You are browsing the archive for 2006 June.

nothing part X

June 28, 2006 in Uncategorized

two weeks since i got my certificate tomorrow

jobs applied to: none

Part of this is because I haven’t been able to access jobs on the website for some strange reason. Also, I haven’t been to the TESOL offices yet to ask for resume/cover letter guidance. This is largely in part because I’ve been busy with transcripts and other things. Thus, no jobs applied to.

I ran into Patrick from class the other night on the street, which was a nice surprise. Occasionally, Ollie sends out mass emails to the rest of us, discussing his experience sitting in on classes at the Language Institute in New Jersey, which all of us were encouraged to do in order to get a recommendation which will further help in getting a job.

I tell people I’m leaving in October, but honestly, I haven’t even gotten a job yet so how do I know I can leave in October? Will jobs I want even be hiring for then?

Must call the school tomorrow and ask why I can’t get into the site.

duhat

June 20, 2006 in Uncategorized

Freshly armed with many new words in various languages from the presentations my TESOL class gave on thursday, I prepared to impress my 1st generation American friends.

On Thursday, I IMd (half-Korean) Erma: “herro, Erma!” I typed. “Are you having a lovely mo ko il?”

“Huh?” she typed back.

Yesterday, I listened to (half-Filipino) Stitch complain about not knowing what to get for dinner and helpfully suggested: “How about some duhat? What about some saging? Or some refreshing pakwan, perhaps?”

“What the heck are you talking about?” groused Stitch.

Aw, shucks.

Moshi moshi, bitches

June 16, 2006 in Uncategorized

Today, after we were taught more about grammar we gave our presentations and the instructor gave us our teaching certificates. I then went to have lunch with Patrick, C.C., Minday and Ollie at Curry in a Hurry on 28th and Lex. We lounged, piled our plates with naan, basmati rice, and various curries.

“Have you told your friends that you’re planning on leaving?” Ollie asked us. Patrick said “yes”. I said “yes”. C.C. and Mindy said they hadn’t. Ollie said he hadn’t, either, and had considered just sending an email from japan.

“What would you say?” asked C.C. “‘moshi moshi,  bitches’?”

priceless.

day six

June 13, 2006 in Uncategorized

From a writing exercise we were bidden to do today (my personal assignment: writing a diary entry):

 

Today, half of the class didn’t show and there was a lot of shouting about art. It made me feel sad and incredibly tired. Such passion is exhausting, even when you don’t partake.

 

 

Jean and Frank will come today but I don’t know when they’ll arrive. I couldn’t sleep after work and cleaned the kitchen, wiped down the bar, organized the living room but left my bedroom in shambles. I’ll pick up some flowers from the deli on the way home. It’s the least I can do.

 

 

Heifer is long, lithe and stripey and splays her claws into my ragged comforter.

 

I would like to cook for –

 

“Hey!” exclaimed Patrick, looking over my shoulder. “Stop writing a book! I have to correct that!”

So I stopped.

day five

June 12, 2006 in Uncategorized

Still procrastinating. I have a deadline today as well as a doctor’s appt at 4:45 and work at 7:30. So far, there is lots of jumble on the page but no real beginning.

I tried to go to sleep at 2 but couldn’t sleep for hours. I rolled out of bed at 8:25 and made it to class at 9:01. Today there was an ice breaker where we each wrote a line of ‘poetry’ on the board to form one larger poem, kicked off by Bill. the result:

Aw, man, i still need a flat

but for the money you want to pay, you won’t get that

go to Jersey, it’s really phat

check the hood ’cause that’s where it’s at!

no trash no bugs no trash no rats

be careful in da hood if you hate on those cats

there’s no telling who’s got your back

or you might get whacked

even worse you could get trapped

and you’ll always afford to live there even if you get sacked

yeah this is true no doubt about that

but you can push ‘em back with that rat-a-tat-tat.

finis. genius!

Patrick said I looked tired. I am tired – but it is a fatigue that need not exist. I had all day yesterday to work on my play review. Had I really set down to it, I could have done it in a couple of hours and been able to go to bed with a clear conscience at a decent hour and then woken up earlier and taken another look at it before turning it in.

Heifer and I have just shared a Lean Cuisine TV dinner – the meat and potatoes went to me, and she licked the gravy off of the plastic tray. We are both happy.

Evan is AWESOME

June 11, 2006 in Uncategorized

from an IM conversation with Evan two minutes ago:

Evan: I saw “Prairie Home Companion” yesterday – it’s good! Meryl is luminous and better than christ!

The man makes me laugh.

Day Four

June 9, 2006 in Uncategorized

On Thursday, Bill was late and though the secretary gave us his message: “work on your final projects!” We shot the breeze while “Notting Hill” played on the DVD player – ignored – instead. Pat said I looked “very tired.” I mumbled in agreement, yet, I remained awake for the entire four hours. I had a large transcription to do, which was weighing on my mind, and which impacted my decision not to have lunch with the group after class at a Korean $10 buffet, though I very much wanted to go. 1) transcription to do for Big Red. 2) wanted to save my money for dinner that night at the office. Thus, no go.

Bill passed out topics for our presentations; I will be teaching the class about shapes. I was initially a little disappointed because I feel as though the lesson will be too easy for them; the shapes in Italian are based on Latin so they are very similar to the names of shapes in English. But, well, it’s the assignment. my mother suggested I incorporate something more challenging, such as conveying to the group that I want them to point out something that is rotondo or quadrato in the room. I think this is a good idea.

Getting pretty comfortable with the people in the class, though. There was another ice breaker around 12:30; we were given a sheet called “poetry bingo” which was filled with squares that each had two lines of simple poetry in them. the task was to finish off the poems with two more lines that rhymed. C.C. went first: “Roses are red, flowers are tall; if you mess with me, you’re gonna fall.” Mindy suggested a poetry battle. Kristina wrote: “Roses are red, flowers are tall; I think you’re cute, give me a call!” We oohed and aahed.

I offered:

roses are red, violets smell great; we watched Notting Hill ’cause Bill was late

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off – and then four more days. Then – a certificate and the applying for jobs begins.

Day Three

June 9, 2006 in Uncategorized

For some reason, it was very hard to get up that day. Ann had given me a light schedule the night before in order to make up for my staying at the office until 4 in the morning Monday night. I was home before 2 and slept well. I lolled in bed until about 8:30 – though I had planned to begin experimenting with being more productive in the morning and actually fixing myself up like people who go to work in the morning do. No such dice – i jumped into jeans and four layers of clothes due to the gross 60 degree rain.

It poured. Bill suggested that we order in since it was so awful outside. After some deliberation – pizza? chinese (eh)? korean (yes, but too expensive, especially in K-Town)? – we agreed. There were more ice breakers, and a discussion of how to teach pronunciation, homophones/homonyms (a rather heated argument ensued about which were which), and how to use videos in our lessons. I found myself nodding a little bit but after a quick walk around the block and a bottle of high energy soy milk, I was fine (and quite pleased with myself).

Day Two

June 9, 2006 in Uncategorized

Somehow, despite having fallen asleep at around 4:45 (or later?) I managed to rise at 8. Perhaps my mood on the second day was bolstered by the punkish pride I felt at being able to function with so little sleep – a throwback to my college days before I took to sleeping as a way of life.

Day two – a world of difference. Perhaps the instructor’s ice breaker theory was aces after all – everyone seemed far more relaxed and began to chatter as buddies in the classroom and outside during coffee/cigarette breaks.

The instructor entered and began to speak to us in Polish. He greeted us one by one, shaking our hands so we understood that he was giving us a greeting. he pointed to himself and said a string of words including “Bill,” so we understood that he was telling us his name. He pointed to us and encouraged us to repeat what he was saying, so we understood that he was teaching us how to say what our names were in Polish. He asked us one by one so that the words became lodged in our brains (at least for that moment). He then went to the board and wrote a series of words on the board, adding the number they corresponded to. He asked us to repeat after him. jeden (1), dwa (2) … piec (5) … (the only ones I can remember how to spell, as Polish is quite tricky for non-speakers to spell). He erased the numbers and asked us to pull numbers out of a plastic bag and say the Polish name for it. then, he drew on the board in different colored markers and taught us the names for colors. niebieski (blue), carny (black), etc, exulting “dobje! (great!)” each time we answered correctly. and now, we – a small group of people who don’t speak Polish – know (as evidenced by the following days where he quizzed our memories and we responded correctly) numbers in Polish through ten and the names of the basic colors. All this, without speaking to us in english. The lesson was clear – if done correctly, it is possible to teach people who don’t understand you. He placed an emphasis on repetition, on getting students involved in different ways – hence his writing things on the board, giving us colors and numbers to pull out of a plastic bag, having us write on the board. He says that lesson material should be enforced at least three times and that, above all, it is important for your students to like you. He encouraged us to think about our final presentations.

There were more ice breakers, namely, to repeat what we had learned the previous day about the people in the class from the first ice breaker. When called upon, i remembered that Jay wanted to go to brazil, thought Tom Waitts was god and that he claimed his “perpetual age” was 27. I remembered that Patrick hadn’t been back to Korea since 1988. Mindy remembered that I hate TV but I work in it.

We were relaxed and calm and bolstered in the fact that the students we teach will be able to learn something from us after all. It was a good day.

mmmn

June 9, 2006 in Uncategorized

1 p.m. After four straight days of successfully getting up – YES! IT’S TRUE! – at 8 or 8:30 a.m. to make it to my Global TESOL class on 32nd street I loll in bed on Friday, when we don’t have class. I could be catching up on sleep. Or I could just be doing as i do – avoiding and lollygagging when I don’t have any set engagements. The sleep is good, but as I discovered with delight, I was able to function quite well on 6 or even 4 hours of sleep. The apartment is dingy – there are clothes and books on my bed, which only goes on because the bed is so large that I can have a pile o’ junk on there and not be bothered by it as I always sleep in my stingy little corner on the left side. There is a bag of clothes near my door that has been there for months – clothes I want to give to the salvation army. I ought to fill the bag further before my move – get rid of as much fetter as possible. No ties! Sell as much as possible. Thankfully, so little in this apartment is mine. I wonder if – and this is a big if – I might be able to stay here at Jean and Frank’s place when I come back to the States for a few weeks or however long between teaching gigs. They said they don’t plan to rent it out after I leave … mebbe?

The other night, at work, a surprise: as I hunched over my computer, editing, there came a tap on my shoulder. It was Pepper – one of our writers.

“Are you taking the International Teachers’ course at Global TESOL?” she asked.

Inside, I panicked. I barely knew Pepper – how had she heard about this? I tried to think of who I had told and then who could have told her. And then – why was I panicking? Of course, I don’t want my higher ups to know I am planning on looking for new work but as far as I know, Pepper is not friendly with any of them. And honestly, why would she tell any of them? I was being silly. Silly!

“Yes.” I said. “Who, uh, told you I was …?”

“I don’t remember,” she said loftily. “But that’s really cool! I’m taking it, too. I started the other day ….”

Pepper is a friendly and intelligent bespectacled young lady, just finishing college. She is the age most people are when they contemplate a move abroad. I am 26 and already cranky, my once-youthful gleam dulled once I realized my degree at NYU and internships at TV Guide and such did not, in fact, entitle me to a fantastic job as a New York City journalist. Rent-paying jobs, including nannying, freelance transcription, waitressing and TV trivia writing have been more like it. So has writing countless articles and reviews for websites and magazines for exposure but no pay. These days I am an editor for a television advertising company’s website as well as a theater critic on the side for a free magazine. I can’t complain, really – the absence of a more glamorous career has less to do with bad luck or timing than it has to do with a crippling lack of confidence. Or maybe I’m just not cut out to be a journalist – cramming my square self into a round hole. Facts, figures, conciseness, deadlines … these all make me pale and each piece I churn out almost always falls short of what I believe to be my potential. But if all I’ve ever wanted to do since I was a child was write and I’m not a filmmaker or a playwright and have zero inspiration in the way of fiction … what else will it be?

“The course,” said Pepper. “is awesome! I’ve been feeling really nervous about what to do after graduation but now, after the first class I feel totally pumped. Like I can do anything!”

Pumped. That sounds … wonderful, even as I wonder if, at 26, I’ll be a dinosaur in the world of teaching English abroad.

That was a few days ago. My own stint in the Global TESOL course is half over; the first is week down with one more to go and, to my delight, much of it has lent itself to narrative. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – each day has seen me arriving at class (somewhat disheveled yet always freshly bathed) at around 9:03, always one of the first ones there. The first day of class saw me running late and I grabbed a cab, spending the money I had planned to use for lunch.

Day One

There was the aforementioned rushing to class. There was the payment for the course – a large chunk of money (smaller after the deposit but large, still, and took my bank balance down lower than it has been for months). There was the timid entering and quiet surveying of the other members in the class. There was just a handful of us, seated by twos at long tables in the classroom. Quiet, polite chatter; pleasant faces aside. I sat next to a tall, pleasant-looking fellow with a fade and surveyed the instructor – tall, laughing, in what one might call a “business casual” ensemble – a button down and tie underneath a sweatshirt paired with jeans. Said instructor told us that he had taught all over Europe – most recently in Poland. I thought of what Pepper at work had said about feeling “totally pumped” after her first class and sat back in my seat, preparing to get “pumped.”

I was not pumped. The first day was filled with ice breakers – which the instructor deemed of the utmost importance – and reading aloud from the 600-page text book we were all given. We discussed making lesson plans, teaching methods, teaching techniques and our final presentation to be given at the end of the course, where we will all be teaching the class for 20 minutes in a foreign language. The idea, said the instructor, is to give us not just a chance to practice making a lesson plan and applying teaching methods and techniques to our lesson, but to give us the experience of teaching people who don’t understand what we’re saying. A great idea, I thought, though I panicked at the idea of speaking in front of a group for 20 minutes and felt badly for the minority of people in the class who didn’t speak another language – according to the instructor, they will have to “make one up.”

Panic – rather than “pumped,” I felt panicked. One of our “ice breaker” exercises was to come up with a lesson plan with our table partner. My partner and I crafted a lesson plan for teaching greetings – formal, informal, and the like, yet my panic grew. The instructor asked me to speak first and it was a complete flashback to my senior year of high school in my American Government course – I turned red, stammered, couldn’t get words out. My partner came to my aid and I was able to calm down enough to interject at points but this left me … again, panicked. How am I supposed to be a teacher when I can’t talk in front of people and can barely string together a coherent thought? I wondered. I lugged my text book home and fretted. lesson plans? organization? how am i supposed to do that? who was I kidding? what was i thinking? i can’t be a teacher!! I angrily messed around on my computer, taking a brief nap before work, and after I woke, groggily began to compile a CD of songs I thought might be helpful in learning English – such as “Oh, Sherrie” by Journey which uses the conditional; should have been gone, must have been dreaming, “Friday, I’m in Love” by The Cure which discusses days of the week – and slowly began to feel a little better … perhaps a little more “pumped.”