Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I Will Kill them for Monday!

Hello all!

So, I suppose the title needs some kind of explanation? However, I think that in order for you to properly enjoy it, some back story should be told first...

They Said it Would Happen Eventually...
But I was hoping for a grace period! Flushed from our first Demi-success of teaching, Hugo and I sprang to action with the present perfect lesson for 7th form...whom we had not even matter! We decided to refresh them on past participles, since it was in their practice section of their books, and then jump straight into forming positive/negative sentences. If that all sounds confusing, believe me, I had to do some refreshing too! We out together a solid plan with the help of our cultural/tech tutor, and  prepped our materials well. This, however, soon fell to pieces as we were soon informed that, actually, students had NOT been taught past participles. Soooo, I did what I thought was probably the second-worst possible action...I shut up. This may not have been my usual first approach, but I had reached a point in my cold of sounding like a frog.

Fortunately, Hugo was fearless and endeavored to stagger onwards, while I tried to quickly patch together an alternate plan. Unfortunately, pretty much everything hinged on them knowing the pp verb form, so we ended up spending the majority of time drilling over those. Mercifully, time finally passed, and we left a wake of probably very confused students... The teacher ran out of the room quickly,as we stood in a numbed silence, knowledge of our failure stifling most reactions. We braced ourselves as she came back in the room, and I steeled myself to say - "Well...that didn't go so well..." To which she certainly did not disagree... She asked why we didn't introduce vocab (because we weren't given a list and have no idea of which words would be problematic, and you're about to have your baby and we feel bad about calling you??) , and then informed us there was a list of pp verbs onthe back of their book, so, really we needn't have worried about actually teaching them. So, that was unfortunate. However, she also told us not to feel bad, and gave us a piece of chocolate and a sincere smile before we shuffled out the door.

Luckily, Hugo is not one to dwell, and so we immediately decided that while the lesson was undeniably a complete failure (although we didn't lose control of the class, so we get a brownie point there, yes???), it was also good motivation for figuring out strategies for mitigating the situation in the future. Needless to say, I think it also put a damper on the thought of our next lesson on Wednesday (today) with the 9th grade, as it was also highly grammar-intensive. Albeit with easier topics of comparative/superlative formation and some work with vocab.

I am Getting to the Point...
Well, Tuesday night found Hugo and I rallying to put together a super lesson. We did a word search, on gridded paper (actually wall paper...) Hugo enjoys precision work. After being productive for several hours (we may have been overcompensating a bit), we were roped into a break (after a startled look-in that revealed us to be sitting in a chaotic assortment of papers and craft supplies...). Which is how I ended up drinking my first real Ukrainian beer, or half of one, while eating smoked braided cheese. It was delicious. We also got some history, including that of the Cossacks from my host dad, Beren, most of which we were able to understand. Then, more beer mix! This time, it was unfortunately lime and gin, which I unsuccessfully tried to point out was not actually a juice, and nor should it be mixed with beer...I was made to drink it anyway, after I made a comment on drinking Christmas trees, and was relieved to discover it was only mildly gin-ny. However, this put a damper on our initial inertia, and I resigned myself to a 7 am morning to finish the last poster.

It was with mild apprehension that I entered the class, but soon we were in a good groove. The teacher actually started her maternity leave today, but will still be in school sporadically until she has her child- which may still be several weeks, it turns out. Anyhow, our technical trainer was observing, although I was able to pretty much tune her out. Earlier I had watched Curly and Zim teach 5th form, and was comforted to find out that others were struggling to gauge student knowledge  bases as well. They did a great job of changing their lesson on their toes and attempting to attack the issue from several angles. I think they felt bad about the lesson, and I am sure it wasn't made any easier by having 3 observers! Anyhow, knowing that we were all struggling with the same challenges and fears made it somewhat easier to walk into my lesson.

We did not end up covering everything we had set out to, but were in the process of giving out home task (apparently the Brits use this term instead of homework), when we discovered the children did not have their workbooks, because the teacher had not given them back yet. So we improvised...later, when we stopped by the lounge, we found our partner teacher and explained how we had been caught out, and asked what we should of done. The teacher, bless her, immediately got a peeved look and exclaimed:

"I will KILL them for Monday!"

...and then proceeded to inform us that that they had flat out lied. I have to give them props, because there was no cross-talk when they mentioned lacking the workbook, so I assume this was a planned event. Fortunately, we will get to see their faces on Monday, when she will be giving a strongly-worded lecture...So that should be fun.

Not So Fun...
I haven't yet mentioned the weekend, as it was a hard one for my host family - most especially Leanne - as her father passed away. I tried to be out of the house as much as possible, as I did not want to add to her stress. Even though they had a funeral, she still ended up sending no less than 3 people to make sure I'd eaten, and tried apologizing!! Unfortunately, the sentiment of saying I am sorry for your loss is not present in this culture, but she eventually figured it out. I was finally able to explain to the English teacher friend she sent over that I could actually not only make my tea, but also cook for myself...and even listed what I had cooked earlier in the day as proof.

However, the weekend still had some very nice highlights, and I enjoyed spending most of Saturday with Curly and Hugo. We played soccer in a nearby soccer field, and studied ay Curly's house. She has also been kind enough to provide me with a wealth of new music to further my (obviously lacking) education in music appreciation, and I will listen to some after I complete this insanely long post.

Well, it feels that way at any rate, due to the whole iPad keyboard situation. I am also appalled as I look back at the spelling atrocities it lets me commit, with weird spaces and so on....

Anyhow, I am off to Kiev tomorrow for paperwork and city exploration!

Hope all is well,


P.s. I am super excited to be practically, almost back to normal health!!

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