Apologies for the lack of updates, it’s been a very busy week. I’m not really sure where to start because so much has happened!
I started a week’s worth of work inductions about 6 days ago, so I was in school most days doing training workshops, HR inductions, paper work, meeting managers. This was all good, all the staff are very friendly and willing to help. My academic induction (the one where you get your teaching schedule and textbooks) was so intense, there was way too much information to take in and I felt a bit bewildered after, but it’s all started to fall into place.
I’ve got one permanent class of teenagers, 2 junior classes (so around 8 and 9 years old) and some cover lessons. I end up doing about 20 hours teaching a week, plus all the planning time, so it’s about 30 hours all together. I work all day Sat and Sun (have to get into school at 06:30am!) and then Tuesday and Thursday afternoon-evenings.
My first weekend was nerve racking and exhausting. Each class is two hours and it is so difficult to come up with stuff to occupy kids with for that long, seeing as they have an attention span of about 5 minutes, all have different levels of English and there can be a 7 year old and 11 year old in the same class! I spent a long time planning and the school has so many resources so there are always things to do. Also most teachers and other staff are willing to help you out and tell you their favourite games. My favourite bit of teaching so far was yesterday afternoon; I was teaching a class of Juniors words like ‘across’, ‘up’, ‘over’, ‘under’ and ‘onto’. So, I made an assault course out of furniture in the room and got them all to do the course, but only if they could tell me the right instructions in English, e.g. ‘Over the chair, across the table, into the hoop’. It worked really well and I hope they’ll remember it all! Classes basically consist of a lot of running around, songs, physical activities, jumping and anything that will motivate/trick children into learning English.
On the social side of things, life has been great. I’ve made a really good group of friends and we hang out most evenings. We’ve been out a few times, once to a very cool all day reggae event held in a very posh expat ghetto. It was a gated community with a security check point and once you got inside it was like being in california. To be honest I didn’t like it, it was all a bit too colonial.
We’ve also hopefully found a house but I’ll update more on that when it’s definite. Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched and all that.
Today has been such a good day. We all went (well, the girls went, the boys stood outside awkwardly like boyfriends who’d been dragged shopping) to the tailors with dress designs for our work Christmas ball. They took all our measurements and our dresses will be ready in three days. The lady said I had a ‘beautiful body’ to which I replied ” I bet you say that to all the customers”. After this we went for hour long body massages, which as usual were incredible. Especially after working hard all weekend and getting very little sleep. This was followed by dinner at a great little restaurant where the waitress taught as Vietnamese and then brought out three puppies to show us! My first thought was “oh god please don’t let these be part of the menu” but it turned out they were from the family’s pet dog and were very much loved. They were the cutest things ever and it took a lot for us to pry ourselves away.
Three of my male friends have all got motorbikes now so we then went on a long exploration bike ride. Eventually, after going over some huge bridges and witnessing some spectacular views, one of the bikes broke down. Luckily for me this happened right next to someone’s house with a kitten outside, luckily for the boys and perhaps more relevantly, the house also had petrol. Whilst the menfolk gathered around trying to fix the bike (my advice that the bike might just need to ‘cool down’ wasn’t taken seriously) I sat on the pavement and played with the tiny kitten, which gnawed my arm and pawed at my hair. I probably have rabies now but it was worth it.
As if the day hadn’t been exciting enough, Aaron then somehow decided I was trustworthy enough to let on his motorbike. We found some empty huge roads and I got on. First question was how to turn it on, followed by trying to find out where the breaks and accelerator were. I figured it out and accidentally sped off with Aaron chasing behind telling me to pull the left handle to break! Once I did this I slowed down quite a lot and then the bike sort of just fell over because I was going to slow. After a lot of stopping, starting, practicing corners, I got quite good thanks to Aaron’s patience and surprising lack of concern that I might damage the bike/had nearly gone into a fence. Although I enjoyed it I don’t think I’ll be getting a bike anytime soon!
All in all it’s been a good week and I am looking forward to the rest of the year