Friday, July 2, 2010
A Sunny Window
After two weeks of practicum teaching (with observation evaluations), an intestinal ailment, an oral exam, classes, homework, a journal and notebook to be turned in, my site interview, and rain, rain, rain, I find myself feeling fit and relaxed at a sunny window--the only to-do's being to meet a friend this morning to finally climb Dracula's tower, wash clothes and bake brownies for tomorrow's 4th of July picnic. ***The teaching was great! The second week with ninth graders reminded me of why I chose high school teaching--working with those bright minds, grappling with some literature and with social issues in debate was inspiring. I wasn't sure after being out of the classroom for 7 years how I'd feel about returning, but this gave me my answer--I'm ready for the challenge. My observations went well and the kids seemed appreciative--even got hugs from 15-yr. old BOYS! We asked them on Monday what kinds of things they wanted to know about and we would try to fit the topics in during the week. One of the things the boys wanted to know about was video game production/computer programing. They are big World of Warcraft fans. So I was able to enlist Dan's help and made a Skype appointment with him for 10am here, midnight in California. There he was, God bless him, talking to my students via my netbook and Skype about his work, what he had to do to end up working for Blizzard (World of Warcraft), life in Southern California, answering their questions--and often mine since they were a bit shy. Other topics we covered during the week were contemporary poetry (of course!), the environment (they completed a neat project), controversial social issues, and a plethora of vocabulary building activities. My partner--a fine dancer--even taught them to do the Cupid Shuffle on the final day of class. They, in turn, showed us the hora and other traditional dances. **** The oral exam, by the way, proved to be even more difficult than I imagined because upon entering each station, we had to draw a "role" to act out. I totally bombed in the "post office" when I had to explain that there was a mistake with a package I had received 2 weeks ago but I wasn't sure which counter to go to. (?!) Anyway, I received 4 B's and 2 C's for the six stations--a very generous assessment. I wouldn't have given myself those marks! :-) I think I'll have some mastery of enough of the language to get by at my future site, but I'll definitely take the continuing tutoring offered by the PC after training. Many of us who "used to be" A students are feeling like dunces, but we're continually being told that that's normal--especially for the over-50 crowd.***Tomorrow we celebrate the 4th of July with our gazda families at a picnic, which is totally organized and sponsored by the trainees. We're cooking out, playing games with the kids, singing, etc. Hope the weather cooperates. I'm sending wishes to you all for a Happy 4th! in the states. Living abroad certainly makes one aware of what a splendid nation we have--warts and all. *** I'll put the word out Wednesday as to site placement announcements. It's THE BIG DAY for us! Wish me luck.