accepting my expertise.
i am a teacher, trained, with some experience in difficult circumstances. i survived my first year of teaching—in middle school–more or less. i made it through the public education system in america with a good grasp of what makes a good teacher and what makes an awful one. even though i hadn’t taught my language as a foreign language before coming to this country, i know the nuts and bolts of things and at least can make, execute, and reflect on a lesson plan. i’ve also been known to show up for class. on time. i didn’t get into this program for nothing; just because i’m new in town and my bahasa isn’t as fluent as i’d like it to be, i’m not some bum off the streets of bloomington with nothing but a native tongue in my head. i am qualified.
i’ve been doing observations this week at school. it’s been a whirlwind. i don’t know if i’m ready to go into all of the details yet, but… a short anecdote: after having a week’s notice to prepare for her observation, the 10th grade english teacher came up to me as her class started and said she didn’t have a lesson planned because she was lazy. i observed and told her i’d observe again the next day and that i expected a lesson plan. today—the next day—she was absent from school. d’oh.
my seniors and i are having lots of fun doing after-school listening practice for the national exam. we learned all about western weddings and had a laugh looking at pictures of giant wedding cakes, weddings in arizona and underwater, african imerican and indian american as well as mixed-ethnicity wedding couples, people throwing rice on newlyweds, and couples smashing their wedding cakes into one another’s faces. great!
i’m getting ready to start my penpal exchanges with mccracken’s kids and hope’s kids (the former in indiana and the latter in south korea). peace corps is giving me a little extra money to send stuff to mccracken thanks to the world wise schools program, and i’m very excited to get that package all put together and sent off. i think it’s going to be very, very interesting and educational for those hoosier kids to get some muslim penpals, what with this day and age and all and their proximity to kentucky (i’m only hatin’ a little bit—i had a student last year who refused to take a confederate flag sticker off her binder no matter how many times i explained to her its significance, both historic and current). i’m going to have some photo shoots and hopefully send along individual pictures with each letter. also great!
in-service training is happening in about a week, which means two weeks in surabaya with the gang and our lovely staff and trainers. i can’t wait to see our language instructors again and get some educatin’ with the new tefl trainer, zhana, freshly transferred from bulgaria to help us out.
taught my first sections of the teachers’ english course at school today. it was a blast. i thought they’d feel pressured into taking the course or maybe that they’d not really want to take it (the principal has requested that everyone attend), but they seem truly interested in learning english and studying with me. that’s great news. i think friday’s going to be my new favorite day of the week.
started the kids on their letters to laura’s students in indiana. they are pretty excited, almost as excited as i am.
overall, a good day…stood up to ibu mama’s harassing me about going to the internet cafe and told her i get no news from my friends or family if i don’t go there; she repented and i’m hoping she’ll ease up. now i’m about to head home and try to avoid being fed again!
ps: i’m trying to upload a bunch of sweet new pictures but for some reason the computer’s not responding. here’s one for now, of my kepala desa and a couple of his buddies at the double wedding our family had last week. i like the peeking guy: