Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Teaching and randomness

This week has started pretty interestingly. In the first lesson of the week, which was preceded by a very sedate weekend, a naughty 7 year old decided to scream "Fuck You" at the top of his lungs. I have had to reprimand him in the past for similar behaviour but he seemed particularly distraught this time around. I made him cry but felt kind of guilty so I didn't mention it to any of the office staff who would've called his parents!... I don't really want to feel responsible for him catching a beating. The day generally went pretty well and overall was a nice start to the week. One of my classes bewilders me as there is only ever two that turn up and one of them doesn't speak... so that really is the only class that flusters or bores me at the moment. The rest of my classes are pretty responsive and quite fun to teach.

The class next door to my high-level teenage class are a class that I have previously taught. They are quite nice but very lazy. I'm starting to get scared as one of the girls is trying to set me up with her sister. I wouldn't mind but I've never even seen a photo of her let alone met her... It also doesn't help that she can't speak English in the slightest... when apprehending me about my apparent lack of interest in dating her sister she used the comical expression "Why you not want get high on my sister?"... I'm not exactly sure what she meant but I think she was asking why I'm not trying to date her yet. Indonesians are obsessed with marriage... They also seem shocked when I say that I'm too young! I think they think that I'm a bit strange which is probably true but not for that reason. That, however, is not the most amusing situation that the girls in a class that I don't even teach have presented me with! When returning from a break in the middle of a two-hour class they decided to ask me the following question... "Why you not want go on diet?" followed by "You very fat... overweight..."... The thing that annoys me most is that I've lost about two stone since I arrived! Don't get me wrong – I'm still a fatty – but I'm not quite ready to sport a nappy and get my tits out to try and get work wrestling either!

Although I'm generally enjoying all of my classes at the moment I'm still making the odd stumble here and there. There tends to be a trend where I have a very successful day, even succeeding with the most difficult of classes... and then 'boom!'... I'm hit with a shitter (bad lesson for those not up on my colloquialisms!). I still need to work on my instructions. If I've had a late night I tend to try and fall back on the students' ability and capability to do the work semi-autonomously. I don't do it often and sometimes it works out okay – from the perspective of a lazy fat bastard ;) - but sometimes it goes wrong. I had a couple of days like that last week and have felt really guilty about it... so this week, so far at least, I've spent a lot of time planning the content of my lesson and trying to give the best teaching according to my ability. Unfortunately, today as a prime example, I came up short when providing instruction. This is quite an infuriating phenomenon, as some days work out that I put little effort in when planning and yet succeed and on other days, quite the opposite...

Now, I know a few teachers read this and can understand how difficult being a teacher is. The job I'm doing – probably because of the nature and duration of the contracts – has a reputation as being a bit of an easy-life backpacker style job. Which I'm not denying can be had – but if you want to teach properly it can be very strenuous and demanding. I actually really enjoy it and will probably do this for a very long time. There are so many places that I want to see and things that I want to do. I had a place on a PGCE course during this academic year to study at the University of Leicester as a history teacher... I'm so glad that I've put it off and am doing this. Two of my friends booked the upcoming bank holiday weekend at the end of May to go to Jogja and the Gili Islands respectively. Which has inspired me to do something with myself in order to get out of Jakarta and do something fun for my birthday. I have arranged to visit Gunung Halimun National Park and stay with some of the locals in a kampung (traditional village)... I hope this is a cool experience as I will be hiking through some rainforest to see another waterfall and swim. This is one of two national parks that are relatively close to Jakarta. I don't think they are particularly remote by Indonesian standards... but it's still about 60km from civilisation and is home to all manner of wildlife.With that I'll sign off and probably won't post until after I've visited Gunung Halimun. Peace...

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