Right, you wanna know about my day? The key word today is 'TIRED' -
6am Get up
6.30am Leave the house, endure an hour of mild rush hour trains (ie I could breath, but not really move)
7.30am Arrive at station an hour away
8am Start teaching a business class to five adults
9.30am Leave the building, endure 25 minutes of rush hour train
10am Arrive at the college. Drink two strong coffees.
11am Teach an IELTS* listening class
12.30pm Finish teaching
12.45pm Leave the college
13.15pm Get back to my home station, collect lunch from Subway
13.40pm Get home, eat lunch, faff around
14.30pm Crash out for a quick nap
17.40pm Wake up and drag self out of bed
* IELTS is an exam recognised throughout the world as an accurate assessment of someones level of English. Reading, writing, listening and speaking are all tested. And it's bloody hard. Especially some of the reading stuff. To be honest, if it weren't for the teachers book I'd probably struggle with some of the questions. I actually tried some matching exercises online - and didn't get them all right - but don't tell my students that. The test is used for such things as entering universities or being able to emigrate.
Anyway, I digress. I can't help but think this isn't the most productive way to spend a day. I HATE HATE HATE early mornings. I'm BAD at early mornings. I can't believe this is likely to become my regular Wednesday pattern for the next 12 weeks while I'm teaching the Wednesday business course. And besides, who in their right minds actually wants to study English at 8am in the morning?
One of my students is particularly amusing though. She's in her mid-30s and not afraid to speak her mind. I think she could be definitely be worth her weight in amusement value.
To start the session, I'd played a game with the students where they had to write various one or two word answers on the board about themselves for the others to guess the questions. This normally involves home town, hobbies, family stuff, maybe favourite things, etc. One guy wrote 'a woman' - so, of course I'm standing there imagining he's about to tell us he used to be a woman, or he wants to become a woman, or the last person he murdered was a woman, or something - but it turns out it's 'what he wants'.
Let's return to female student mentioned above. At the end of the lesson, when I asked them if they had any questions (normally this ends up being about me or the lesson itself), she turned to 'a woman' guy, and interrogated him (this is the only word I can think of for it) about what he was doing about finding someone.... Not surprisingly, she's not Japanese. Highly amusing (for me). The poor guy didn't know what had hit him though.
It's always a dilemma knowing what slang to teach people and what slang to not teach them. After all, slang is slang, and sounds very strange when used in the wrong contexts or with the wrong stress, etc - and this is something we struggle enough to achieve with 'regular' English.
So, I'm wondering whether to teach my IELTS kids the difference between 'to pick up some German on holiday' or 'to pick up a German on holiday' - what do you reckon? Maybe I should just correct it without explaining and revel in its amusement value.
On getting one of my classes to brainstorm famous adventurers from fact and fiction, one named 'Mickey Mouse'. See what I'm up against?
Seriously though, I adore the kids I'm teaching. Considering how much is riding on them passing their courses and particularly their IELTS (they all want to go to universities overseas next year, which they cannot do without a good pass in the IELTS), they are hard-working and really enthusiastic and I'm loving finding interesting and stimulating things for them to do. I teach IELTS listening and reading twice and do a couple of more general English courses. Every lesson is 90 minutes and I do a total of 9 of them over the four days. The time flies by!
And I'm starting to do really well with learning the 5,000 names - okay 52 names - which is also REALLY surprising me as I have such a crap memory for names normally.
I also still have my regular day on a Saturday in an eikaiwa (language school). I have awesome students on this day and an intensive class, so I'm really happy.
Unfortunately, because my hours are now on the lower side, I have to do some business classes - the 8am-9.30am one and two more in another place for two hours on a Thursday night. That's life. I understand why I have to do them. I just wish I didn't.....! Oh well.