Thursday, 1 April 2010

Some good, Some bad, Some random...

I've started the week relatively well and have had a nice relaxing weekend. I'm looking forward to the prospect of possibly not working on a Saturday... although I stress the 'possibly'. I've been working until 2pm on saturdays for the last 7 weeks and from what I'm told it works in 8 week rotations. Of course I work for EF Puri and the Director of Studies is really a 'yes man' for the Centre Manager, so if she or one of the other office clowns decides that I will be working another rotation straight, then that is probably what will happen... so I'm not holding my breathe on that one.

Yesterday I went to Central Park, which I thought was going to be a big indoor park, but it's just another mall really with a little patio area they call a park. I was a little let down by that. I did however find solace in having my first cup of Kopi Luwak - for those that don't know it's a coffee made from beans that have been selected and eaten by some kind of cat thing and then shat out, apparently it only selects the best beans - it was pretty expensive but I quite liked it, although I think I'll stick with my usual hazelnut latte as my wallet would probably punish me if I continued to drink those! I also ate some awesome Sundanese food there, I had some squid and some barbecued prawns and they were awesome, although I'm rather partial to Indonesian offal as well and ate some skewered chicken hearts and intestines... For those who're queasy, chicken intestines are actually delicious!

My day went well today and all of lessons ran smoothly and felt relatively successful. I am however alarmed that one of my students is covered in bruises and after reporting it the only response I have received is that the school refuses to take up personal issues with the children. If I see him with bruises again I think I may enquire as to why his dad feels it a good idea to beat his seven year-old son. Unless I have the wrong end of the stick - ironic use of idiom I know! Poor kid. Also another of 'my students' - whom I've met twice - was 35 minutes late and turned up without a pen. His attendance is about 20% during this intake and he has been at least 30 minutes late both times, as well as coming to the lesson unprepared. I'm not happy with him - as I barely even know him - and today was his progress test to see how he is dealing with the current level of material half way through the course. He scored 20%! If this continues and the school insist on progressing him to their next level I'm going to refuse to sign the certificate, and promise to write "Congratulations on your competent level of illiteracy in English", you can quote me on that... if he passes the course I'm going to post a scan of the certificate on here to prove what a joke the progression system seems to be! As yet, I have to take it up with my 'DOS', and so hopefully he's going to be bust down to a level that he is competent in.

Another unusual experience I've had this week has also been with the kid that is covered in bruises. I made him cry... but only because he punched another student square in the jaw. The class of 7-8 year olds are really quite pleasant now, aside from the odd incident like this where kids punch each other or poke each others eyes, even though they are the naughtiest young class I have quite a good rapport with them now. It's difficult sometimes because there are a couple of classes that I just can't seem to get on with. I have a class of 12 year-olds and I'm just bored of them now. They are lazy and the work they have is way too easy for them. This means that I have to provide 'supplementary material' which sounds easy enough but in fact is pretty difficult if you are teaching four lessons! They are quite talented but do the work in about 15 minutes and then don't want to do anything else. I've taken to piling on the workload and trying to improve their grammar etc... I also have a similar problem with my advanced teenagers. The book the school gives them isn't even in print anymore! The school photocopies it and binds it... which I'm pretty sure is in breach of copyright laws?! I don't even use that book, it's out of date and provides no interesting contexts; it's also way above the level that the students are really at, but because the school progresses the students at a ridiculous pace, they soon run out of materials for their own curriculum. I basically just cover the grammar point in the book or find a reading or listening skills lesson. The reason my rapport with the class has dwindled is because they are lazy, late, unenthusiastic and the lessons take a lot of effort to prepare. Effort that isn't appreciated. Which if I'm honest is becoming a little disheartening.

Teaching here, in my experience so far, has it's ups and downs. As our school is a franchise - we socialise with teachers from a lot of other schools, and two in particular. There are a lot of good people out here teaching and everybody has their own gripes and triumphs as a teacher. From what I hear though, EF is just a good company to get a years experience, and then move on to better things. I like the kids, and I'm getting good experiences with business and teaching young learners - which is cool. I'd like to be able to add TOEFL and IELTS, an American and international English exam to my CV and then I'll be happy... ;) I'll still moan like a bitch on here though!

1 comment: