really... I'd just like to thank Miss Dewi for having us and being so pleasant - she's never going to read this but it's a nice gesture - I'll probably never see her again though. I've also included a photo of Justin and Temmy my colleagues and fellow judges for the visit.

I've also had my first bad experience with "The kid who gets his willy out" - luckily he kept his private parts private - but he did poke another boy in the eye. We were playing "hot potato" which is a game where we practice vocabulary and students have to say a word from a certain lexical set and pass the ball quickly. Well this boy passed the ball, turned to the kid next to him, and poked him in the eye. I picked him up from his chair and took him outside, I didn't shout at him, I just gave him a very stern look and made him face the wall for 30 minutes or so. I then tried to take him to the Dos' office but he grabbed his bag and ran for his life - once he'd said sorry of course - he's a nice kid at heart, just a mentalist. He's always relatively badly behaved and I'm not sure how much I do to discourage his bad behaviour. I usually find the mild stuff quite entertaining... for example in the same lesson he looked at me, looked at another child and then looked back at me, cocked his leg, farted, and put his hand up... "Mr... Mr... Kevin Kentut" - kentut is Indonesian for fart - excuse my immaturity but I thought that was genius, no subtlety at all... brilliant! I'm sure he's going to make a fine husband to some Indonesian bird in a few years! Providing he develops this persona further! His father has also phoned the school to say that he is pleased that I'm teaching him and is really happy that overall his child is improving under my "tutelage" - I'm happy about this - but it's kind of ironic that I've been pulling classic classroom pranks on him - like moving his chair back when he stands up so that he falls on the floor! Hehehe I know it was a stupid and dangerous thing to do, but he loved it... Teaching here holds many perplexing phenomena... cultural clashes are common and fathers tend to respect a disciplinarian approach while mothers kick off big time if you so much as look at their kid the wrong way. It's also a big cultural thing here to 'save face', this is annoying as nobody is ever straight to your face, they just call the school and leave their positive/negative feedback.

On a more personal note, I've been having a slightly less harsh critique on my body weight. I weighed myself yesterday and have lost about a stone and a half in two months - which is pretty good going considering I eat mainly fried carbs, which is what the Indonesian diet mainly consists of - so I'm proud of that. Of course I still get the odd moment where the fact that I'm tubby is a great source of amusement... today one of the girls in my 12 year-old class told me that her friend was fat like me, to which I jokingly responded that I'm not fat, this created some confusion with the language barrier and had two of the other girls in hysterics for about 10 minutes...

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