I have to admit, this week has been hard..really hard. For the last four days it has -10 and -12 again. I am officially ready for winter to be over, and for it to stop being cold. However, tonight we are expecting four centimeters (2.5 inches) of snow. :-( When I was at school this morning I was talking to another teacher and asking him how he copes with the cold all the time since he moved here from Uruguay. He said he reminds himself how clean the air is. That makes him love it. Mmm...I will give that one a try. :-/ In the BIG picture though I just remind myself that I love my job - and that to me is very important when a person has to work to support a home. Going to work each day is hard enough at times, but loving the job and appreciating the people you work with helps a great deal. ...And then there are the students.
Three months ago a Japanese university student became one of my students at the college. He is very uptight and rigid. He was quick to tell me that he is not fond of his family and had no intention of keeping contact with them while he was studying abroad. We had many “chats” about his conduct in the classroom (grumpiness). This week the students had to produce a writing assignment about someone in their life. I was kinda wondering who he was going to write about, but didn't want to ask. I got the paper yesterday and laughed to see it was ME. He started out by saying how “she is the strangest teacher I have ever met. When she does role play in class with us she uses many different voices. I have never heard someone with so many voices in their head. And also, when I look at her in class I see she touches her glasses too much, and they have fingermarks on them. This disturbs me greatly. However, I have learned she is a very good teacher because now my English is good.” It makes me sound like some weird teacher in an old movie, but I laughed and laughed because I knew where it came from.
Then there is Diego. I have learned that good manners, and bad manners cross all cultural barriers. Diego is from Mexico and has been over indulged his whole life. He does his best to be obnoxious in the classroom and will take moments to attempt to make other students cry by his remarks so I have to intervene frequently. Recently he was saying some nasty things and I told him that he needed to stop and think about how he could express himself in a more mature manner. He proceeded to fling up his shirt and say, “mature? I am mature. I am a MAN! Look at all this hair!” I have a whole slew of responses I save for such moments. :-/ Oddly, whenever his program expires he keeps renewing, knowing that he will get me again, and again, and again. However, on the program evaluations yesterday the College Director was laughing because on the bottom of his evaluation form he added his own category of things he hates, and listed only one item underneath: me. The Director says it is okay though, because no other teacher wants to teach him. I actually think the training at the Ministry meetings comes into play here because we are taught to be nice or tolerant no matter how rotten or defiant someone is. ..and as post note to this, as I wrote this initially in the morning - Diego came to me later in the day and said he wanted to change himself but didn't know how. We sat down and made a plan together, and gave him the analogy of a highwire walker that becomes the star of the show - before he achieves his goal he falls a zillion times but he keeps trying otherwise he will spend his life on his back in the net. He understood and now each day we are working at his internal and language goals.
Even with the stress of the job I have to say I love it, because there truly never is a dull moment. From the moment I put foot in the class to the moment I leave, it is an adventure. I just have to work on appreciating this cold time of the year here. :-/
Okay, I must run, as the bus is almost pulling into the bus loop. If you have a meeting tonight have a great time!
Love to all,