Wednesday, May 12, 2010

up, down, center

My new schedule adds 8 AM Mondays to 8 AM Wednesdays, so I don't really have time to do zazen in the morning and still have enough sleep to maintain my sanity. This is unfortunate, since I have curso G on those days, and I could use the extra centering practice before I meet with them.

I lost Monday to Students' Day. Yesterday was just B and C; B is okay, and C is like a teacher's dream, focused and interested and calm and mature.

This morning, it was cold and dark and early, and I wanted to be anywhere with Anna rather than going into school. But I had the other half of C, and I stepped up, knowing they would. Then a free period, and then curso G.

Curso G is...challenging. It's not just me. All the teachers acknowledge it whenever they come up. I don't get it: these are all high school freshmen, and since they haven't gotten any grades or chosen a specialty, they're assigned into cursos randomly. Somehow, the chemistry can turn out really well, or not.

After G, I was right back into wanting to be anywhere else. But...hey, that's kinda weird. Why would I feel differently? It's not like I had a brain injury from one class to the other; the mood change was my response to the experience. It's all in my mind, a reaction to the world not being the way I want it. So what do I think should be different, that prevents me from allowing the current situation to unfold however it will?

I didn't get a clear answer, but it's a helpful way to look at the situation. And my afternoon class was C, which left me feeling better.

And then I had English Club! Which is apparently English Club, and not (yet) "Let's prepare for the English 'debates' the Ministry sponsors". I had no idea what to do with them, and they have no idea what they want: they just want to learn more English than they can learn in their regular classes. So there were 8 of us, with no sense of direction, but it was entirely up to me to provide some. Plus, I have no idea how to teach English to motivated, focused students: they can handle all kinds of grammar and structure stuff that I don't know anything about. There are 3 kids who can do free-form conversations, and then the others seem to have understanding above the "Low Basic" level that's about the average. We went a few rounds of me asking them questions like "Where are you from?" and "What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?" which went pretty well, and on request, I explained the future tense, which turns out to be the easiest thing in English. (Take the "basic form" of the verb, which we don't bother learning as native speakers, and put "will" in front. That's it.)

I was glad for the day to be over, but at least my mind was interesting to watch.

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