Thursday, 10 March 2011

I-to-I day twenty: Final English lesson

Thursday 10th March 2011

MP3 track of the day: Schools out for summer – Alice Cooper

Weather: Very hot and humid. It's been much more humid today than it has been over the past few days.

For some reason I couldn't get to sleep last night. It wasn't any hotter than usual, I hadn't drunk copious amounts of caffeine and it wasn't that early. In fact I eventually got to sleep at midnight giving me six hours of sleep before I had to get up. In The morning Kim-Lee came to me holding a yellow piece of paper. Finally my parcel (which was sent to Columbia instead of Cambodia) had arrived. Looking at the yellow sheet in more detail I had to pick up my parcel from the main depot, I also had to pay 2,500 riel (around 40p) for the privilege. Kim-lee talked to my tuk-tuk driver and persuaded him to take me to the post office after work. For now I ate my breakfast and boarded my tuk-tuk.

As my tuk-tuk trips are getting fewer and fewer, each one is becoming a little more sad. Sure I won't miss the hour long commute, the 'off-roading' and the manic traffic but I will miss what that tuk-tuk ride symbolizes; going to teach my class. I thought more about the manic, mental and suicidal traffic that seems to buzz in all directions on, and off, the road. To my surprise I haven't seen any accidents within Cambodia. I've come to the conclusion that, every tuk-tuk ride may seem like death, but this chaotic system does actually to work.

Sandy and I got to 'library 2' on time and we were, again, waved in by many happy smiling student faces. I went to my classroom to find my students waiting for me. As some had expressed that the text book was a little difficult I went over 'across' and 'next to' using yesterday's example. I first of all played a game called 'Where is teacher?'. My students had five guesses to work out what room, within the school, teacher was in by putting their hand up and saying 'Is teacher across from the library?' or 'is teacher next to the music room?'. The game went well and I lost 5-1.

Next I got my students to draw themselves within one of the schools rooms; once this was achieved I asked each student, in turn, where they were and what were they doing. They would reply, something like, 'I'm in the gym and I'm playing football'. This went on until I went through all of my students. Next I got a student to take my place, and chose a classmate to interrogate, with the above questions. Again, once all students had been given ago at playing 'teacher', I then split them up into the rooms they had chosen (for example if two students had drawn themselves within the gym, then they would sit together). I then changed 'he's / she's' to 'they are'. So the questions now read:

Teacher – 'Where are (student name) and (student name).'

Students – 'They are in the gym.'

Teacher – 'What are they doing?'

Students – 'They are playing football.'

We continued, with the above conversation, until all the schools rooms had been drilled. The final drilling activity happened after 'break'. I got my students back to their original seats and I shouted out sentences like 'Which students are next to the office?'. The students who had drawn themselves in a room, next to the office, would stand up. We went through quite a few rounds of this and the students enjoyed themselves immensely. With the final ten minutes I played 'beat the clock' with my students, focusing on words that some of them had trouble pronouncing. Final score for 'beat the clock' 'Class 8 – Teacher 2'. There was much rejoicing on the students part.

Surprisingly, considering my rubbish nights sleep, I was feeling rather awake as I went into the lunch break. I filled out the class books and read a few 'Cambodian childrens storybooks' located on the book shelves, within 'Class C', on the left-hand wall. I have to say that these stories were abit odd. One story was about a beautiful woman (all women within these stories are beautiful) who was about to commit suicide because her husband was thick and ugly. The only thing that stopped her was talking to another man, within her village, and finding out that he was even thicker than her husband. That made her feel better. I finished lunch by playing a few games of 'patience' before heading into my classroom.

Like always the afternoon class followed the same structure as the morning one. However, it appeared that my afternoon last got 'across' and 'next to' a lot quicker than my morning students. Looking at my watch I still had fifteen minutes of my lesson. To make matters worse my lack of sleep was starting to kick in and I struggled to invent something fun, educational and new. I didn't want to start another unit so I just drilled the students and went through more pronunciation. It wasn't interesting but it was better than nothing.

My class ended and off Sandy and I went. Sandy was great; even though the post office meant another thirty minutes onto our journey she came with me. Once at the main post office depot I went to the 'international mail' counter and handed over my yellow sheet of paper, plus my passport as proof. The gentleman, behind the counter, walked off and it took him quite a while to reappear again. When he did he was holding a medium sized jiffy bag. He told me that the parcel had already been open in Japan (Japan and Columbia, well-done Royal Mail) and that I should check the contents:

  • 1x pad lock

  • 4x water-proof sealed food bags

  • more business cards

  • and a big pile of CHOCOLATE

I hadn't asked for the chocolate, however that's what made me smile the most. In fact, at that moment in time, all the other stuff could have been stolen for all I cared. Chocolate was all that I wanted. Sandy and I got back to our guesthouse around 4:30pm. Sandy went inside whereas I still had one further job to do. As tomorrow was the last time I will see my class I had decided to have a party. To have a party I needed cake, coke, sweets and other yummy stuff. I went off, party food hunting, which first of all started within a huge market only five minutes away from my guesthouse.

Odyssey market was it's name and it was basically a concrete car park turned into a indoor market. This is the first time I had been in this market and I soon wanted to get out. First of all there was no order; you had mobile phone stores next to rice stores, next to jewelry shops, next to toy stores, next to another phone store. Secondly the pedestrian paths, between said stores, were very thin making me a little worried about the safety of my wallet. Finally a lot of stores were packing up. I soon made the judgement call to leave the market and head to a local supermarket, about a ten minute walk to the south. Sure it would be more expensive however the products would be ordered and the building air conditioned.

Within fifteen minutes, within the supermarket, I had two bottles of Pepsi (no roller cola here), three packs of Oreo's, two large packets of sweets and twenty-four strawberry cakes. Total amount … $15.00 (£10.00). Okay so it cost quite a bit. However as I was walking back to my guesthouse, hands full of shopping, I decided that my students were worth the money ... their smiles alone would be worth it.

With all my shopping I struggled to open my bedroom door; once inside I sorted my party shopping into two bags. One bag for the morning class and one for the afternoon class. I then went through my parcel and sorted out where my lock, business cards, water proof bags were to go. Sorting out where the chocolate was going was simple … that was coming downstairs with me. As I surfed the internet I eat my first Cadbury's chocolate bars, from the UK, since August 2010. It had been a while but my taste buds soon remembered the beautiful, thick, chocolate taste. As you can imagine some of the chocolate was quite melted however I managed. I didn't spare a single crumb and only left one galaxy bar for tonight. Speaking of tonight I'm going to go and find something to eat before taking my galaxy chocolate bar upstairs, to eat, whilst watching a film.

However an early night is needed tonight. I'm pretty tired from last night and I'm going to need all my strength for a fun, but emotional, final farewell tomorrow.

Toodle Pip!

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