Teach or beach? Both!

24 October, 2009

Finally, some time to breathe and blog!

The past week, Kenny and I have been going through the teaching practice portion of our program. This meant that every day we were given a different class and we would have to come up with a lesson plan according to their level (young learners, beginner, intermediate, conversation). For the beginner and intermediate classes, we were given grammar points or reading assignments to use in the class so it was fairly easy to come up with 50 minutes of chicanery, but towards the end of the week it became a challenge to come up with topics for the young learners and conversation classes. I spent a night and a substantial part of my morning preparing for a conversation class on environmental issues ranging from sustainability issues, eco-terrorism and the Kyoto Protocol only to have it vetoed by my instructor 4 hours before the class because someone did a class on “environment and rubbish removal” the day before. I ended up doing a conversation class on movies, which went really well (Kenny was there observing me!), but I was still annoyed. What a load of rubbish. Hmph.

Here are some highlights and observations from the week of teaching practice

1. Everyone in Egypt loves Titanic and Celine Dion. There was a large older man in my conversation class named Mohammed who proclaimed that his favorite movie of all time is Titanic and his favorite actor is Nicholas Cage. I tried to imagine a remake of titanic in which Nicholas Cage tries to save the sinking ship, and fails. I think it would make for a real good Keyboard Cat video.

2. Most of the students in the classes were probably smarter than all the teachers combined. Our students in our teaching practice were volunteers brought in from all different parts of Alex, but we had students ranging from engineers, chemists, faculty members of universities, budding translators (my old 1 on 1 student!) and other distinguished and employed folk putting my resume and my career to shame. I had a conversation class on health issues and for the last activity in the class, I had them come up with a 5 minute presentation for the Minister on Health and Population on why their assigned issue (smoking or noise and air pollution) was the most important and needed to be addressed by the president immediately. It turned out that two out of the four students in my class work at some firm where they’re in charge of air and noise pollution regulations in Egypt. Both campaign speeches ended up being really good and even spawned a lively debate, making my class go ten minutes over time. oops.

3. I like making my students come up with skits and dialogues, they end up being pretty comical.

4. Children love playing charades.

5. Children love all things Sponge Bob, even the bad ones will shut up when they see the dewy eyes of their favorite porous marine animal.

6. Pictionary is a good way to use up extra time.

7. Making everyone survey each other is a good way to get students talking, and to take a sit down / cool off break. The AC in one of the classrooms was absolutely retarded and would freeze the back of the classroom but leave the front swelteringly hot so I’d be melting into a puddle while trying to explain how to express things that’ll happen in the future. I’m sure my students thought I was maniacal, but I’m now friends with them on facebook, so I guess I was maniacal in a good way.

8. I gesticulate a lot. I had to watch a video of myself teaching and I noticed that I tended to move around a lot, I guess that’s a good thing.

9. The power went out during one of my classes. It got kind of scary for a second, and I definitely got kind of spooked by the idea of being in an unfamiliar area (we were taken to another school building to teach that day) and not being able to see anything. Luckily my students had cellphones with flashlights so we were able to continue the class as though nothing had happened. The lights came on 5 minutes later. My roommate later told me that she would have stopped the class right then and there, but I think that’s because she hates teaching. Oh, and this was the class that was videotaped. Haha. Huray for technology allowing me to relive awesome moments in my life.

All in all the teaching practice week was great. Kenny and I are now officially certified to teach English anywhere in the world. Yousef, the Libyan Scotsman in our group taught a letter writing class for his young learners for the last day and he had them write a letter to their favorite teacher. I was pleasantly surprised when one of the girls in the class handed me an envelope when I was still scrambling together my lesson plan for later that evening. I thanked her and I looked at the envelope to see that the letter was initially addressed to Amanda, the Korean – American – Oklahomeyan in our group, but then her name was crossed out and my name was written next to it. Inside, the letter was addressed to Amanda, but that was next to a scribbled out mess which distinctively said “Andrea” underneath. Andrea is the Chinese Canadian in our group. I’m still not quite sure if she gave the letter to the right Asian, so I told Amanda and Andrea that we can have shared custody of the letter.

Tomorrow, orientation for our teaching internship. The day after marks the beginning of Arabic lessons. I can’t wait to learn enough Arabic to tell someone off…err… I mean… hold an intelligent conversation about future goals.

UPDATE: Kenny hates Koshari. Pizza is delicious wherever you go. Wrigley’s Extra gum is far superior to Saudi Arabian gum. I’m sick of the falafel in Egypt and the falafel in the U.S. is more tasty than the falafel here. GASP! i think MAOZ ruined me for life.


5 Responses to “Teach or beach? Both!”

  1. laura nisbet said

    Set, even a shared letter of praise is better than no letter at all!!

  2. Miwako mama said

    Hi, Secchan!
    Teaching language is telling someone your culture. Now that you have the certificate to teach, you can spread good things all over the world. Congratulations! Enjoy both teach and beach!!!

  3. mikimikimiki said


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