Monday, 22 March 2010

Random week!

This week has started on a lesser note than last week. I'm starting to realise that the reality of teaching here sometimes is not exactly, always, to a high standard. The company has little in the way of effective staff training – in my humble opinion – and I'm finding it a little difficult to restrain my opinions. I don't like it when people preach incorrect philosophies – pedagogical or not... when I think someone is talking shit, I tend to feel the need to tell them. That kind of happened in a staff meeting this week, although I was somewhat more diplomatic than telling them that they were talking shit, but not much. I care not to divulge any further as this is merely a rant and an effective way of collaborating my thoughts.

On a lighter note, I was offered a donut today by Nana one of the other teachers... I jumped at the chance when offered – but it's almost an everyday occurrence in Indonesia that things aren't quite as they appear... This was a "sugar-coated cheese and bacon donut!" - It was pretty grim, although I still finished it... half to be polite and half because I was intrigued throughout as the taste got stranger and stranger.

I've had some random experiences here so far and today held one that made me laugh. My advanced class of teenagers are okay, but they are lazy, and are almost certainly late... except for one fourteen year old who always starts random conversations about classical music and I don't really know what she's talking about, while we wait for the rest of the class to arrive. This lesson was intriguing as it highlighted the lack of scope of the Indonesian private education system. All of our kids are from wealthy backgrounds and pay expensive fees for their education. Once most of the class had arrived – being late is a cultural norm here – I gave them a thirty question general knowledge quiz... the highest score was eleven. After climbing on my high horse and holding a conversation about their dismay at the lack of depth of their education – their sentiments not mine – I just kind of agreed with them – I realised that I'd planned the rest of the lesson using the wrong book. Sufficed to say I've been steering clear of the book and using my own materials because I'm not confident with the material the school provides at higher levels. Although as per usual when I'm advised wrongly or the office staff make a boo boo and provide the wrong materials – I'm the one who looks like a numpty in the classroom...

Also my business classes, who've been generally giving me positive feedback, are starting to feel as if my classes are not conversational enough. They are following a coursebook and are being examined on the contents of what they are being taught... but all of a sudden they have decided that they don't like the coursebook and merely want business conversation?! This is all news to me and hasn't come during feedback in class – which annoys me slightly – this has caused a little friction with me... I'm never negative in the classroom, actually quite the opposite, but I won't be teaching that class in three weeks, so they can get what they're given for now. I also think that it's a minority within the class – maybe one or two people - and I'm not accommodating the lazy. Surely if you undertake an intensive Business English course, you should be prepared for a challenge?! I'm not changing my entire syllabus for the next three weeks because some business professionals feel that the course they pay good money for is a little too challenging. I actually do like the class, but I hate pandering to people who don't have any idea about education and having to take advice as if it were invaluable. I may also be displaying a little arrogance here but I fail to see the benefits of a four-hour conversation class at a pre-intermediate level! So in my infinite wickedness I'm going to plan a lot of grammar work for their next class... hehehehe. Students always think they want to learn grammar for hours on end... but the reality is always different! I'm also going to plan a case study and discussion and get a few group based activities to lighten the mood towards the end of the class.

Pay day isn't too far away however and I'm looking forward to a few prospective trips that could be on the horizon... Bogor, Bandung, may be some volcanos... I also want to sort some time off so that I can visit the sea and see some orangutans in Sumatra or Borneo. Indonesia is an archipelago of wonder, it's just a shame that I'm spending my time almost exclusively in Jakarta... it's sound as a city – it has everything I could ever need – I just want to see some weirdly random stuff... although Jakarta is weirdly random... it seems like it's just an endless sprawl of kampungs and rich neighbourhoods...

I feel kind of negative with some of the things that I've included in this post... but I don't feel paticularly negative. I've just had a random couple of days and need to clear my head of a few thoughts before I go to bed. On the upside, Tuna is coming back to Jakarta this weekend. He's been kissing lots of girls and making illegitimate babies in Sumatra... haven't you Tuna?! He knows it's true! Peace...

P.S. I managed to upset a seven year old... we were playing chinese whispers and I told them to say "Jason kisses girls"... he ran out of the room and wouldn't come back in... another successful lesson!

1 comment:

  1. I agree that a business course should not only cover conversation.. maybe some of the lazy students do not want to learn grammar, so they feel burdened about it (coz their grammer is gooder :p). So far, my friends in ur business class (Agnes & Maureen) always gave good feedbacks about u.. I believe that you are a briliant teacher, man..