Monday, August 4, 2003

I passed!

Hello everyone!

Well, some happy news! I passed my lesson today! Yay! Of course, I thought that it was total shit, but the assessor liked it and I guess that's what counts. :-) The problem stems, of course, from the fact that this was my group's first day with the "low" learners. We started off with the "high" group, so we got kind of don't know how easy it is to take for granted being able to have a real conversation with someone! The learners today were a frustrating group, on several levels, but mostly because we simply weren't used to giving instructions to people who don't really understand what you say half the time. Most of the time, actually. It was very hard.

The guy who went before me, Mark, had an OK start, and kind of got them to work the way he wanted, but not really. So, when I got up there, I wasn't too nervous, but once I opened my mouth and started talking to them, all I got was a sea of blank faces. And I was making a sincere effort to "grade" my language down to their level, but still....blank faces. I was supposed to start off doing a brainstorm of jobs they had while they were in school, but no one could come up with anything. One lady just said that she was a teacher (which is what she's doing now), and when I said, "No, that's what you're doing NOW." She said, "No, NOW I am a student!" It was most frustrating!! And, naturally, it set me off on the wrong foot for the entire lesson. I was sweating buckets, due in part to nerves, and in part to the fact that it's in the 90s here today, high humidity, and zero air conditioning-not even a fan.

So, I went through the lesson, and it managed to last the required 40 minutes (that's always something you have to worry about--will it be too long or too short??). The really shitty part was that, totally by accident, the students came in and managed to sit themselves at the three groups of tables so that there was one table of totally low learners, one of medium level learners, and one of high level learners. It was total shit because one table required A LOT of extra attention and instructions, and one finished everything early and got bored. One of the girls at the high table was a total bitch. She was maybe 20, and when I walked around to listen to what they were doing, I actually heard her say IN ENGLISH, that this class was boring and the subject matter stupid. And, when I went over to her group to give them an extra task because they had finished early, I told them to read through the material again to get a better answer for some of the questions, and she flat out said, "No." I just said, "Um, OK." However, if she were my "real" student, she would have been in major trouble with me today for being so flat out rude. One of my big questions in feeback tonight with the assessor was, "How do you plan a lesson when you have such a huge discrepency in language levels??" Because one group will invariably be bored, while the rest do ok or really struggle. It's going to be so much harder than we thought. *sigh*

Anyway, all I care about at the moment is that I passed my lesson and didn't freak out in the middle of class like the other teacher today, Campbell, did. He actually started laughing several times during his lesson from the sheer absurdity of trying to teach these students. It was a laugh on the verge of insanity. I totally felt for him, because I thought I was going to lose it during my lesson, too. Thankfully, though, I made it through, sweat and all!

Tonight I have to work on my assignment that's due Wednesday. I had no time for it this weekend since I was so preoccupied with planning for today's lesson. So, that sucks, but oh well. I think I'm going to go to the store and get a big thing of ice cream or something as a treat for passing my lesson. :-)

Thanks for all the positive thoughts being thrown my way today--I'm sure they influenced my teacher's decision to pass me! :-) I'll write more tomorrow when I've got free time during the afternoon. Talk to you all later!!

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