Just for your information…

31 10 2009

I have the coolest students EVER.

I’m a horrible travel writer…

29 10 2009

I know, I suck at keeping you all posted. My bad. But seriously, I haven’t had time to sit down and write. That’s all in my journal from my downtime… while in a taxi or on the bus. I have some neat pictures of travels, and those will be up soon, but this time, I’m talking straight up classroom talk.

The first few weeks of teaching have been really fun so far. I’m still working on collecting the questions for the US students, but so far, the questions are REALLY interesting. Many want to know about opinions of Obama, others want to know about dating and how. Some want to know why people in the US think that Islam is synonymous with terrorism. One of the more touchy subjects (no pun intended) is “freesex.” It’s a one-word term used to describe sex before marriage. They’re incredibly curious about that. Some questions are more relaxed, with questions about music, movies and pop culture. One student asked why Paris Hilton is famous. I laughed out loud in the library at that one.

I’m loving life in Miss Ennik and Mr. Hakim’s classes. They have two very different teaching styles, even different topics for the same grade and subject. The students here are split up into two groups per grade, and they focus mostly on their group’s subject. At SMA Khadijah, the students choose either natural or social sciences in grade 10 and 11. Apparently there are other schools that have language as an option, but here they don’t. It seems like they have a major by the time they graduate high school. There are other schools, labeled SMK, that are technical schools. These schools prepare students to go directly into the workforce after graduation rather than going to university.

The first three weeks were mostly holidays and observation, but I still got to chirp in on a few things. I went over phonetic pronunciation with Mr. Hakim’s 10th graders. It was hilarious when I discovered that they had most trouble with vowel pronunciation. We then read lines without consonants. Some students got really confused, but eventually they got it. It turns out that some of them really enjoyed it, getting a kick out of the incoherent sounds their classmates were making.

Some students are really open and try their best, but I still feel like many students are really shy about speaking English. They way they follow directions, I know they understand, but responding verbally is a bit of a hangup. Honesty time: there’s a class on Wednesday that I dread going to. They absolutely refuse to do anything. Will not even acknowledge me when I’m talking to them. I told them that they were professionals at wasting my time. I know they understood that. There is a 12th grade class during that hour that I love to work with, and I would be glad to up and leave that class of brick walls.

English club started out as a total dud, but then something sparked… The first week there were 3 students. Second week there were 14, and last week there were 23 at the time when everybody was there. I was SO STOKED. First week was just for introductions, showing off pictures, and answering questions. Second week, I taught the kids how to play ERS, a really fun card game. Mike and Cassie visited that week and the kids get such a kick out of the trio of bule-bule in their territory. This last week, we started the “prep” for Halloween. I taught them how to carve a pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern, and then we made masks using paint and paper. That was a blast! Even a few teachers showed up to make masks. They told me that my owl looked like a cat. It then became known as “The Great Caowl.” Jerks! Haha. All in good fun. My TGC will have some fun tomorrow pulling pranks instead of giving treats.

English Club masks!

Coolest English Club you've ever seen

Wish me luck on the Halloween party for English club tomorrow. I gotta start baking some stuff, so tomorrow is bound to be an awesome day, or “hari mantap” in bahasa Indonesia!

PS, if you want to hear a really funny bad-English-translation story, please message me. I’m not sure any of the teachers read this, but it’s so inappropriate that I’m not posting it publicly! Oh the confusions of disease and shellfish… and more!

On my to-do list…

13 10 2009

I’m currently collecting questions from every student at SMA Khadijah to ask students at Taft High, and hoping the students at Taft will come up with their own.

Here’s my vision for this whole thing… at least for the first round:
Collect the written questions from Indonesian students and post the most common/interesting questions on a blog that I still need to create. Students in Oregon will then be able to submit their own answers (I will be moderating all posts) as comments on the blog, that way, each individual is able to give a personal answer, and not just the stereotype of his or her country.  Then, Taft students will be able to send in their own questions for the Khadijah students to answer. I hope that students will post links, video, pictures, all that. I want them to share.

I know that the really hard part is going to be getting Taft students to submit questions and answers, since I haven’t really corresponded with students directly, only staff. And the more I talk with teachers here at Khadijah, the more questions they have about American schools, so I’m really hoping that faculty at Taft will be willing to respond to questions as well… and vise-versa, of course.

Aaaand many of you have been asking me about pictures on facebook… well, I’m pretty sure facebook hates me. I haven’t been able to upload a single photo successfully since I got here. Believe me, I’m trying! Photos sooner or later 🙂

Happy fall, Oregon. I miss you. It’s hot here.

So pretty…

6 10 2009

My challenge to you

5 10 2009

Donate to one of the best causes out there. MercyCorps is doing amazing work with the disaster relief here in Indonesia, and they have many, many times.  Right now they’re in Padang, working like crazy after the earthquake last week that left over 500 dead and just as many are still missing. I hope that you all might donate what you would have paid for that cup of coffee, or that margarita on the rocks at Cantina.

Or, for you book types, if you order from Powell’s from (this link right here,)  7.5% goes to MercyCorps.

Do something good!

Sitting here in Surabaya… with the power out.

5 10 2009

But strangely we still have internet. I didn’t have a connection for 3 days, but now that the power’s out, it works. Go figure.

Ennik and I are trying to decide on dinner, but we both just snacked on some rocking plums and carrots. Great stuff, I tell you. Street food it is! I’m so glad that I’m finally immune to the… um… wonders of street food carts. Awesome spring rolls and noodles for a whopping 50 cents US. So worth the week of tortured intestines in Bandung. I’m starting to think of foods that are $2.00 as expensive. I think I’m going native!

The past week has been a pretty crazy one. Yesterday Carrie and Courtney showed up for Cassie’s birthday shin dig, and we played in the pool like little kids. Water-basketball is amazing. I also made a cake, but without an oven. We made a black forest chocolate cake using only boiling water to cook. That was a pretty sweet cake if I might say so! It was definitely a gift giving day, since I gave Ennik the book I got for her. After what went on today, it was definitely for the best that I gave her present to her last night.

Oh, and I like riding the motorbikes here MUCH better than any other form of transportation. Much quicker, too. Cooler, as well. I got kind of attached to the hokey helmet we borrowed from the security office. Pink and rusty, with one side of the chin strap busted so you had to tie it instead of clipping it together. The visor was also an added bonus, with no stable hinges, so being aerodynamically challenged and vertical against the back of my head was the best, most predictable option. Worked those neck muscles! haha.

Yay! Power’s back on. That means I get AC again 🙂

Today, I got my first taste of solo teaching! We had a bit of an emergency, so Ennik had to step out for a bit, and I was leading the 11th grade class in a few activities. Asking questions about the area, about the students, asking them to share about their lives here. Travel and school and social lives and music and sports and then I realized that I was running out of the really general questions to ask in English. Not all of the students in that class spoke very well, but I found the ones that did and avoided them like the plague. We’re here to “bring up the lower levels” according to AMINEF, but I plan on teaching to the middle. I just have to find the bottom first. We played hangman and did tongue twisters. They even challenged me to try an Indonesian tongue twister, and I did, and it was a heck of a lot harder than “Peter Piper.”

Last class of the day was the 10th graders, who I had all to myself. Ennik was out, and I was feeling good after the 11th graders. We had a blast. We started out with an actual lesson, since I was in their class last Thursday, so I knew what was going to happen. We talked about instructions, verbs for cooking, and some general vocab in regards to the kitchen. They got bored with that pretty quick, so I asked one of them to volunteer and read their instructions for a chosen recipe. NOT ONE raised their hand. So I taught them how it was going to work if there were no volunteers. Nose Goes. Last one paying attention gets to read their assignment. I think it’s pretty fair. It worked out pretty well, too. They all monitored each other and made sure that the last one read out loud. Point 1 for Dani. 
We even got a bit of a serenade from a guy in the back of the class with a guitar. Some song that’s vaguely familiar by Westlife. I didn’t know that band still existed. The whole middle row of girls knew every word. It was pretty fun.

I must say that after today, I’m looking forward to class even more. I get to work with Hakim tomorrow and 3 classes of his 10th graders. Hopefully they don’t all ask me for Facebook like they did today. Otherwise I have 4o0 new friends. Eek.

Alrighty, suppertime. And the power turned off again. Splendid!
–“Miss Dani”

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