Thursday, December 03, 2009

My Work Week

It's Thursday, the middle of my work week (work, that is, the stuff they pay you for, see this for what I do on my 'day off' ha ha).

I hate Thursday because it's a long and busy day, and because it's in the middle. Wednesday has the virtue of being very light - I call it Easy Wednesday to remind myself that work on that day is really not a big deal. And Friday of course, is Friday, with the wonderful bonus feeling at the end of having FINISHED.

Of course, my weekends are usually busy and the kids are home all day demanding snacks, so it's not exactly a holiday, it's more having my mind freed from the responsibility to be somewhere, or to be planning or preparing lessons.

On Wednesday morning I drive all the way out to a tiny country school to teach one 45-minutes class. The drive is 20 minutes each way! But I love this school. There are only 14 students in the school, eight are studying English, rotating between two 1st Grade students and six in a mixed 3/4th Grade class. AND it's this school's last year of operation before it closes and the students have to go to a bigger nearby country school.

This means I have pretty much total freedom in these classes - the small class size means I can do so much more with crafts, and can monitor their individual learning. And being the final year gives me the freedom to splash out and spoil them a bit, since I'm not laying down any expectations for next year! So we iced cupcakes for Halloween, and I was able to bring my own collection of Halloween costumes for them to wear. And I was able to afford to give them a really nice gift pack with sweets and a pencil set and a tiny deck of Halloween playing cards. So I'm having great fun, and I enjoy the drive too, especially when I bring my iPod!

On Wednesday afternoon, I teach a one-hour conversation class with no text book at the City Hospital. I teach the residents, who rotate through the different departments of the hospital every month or two. There are only two at the moment, which makes for a very intimate class - and often no class at all, if they are busy. Yesterday no-one came. That can feel a bit lonely, and you wonder if it's you...but I like to continue the classes because it gives me a forum to ask questions about the system here, as well as an insight into the hospital where my daughters are treated for asthma. For example, I was recently able to ask them about the influenza vaccination schedule.

Thursday morning is the class I look forward to the least, two in a row at a much bigger primary school, with 25-30+ students in each class! This limits what I can do, because even games, with that many kids, take a lot of setting-up and policing and always get rowdy! Plus it's a new class, so I still don't feel very confident about what I am doing and where I'm going, since I'm taking over from someone else, trying to use and adapt her routine and plans.

Thursday and Friday afternoon are classes at OIT, the classes I lost for a year. I kept expecting something else to come up, but nothing did, so I am very grateful to have them back! I missed the little touches, like knowing about what music and clothes young people preferred, and I used to always check out young men on the street - just to make sure it was/wasn't my student, but I'm sure it looked like I was checking them out! I used to have to check the wait staff at the places I went to eat and drink weren't my students too. I was beginning to feel out of touch! And I just like students that age. So, suitably humbled, I am both enjoying, and putting more effort into these classes, well aware that it may only last until February anyway (short contract, and we have no idea what the school's plans are after that - I feel like I'm on trial!)

Friday morning is a Day Care centre, I teach a class of 23 5-6 year-olds. They will be going to school next year, so their class is run more like a kindy. I still can't get over the bare rooms kindies have here, none of the bright colors, loads of toys and play stations they have in NZ kindies. Or are NZ kids being over-stimulated and undisciplined? Who can say. Anyway, they enjoy their English class with the unbridled enthusiasm of kids up to about age 8.
I have a text that I work very loosely from, just for curriculum basically, and then fill ine gaps between targeted language with songs, books, and games.

And that's it! Not much listed, and it's a mercifully short week. Friday night I often have a few drinks anyway! I usually run errands on Monday and do a big cleaning job on Tuesday so it does feel like a full week. Then back to the start again!

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