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!




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