for the moment.
Leaving Lyon tomorrow for Germany. Gonna hang with good friends and change the channel on the language network.
Time to really mess with my brain. ;-)
Pedrata’s Take on Lyon
✫ Sj ✫
pau = finished
Leaving Lyon tomorrow for Germany. Gonna hang with good friends and change the channel on the language network.
Time to really mess with my brain. ;-)
✫ Sj ✫
pau = finished
You know that “wall” they talk about in marathons. That place where your legs supposedly turn to jelly and you just want to sit down and call it quits? It’s supposed to happen around mile 20. Twenty divided by 26.2 = .76. Or, think of it as you’ve run 76% of the race and have 24% more to go. The percentage is similar for little ole me sitting here at my desk in Bangkok. 20 days of school; I’ve just completed day 13. Thirteen divided by 20 = .65. There’s only 35% more to go. And there’s a hill facing me. A hill with two bumps in the shape of a lesson plan and written assignment. I hadn’t realized that this moment might come. But just google “marathon wall,” and you’ll see how much has been written about it.
What the heck are you doing, Susan Jane, comparing an English teaching course to a marathon? You’ve got to be kidding!
Well, I’m not. That’s how it feels. I’m at that point where I just want to lie on my bed and watch one Lucy show after another. (I just watched one but somehow managed to kick myself out of bed and up into this chair.)
But we thought you wanted to do this course?
I did. I do. I just gotta find the will to keep going.
What do all those blogs say about getting over the marathon wall?
Essentially, stop thinking about it, and just keep going. Ignore the fatigue. Take one step and then another. One step and then another. Until you’ve distracted yourself and forgotten that you were tired, until you find you’re almost there and can sigh a huge sigh of relief.
(yes, I’m indulging myself and calling my “sigh” card now)
And with that, I’m going to get back to work.
It’s 7:01 p.m. on the 12th day out of 20 at this most wonderful CELTA course in Bangkok, Thailand.
Whew! It’s downhill from here on out! (I think : )
I was on my way home from yet another action-packed day (complete with practice teaching, today it was #5 out of 8).
So how is it? I can hear a chorus of you yelling across the byways, highways and seas.
Well, it’s intense.
Duh, it IS an intensive course I hear the teachers saying.
Yep, it is.
But it’s good. The people involved are absolutely wonderful. The teachers are very knowledgeable and caring. The students (who we’re teaching) are excited to be in the class and participate (mostly) fully with an excitement that can be contagious. And my cohorts are absolutely darling people, from the collection of beautiful and smart young ladies from Australia, England, and the U.S. to the varied men of all ages and nationalities.
We’re all here for different and similar reasons. To be with a sister who works and lives here. To be with boyfriends who work and live here. To be with Thai wives who work and live here. To be able to go back home and work (home being Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines). To gain experience before starting a business in Thailand based around language schools. I’m sure there are even more reasons, but those are the ones who raised their hands and said, “Pick me! Pick me!”
What’s a typical day like? I think I mentioned before that the mornings are generally devoted to learning about all (and I do mean ALL) the different types of lesson plans. The below picture I took today during our one-and-only review session with all three teachers present at once.
We (okay, mostly me) were trying to get a handle on all the different types and their particular stages (sections, really, chapters. Pick a word, any word; I bet it’ll fit).
Then we meet with our tutor of the week and go over our plan to see what we’re going to do and if the tutor thinks it’ll work. Gradually, we’re becoming more and more responsible for the exact structure of the lesson.
Then, some people go out for lunch for a hot and spicy 30 BHT soup (30 BHT = $1). Some run downstairs to the British ex-pat who makes a mean tuna fish sandwich for 35 BHT (and a cookie’s only 15BHT), salads are around 80BHT. Some go to the Subway downstairs (haven’t gotten one, so I don’t know the cost). Regardless what they eat, they’re sure to not run out of choices. I’ve never seen so many food vendors in my life.
The mango smoothie in the shot at the top of the page? 30BHT. The veggie spring rolls that I ate (but didn’t photograph) were 100BHT. The going rate for a smoothie is between 30 (watermelon one, yum!) to this high-end mango one for all of 60BHT. I suppose the extra 10BHT are to pay for the wonderful ambience of this little tropical paradise in the midst of Bangkok madness. I feel a bit of Kauai-ness here, AND they have wi-fi. Can’t beat that!
When I left school this evening (around 6:15 p.m.—I generally arrive at 8 a.m. so that I have an hour to get my head on straight, papers in order, copies made, etc.), I thought I was going to grab a quick bite and then head straight home to start in on Written Assignment #3 out of 4. Well, I do still have plans to do the assignment tonight (or at least make major headway, it’s due Thursday by 6 p.m.), but this pleasant outdoor Thai café called out to me. “Susan Jane! Here’s where you want to have dinner. Remember that wonderful smoothie you had last week; you can get pupus too. And there’s wi-fi. And beautiful roses that smell wonderful too.”
Who could resist such a seductive call? Not moi, that’s for sure. So here I sit and type. It’s now 7:24 p.m., the smoothie is just about pau (finished for non-Hawaiians/Kauaians), and the spring rolls are long gone. And the assignment sits in my heavy backpack saying, “Ah, I won’t be too hard on you. Just a little this and that about writing lesson plans on reading, using skimming, scanning, detailed reading . . . it’ll be easy!”
Ha! I’ve heard that mischevious call before. Just last week it came from Written Assignment #2. The assignment that somehow turned into the exercise from *:#(! It just didn’t want to end, couldn’t say goodbye, wanted just one more peck on my cheek before it turned its back on me and found another. But end it did. Just in time for me to be free and go for a pint with all my fellow students at Molly Malone’s. An Irish Pub in Bangkok, you ask? You’ve got to be kidding! That seems so ordinary compared to: Bei Otto, a German restaurant; Chela, a Swiss restaurant; suchandsuch, a Mexican restaurant; somethingother, a Scandinavian restaurant; ad infinitum. You get the picture. There’s EVERYTHING here in Bangkok.
Okay, so there are lots of restaurants, Susan Jane. But what about the teaching? What’s that like?
Well, you know how you got ready for your first date? Did you hair (alright guys, this relates to you just as well as girls!) and nails. Took days to pick out the right outfit. Which shoes to wear? Should I bring that purse or the other one? Should we go to a movie? Do we get pizza first or after? And what if she/he doesn’t like pizza? What if we don’t have anything to talk about? What’s the best move to get my arm around her? Or hold her hand? (And with that: How can I get him to move his arm? Hand?) . . . okay, you get the picture. Remember????
It’s kind of like that. You plan and plan, but somehow it all falls part. Or, the pizza is served cold. Or, something gets caught in your braces and you don’t realize it’s been hanging out of your mouth all night. Or, you reach over to kiss her and you butt heads; your glasses get tangled in hers/his. Stop! Stop! I hear you all calling out! (It’s amazing how you’re all able to speak in unison from all parts of the world. : ) We get the picture; it’s painful!
Yes, it can be painful.
But it can be pleasant too. Remember when you looked over at him/her and exchanged the most precious smile? When you held hands and that warm palpitation rose up your entire body and made your cheeks glow?
Well, it can be like that too. In the midst of the uncertainty, the doubt, the worry. Sweet little moments rise up and say, “Keep going; it’ll be alright. Just smile. A smile goes a long way.”
So with that, my friends, I shall bid you adieu. Yes, the date bells are ringing that it’s time for my next rendezvous.
I wish you all well and thank you so very much for your little notes of encouragement. They mean a lot. Like that timid smile, they’re just what’s needed when you’re painfully aware that you’re in new territory, and the course is unclear.
p.s. photo collection from the past week . . .
This was the first time we all got together to blow off steam. End of week two.
I managed to find a grocery store on my own, and then celebrated (e v e r y t h i n g: end of week 2, being healthy, being in BKK, having wonderful friends, family . . . yes, everything!) with a delicious café latte and chocolate cup of something yummy.
But there’s just not time now to write about it all. I completed my third of eight practice teaching sessions this afternoon. Today’s was definitely the best. : ) I turned in my first written assignment this past Monday and am looking at a 13-page document that is the second written assignment; it’s due this Friday.
A rhythm to the school day has slowly emerged. Eighteen people are in the group. Morning sessions run from 9 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. with one of the three teachers presenting information regarding lesson plans, language systems, etc. They somehow manage to do it in an interesting way. Generally, they’re using the teaching methods that they want us to use.
Then, every afternoon around 1:45 p.m. the students begin to arrive. They come from all parts of the world: Thailand, Japan, Pakistan, Somalia, you name it! The 18 split up into three groups of 6. Two groups are currently teaching students at the intermediate level; one group is teaching more elementary level students. Next week we’ll switch so that we all have an opportunity to experience both levels. We’re each teaching two 40-minute classes per week (the first three weeks). The fourth and last week we’ll each teach two 60-minute classes. (I’m down to teach on the last day, Friday the 24th. Talk about coming down to the wire!)
So, that’s the deal pickle. I’m enjoying it, but I’ll admit that when we came across the sentence, “She’s looking forward to the end of the course” in one of our exercises the other day*, I had to chuckle to myself and say, “Well, yes, I too am enjoying it, but I’m also looking forward to the end of it.” What’s the saying? It’s not the destination; it’s the journey? Fortunately, this girl IS enjoying the journey.
Love to you all. Below are some shots of Bangkok life, which the school accurately calls “the charming chaos of your new environment.”
*We were making CCQs (concept checking questions) to see if they students understand the meaning of the underlined portion. This statement’s CCQs were: “Will she be happy when it is finished?” (Yes), “Is the course finished?” (No), “Does she often think about the end of the course?” (Yes is the “official” answer, but from where I’m sitting, there’s not time to think about anything but the course! : )
As you can see from the shot above, I won’t be making a lot of long and involved entries to my glob over the next 4-weeks! My job tonight is to organize all the many papers for this-and-that, read an assignment, look through my notes to make some sense of all I learned today, and just generally, get my head on straight!
From the Skytrain, I can walk directly into the building. Upon arrival early this a.m., it looked a lot like the Kuhio Mall of days gone by. Tones knows what I mean. : )
So what the heck am I doing typing this to you right now? Well, I wanted to let you know what’s up, and that all is well. We each already stood in front of a group of students (who we’ll be teaching this week) to introduce ourselves and practice the very first points we were taught. And what were those points? Don’t talk too much; keep what you say simple and concise.
But we want to know more, I can hear you saying. So I’ll give you Susan Jane’s down-and-dirty-off-the-cuff list of FAQ’s:
1) Where are the other students from?
Australia, England, Malaysia and the U.S.
2) Do they plan on teaching in Asia after the course?
Yes, some have jobs already; some have family here; some have boyfriends or girlfriends here.
3) What are their ages?
Most are in their 30’s though my unofficial guesstimate is that they range from the mid-20’s to the mid-40’s (with moi being an exception : ). One guy’s wife just had a baby boy on the 21st of May; yes, they live in Bangkok.
4) What are the teacher’s like?
Two males and one female—all from England. The guys make a perfect mutt and Jeff set of bookends. She’s got lots of energy and makes teaching English to Thai students look easy!
5) Who are the students?
Here’s a quick run-down of the few I met today.
One young lady wants to be an airline attendant.
One young lady moved here from Japan and wants to be able to talk to the foreigners in her apartment building.
One young lady is in college and is planning to go to grad school in Psychology.
One young lady studied English is school and now, 10-years later, wants to improve her English since she teaches computer classes.
There are a few guys, but I just didn’t meet them yet.
They seem to range in age from the mid-20’s to late 30’s.
6) What’s the school itself like?
It’s on the 7th floor of this buildingm just off of a Sky Train stop on the Silom line. The rooms are narrow and FULL of students. It’s a hopping kind of place with classes taking place all the time, even on the weekend. Three or so beautiful young Thai ladies greet you once you enter. The restrooms are not in the school area, but rather outside just past the elevators. Fortunately, I remembered to carry some of my own tissue with me today. If you don’t know what I mean, just think about it for a moment.
Okay, I think I need to get going and busy with my school work.
Below are also some shots I took this weekend when I went to play golf with my girlfriend’s *husband and a German couple, all expats working here in Bangkok. And yes, I had fun speaking German with them. The golf? It was fun, and I definitely got my money’s worth, if you know what I mean . . . yep, think about it for a moment and you’ll get the picture.
Until the next post,
At 6 p.m. every day, everyone stops while a short version of their national anthem is play.
Looks like he’s happy with his game, and there is a lot of the same foliage as on Kaua‘i.
The golf course was a 45-minute drive north of Bangkok. And yes, we each had a caddy! That was a first for me. I can hear some of you saying, I didn’t know you played golf. Exactly, I don’t; hence, I got my money’s worth!
So beautiful! I couldn’t resist stopping during the game and smelling the roses, I mean hibiscus.
-pau for now . . .
Two other musées. The Roman . . . learned how Lyon was formed, you’ll have to look at the photos to learn . . . I took a few clandestine photos . . . also read about the PIERRE Scize. A Pierre is a stone . . . and to think that I had the grand luck to be placed in a beautiful apartment with part of THE pierre scize in ma chambre!!!
date: Tue, Feb 17, 2009
It was incredible watching the pile of hair on the newspaper grow. (I had laid newspaper on the floor next to the very large mirror in Madame’s chamber.) Needless to say, I did this when she was away visiting her parents.
That meal was “okay.” But it really wasn’t magnifique like we’d been led to believe. I had the salad of meat followed by the fish, which was fried in a pan. It was fine but nothing to write home about (so why AM I writing???) Nothing like the fabulous poisson I’ve eaten at Roy’s or Sabella’s or Pacific Cafe. To be honest, it felt like a tourist trap.
Tony and I were happily able to come back to Lyon 10 months later . . . we dined out at a sister restaurant with Jean-Laurent and a friend. It was the wonderful meal I’d been wanting during my solo trip. But I didn’t see any students dining there. Maybe they indeed did take us to “tourist traps.”
Do I have regrets? No, but I don’t have to try that stuff again. The next restaurant I want to go do is on rue Lantern next to quai de la pecherie and le Rhone. It’s a pizza joint très elegant where they make their pizzas in a wooden fire. I can see Tony drooling already!
date: Mon, Feb 2, 2009
I enjoyed watching it all. I sent Nancy the little piece of paper THEY were passing out protesting the abundance of such paper things.
Why in the world people the world over can’t just chant “Love your neighbor!”, or “Let’s all be friends!”, or “Come to my house for a cup of tea and some pleasant conversation whenever you have a free moment . . .” ????
Later in the evening when I was up on the top of the colline where le fourvière is, I could still hear the chanting. It wasn’t until then that I thought to record a little video. That’s when they stopped chanting and talking. Maybe there’s a message there. Exactly that is what does not need to be passed on and shared with others. It just keeps the cycle going . . . just my observations.