Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Good v The Bad!!

The exciting news this week is that I now am employed full time with a salary! I managed to get a job as an international school as a primary school teacher - God knows how that happened!
After Hamming up my experience with kids (thanks to various institutions in the past) on my CV and sending it in with my most attractive photo I was invited to interview in the School just a few blocks from where I live.

I was initally a bit concerned because the school quotes parts of the bible on its website - but I was assured that it was just "Christian values" I was expected to teach ... that set the mind at risk, a bit. Apparently this involves teaching the students to respect others and saying please and thank you. Seems sensible enought but I am not sure why buddists beliefs do not teach that either and why Jesus has to teach those things but then the subject becomes a bit deep... and as religious debate is a personal favourite of mine I am sure the school will mean a few bitten tounges... that said the kids are cute and pay great...!!!!

Of course because the pay is great the kids have to be rich (to pay me!) - This brings us on to the next moral problem - Do I stop teaching the orphans to earn big salary as a full time teacher full time? The other issue to take into consideration as to whether I can consider part time is the fact that I am a (self confessed) control freak!! - How can I go part time and leave OTHER(!!) people to look after MY children!!! Surely they will not be as good as me - or worse they may be better than me and the kids cry when they leave and I arrive!!!.... I am still battling with the issue but I think it will end up with me being full time at the new place!! Afterall, the new place even has a swimming pool for the children - unlike the orphanages that do not have a pen to write on the board with.

Nevertheless, my justification is that these children are the futures of this corrupt country and if schools like this can teach morals and values (they specifically are anti corruption) then a new generation may eventually be in place ... it is some way but I can be a pioneer! So, now I am just waiting for the contract and to have confirmation of the ages I will teach and the start date. Agh! Meanwhile, so I can continue to feel like I am doing proper hard core volunteering here are some pictures from th orphanage today.

In my lower intermediate class they learnt about families. Donna, Martin, Richard and Emily (my family for those not with the knowledge) were stars in a piece of text and subsequent dictation on the board about "the family". Mum you will be pleased to know that the children thought you were 18. Richard less pleased to hear they thought you were Martin and were aged 50+. That said these children also thought a picture of Hereford was in Japan (they should definately put that in the tourist brochure!.. "some people have even commented that the centre is just like Japan"), that the Sydney Opera House was in China and that Big Ben was in America (awwww!) ... so their powers of identification are not all that hot. The terrible country identification came from a small "movie" I put together of iamges around the world with naff music and showed them on my laptop today.

Awww the famous English family whose picture is now stuck in the books of all great students!! Another question was a concern that Emily was a little short!!! Explaining she was on a step at the time of the picture took patience and time.

Here they are copying the text about the world famous family... with the picture stuuck on the board - beautiful.

This mismatch of countries just proved to me that it was truely stupid to be teaching these children using the standard textbooks available for ESL teachers from the West. I teach using books which teach children using Western ideals - My feeling is they are for Italian/Spanish/French schools - For instance, to teach "his/her name is" there is a picture of Tony Blair or some famous tennis/football player and they children are supposed to identify the pictures with the phrases/names. E.g "His name is Tony Blair" - impossible! These children could not identify their own head of state let alone some white guy from a country they cannot find on a map. Suffice to say I use the book in the loosest possible way and like to instead include my Cambodian favourites such as the pop star "Mr James" or Preap Sovath who provide "quality" pop music here. A picture of the pyramids today took us in the children's minds to Turkey (not bad I suppose) but proved beyond all doubt the book was wrong - I categorically should not be teaching plurals using the pyramids as an example as the book suggested!!
My students have all adopted new characters to practice asking questions (name, job, age, come from, married)- This has been quite funny as a number of you have been present in my classes without you even knowing... lawyers, teachers, doctors, consultants, businessmen/women from around the globe but in the form of 11 year old children!

1 comment:

martin said...

Fantastic blog Michelle, What a lovely picture of us! Sounds like vyou are having a wonderful experience - well done on getting the job - your justification sounds good!