Thursday, 15 April 2010

'EF: The Faster Way to Learn English'... Hmmm

This week has been a bit random... I'll present Thursday as a case in point. The sheer incompetence of the is starting to catch up with me. I didn't get much sleep as my housemate and I decided to have a bit of a random Wednesday night and drink Anggur Merah until 5am... that obviously didn't bode well for my housewives club, which started at 10.30am. I was a little hungover but tired more than anything. I managed to coast through my first lesson and the activities that I had planned seemed to work fairly well during execution.

However, the longer the day progressed the more annoyed and crabby I got. The books are shit at times and the material that we are supposed to teach doesn't always last the duration... usually it lasts half at best and sometimes 5-10 minutes! Therefore we have to source a lot of supplementary material, which is okay sometimes but is also very time consuming. On Thursday I wasn't in the mood! The book my 12 year olds use is way too easy for them, so I have to supplement there lessons quite a lot. Which would have been fine had the photocopier decided not to break on me... 5 times! Let it be noted that our photocopier is an ancient piece of shit and needs replacing! When I confronted the 'management' about the issue I was assured that it's not the photocopier... it's the paper they buy - it's the cheapest they can find... It's kind of ironic that the excuse they gave me was little more than an admittance to being a bunch of tightarses!

Next up was my first teenagers class... for a start they're supposed to be 'upper-intermediate', and through no fault of their own – they are simply victims to the churn of the EF English factory – they are at the wrong level. There are a number of problems I have with this class, one being the aforementioned book/level situation; the second being the length of the lesson, two hours is too long especially for a bunch of hormonal teenage boys; finally my third problem is the lateness issue – teenagers are always late in Indonesia! I was being observed by my 'DOS' for the first hour or so, but he was late as well so I started the lesson without him. After he had arrived late and another four students weighed in during the next twenty minutes or so each interrupting my instructions or stopping me from providing assistance, my lesson hit a note that was satisfactory! It's not that I don't enjoy the teaching - it's just hard to hit a note with constant interruptions. It may sound like I exaggerate at times - I don't - but I may possibly sensationalise my disbelief at times...

I'm not really bothered about the feedback that I'm going to receive on my teaching. I could pretend to feign some enthusiasm for it... but my mum always told me not to tell lies ;) I really am starting to feel that as long as I don't take my job seriously then I'll enjoy it. It's not that I don't take teaching seriously, I do because I want the kids to receive something for their parents money, it's that the teachers have no say in anything that happens on the educational front. The penny-pinchers downstairs would sell a Business course to a 6 year old if they thought that his/her parents would stump up the spondoolies! A prime example of this – and there is no eloquent way of saying this other than defining it as BULLSHIT – is a chap in my other class of teenagers. I really like the class on the whole because there are a core of girls in the class who turn up on time and do their work without complaining and enjoy learning English. Unfortunately the aforementioned student always turns up late or not at all, if he does turn up it's without a book or pen, and he doesn't make any effort to speak any English. I could forgive his lack of English skill if he were at a lower level, but he isn't! This level of commitment and what can only be described as a lack of ability are all the school requires to progress you into their advanced program?!

I'm whinging a lot in this post because I need to vent my feelings and this is a good avenue to do it. It's a shame for people at home to be reading the random negative shit that is going through my head... but without a doubt – I need to do it! I finished Thursday with no intention of teaching the final class properly, by this time I was teaching my fourth lesson that day and my second two-hour lesson consecutively, with only a ten minute break between them! I played games and let them go ten minutes early. I'm probably going to get into trouble, but the book they have is useless and archaic and their enthusiasm as a class is non-existant. My desire to teach this class has been reduced to zero and my state of job satisfaction that day was reduced to zero... I'm not saying that I don't enjoy teaching, it's just hard to feel motivated with a lack of support on any front by the school. The one saving grace is that the other teachers are wonderful and really helpful. I've actually had a lot of help this week and somebody in the staffroom always seems to surprise me with some kind of good idea or resource that rejuvenates some kind of sense to work through the company's bullshit. It also helps that everybody is aware of the situation and is in almost complete agreement - except anybody in management who seem to be paid to be oblivious or act like a bellend - it's just a shame that they have worked through it enough that they just accept the bullshit as part and parcel. I don't think I'll ever be able to do that. I certainly don't want to accept bullshit!

I'm going to the beach this weekend, hopping on a bus to a small town called Carita. I need to escape Puri Indah for a night and chill out. The one bonus of living in a country like Indonesia is the sheer vastness of the country, there is so much to explore here. In a sense I'm living for the weekend here, it's just that now I'm not working weekends (temporarily I'm sure), it means that my weekend doesn't have to be centred around booze! I can do things! So to summarise my mood for the week... I'm happy at the end of a shit week because I can hop on a bus and go to a nice beach for the weekend! There is also a forest reserve there that is a small patch of jungle that spreads through some hills and has a nice waterfall and presumably some wildlife... I'm going to try and fit that in, that would be a nice way to end the week... I've never been to the jungle. If not though, I'll just settle for the beach and some booze. Time will tell. My next blog post should be about Carita and markedly more upbeat!... Peace

On a quick cheerful sidenote: my 5 year-olds - appropriately called 'small stars' - have decided that 'Mr Lee have 3 girlfriend and they all love me because I'm fat and hairy...'

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