Monday, 5 July 2010

Teaching as a 'kepiting rebus'...

Kepiting rebus is Indonesian for boiled crab. While I had a great time in Tanjung Lesung I have been suffering a bit since. My shoulders fell victim to my own stupidity and quite an intense case of sunburn. It's my own fault though and I should have used sunblock and aftersun. What I want to highlight here is Indonesians' fascination with sunburn. Fortunately for them they are lucky to have a naturally brown pigment and can endure quite intense sun... Being a bule and having the pigment of a full fat milk bottle, I'm not so fortunate! I have had lots of fun comments so far this week that have usually resulted in me being labeled a boiled crab or a cooked prawn!... I was also asked "Mr. Lee why is your skin that colour?..." I didn't really know what to say so I just told them I was ill.

The highlight of my week so far was when teaching a new class of teenagers 3 or so. I had assigned them all a person to research on the internet and ask them to write a report that they would later produce in class. One student, Iqbal, was assigned Rupert Brooke a famous WW1 poet from Rugby. Iqbal's 'report' wasn't so much a report as a comparison between himself and this 'great poet'... he went on to use a plethora of superlatives and reported in some depth on the character similarities between himself and Rupert Brooke. I was quite intrigued as to why he felt they were so similar and proceeded to ask him why he felt this way and he reiterated further on how artistic and expressive he believes his character to be, in a way that he feels Rupert Brooke must have been... He looked shell shocked when I asked him if he knew that Rupert Brooke was bisexual!... He wasn't impressed but unfortunately for himself, and had he done the research properly he would have known that and saved himself from much embarrassment!

I have been feeling lothargic this week and have been in some discomfort due to the sunburn and also demotivated due to the amount of hours that I have been having to work. The school is running extra classes at the moment due to the summer holidays. I need a rest. A real rest. I'm starting to take my frustration out on the students by my not teaching to what I feel are the fullest of my abilities. However with the relentless schedule and the fact that we are a few teachers down it's going to be at least another week before things start to ease up again. Luckily next weekend is a bank holiday so I won't be working on the Saturday. I have wanted to visit Gede-Panggrango national park for sometime, and am considering visiting then, but it will depend on available transport and facilities.

I have documented previously my disconcertion with the school and their curriculum so I can't really be arsed to criticise them any further. I just wish that my first big holiday would arrive sooner. I am going to the jungle for a week to a place called Ujung Kulon in September and it is supposed to be in one of the best places to see wildlife in the whole of Indonesia. Hopefully I will be able to canoe down the Cigenter river and maybe see some rhinos and crocodiles. There are plenty of monkeys in Ujung Kulon, so there should be plenty of entertainment!

I'm also at a crossroads with my plans for next year. I'm not sure whether to move to Taiwan next or stay in Indonesia - in a different city - for another year. There is also the option of moving to Europe for the summer and then coming back to Asia. I plan to see a relatively large amount of Indonesia during the upcoming year but there is still so much left that I want to visit that in order to do so I would have to stay here for another year..

This is kind of a merged post because I forgot to post this last week! I've been somewhat lazy when it comes to blogging of late. I just wanted to add another highlight of last week... I have a class of teenagers three times a week who are of a reasonable standard and like to talk. I like to make fun of one of the slower members of the class and I probably went a little far. I had five minutes spare at the end of the lesson so I showed them a clip of Beavis and Butthead on youtube... I did this because this particular students' hair is almost a carbon copy of their style. Sufficed to say he mustn't have been impressed because he came into school this afternoon (Monday), with a shaved head! I feel quite bad now... Indonesians don't really understand the concept of banter on a personal level. Quite a lot of nasty expressions in English don't even seem to have a translation, which is probably quite a nice thing I suppose.

I realised I hadn't posted so I thought I'd include that little nugget!...

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