Tuesday, October 19, 2010

fabulous day :)

Title says it all. My alarm started going off at about 6:30, but I snoozed it like 10 times. I remember dreaming that I was really confused about what it said (my alarm is my iphone, so I have to read the screen, and if I'm still asleep I get really disoriented. It's pretty hilarious considering that this has been my alarm for the last 3 years and it still gets me tripped up). I got a sub call at 7:00 that I had to turn down because I was volunteering this morning, it was somewhat ironic because the school that called was the same school I was going to volunteer at. I ended up getting to the classroom a little late but I got to sit with some kids and worked on spelling and writing, really fun stuff. After leaving at 9:30 I stopped by my doctor's office and picked up my 2nd pap and UA results. This time around my urine showed "trace" amounts of ketones, but it was negative last time. I guess if you put both test results together, I'm either perfectly healthy or slightly flawed. I'm hoping PC sees the former. If they want me to retest I will, but I've already done it twice at this point and it was such a small amount that I'm not doing it again without being told to.

After I left the doctor's I started to drive over to the university where I had an appointment to meet two teachers in the ELI (English Language Institute) who need classroom assistants. I had about 20 minutes to spare once I got there so I drove across the street to a Target Copy, copied the lab results, and went through the medical packet twice more before sealing it up. I should have just stayed at the school because I was late to the meeting with the teachers. I'd forgotten what a nightmare parking near the College of Ed can be. I ended up leaving my car at my bank, which is across the street, and crossed my fingers that I wouldn't be towed.

I met one teacher, Olga, while the other, Tina, was already teaching by the time I got there. Olga described her class and asked what I thought. I was shocked that she wanted my opinion on how to go about things, but I guess I better get used to it :) She has 10 students, 4 of whom are young women from Venezuela and are almost at too high of a level for the class they're in. The other 6 are men from the middle east who are much lower in their English skills. Olga said that the girls are bored in class when they finish before the guys and aren't afraid to show it. They put their heads down, sigh, text, and have even told her how bad of a job she was doing when she had them work with partners and coach each other ("We're not supposed to be the teachers, YOU ARE," one of them said... jeez.) We pulled some materials that are extensions of what they're learning and being tested on so that I could work with the girls while Olga went more slowly with the men. At the start of class I introduced myself and Olga let everyone know that I'm her assistant and from now on there will be two teachers in the room some days (I am only going Tuesdays and Thursdays for sure, and then I'll go MWFs if I'm not subbing.) The students were working on a front/back review of the chapter, and I decided to have them do a Kagan structure :) For those of you who may not know Kagan, it's a cooperative-learning method of teaching and classroom building where students are required to get up and move around and interact with each other. After doing a fill-in-the-blank section, I showed them how to take their books, get up and walk around, comparing answers with one another (one at a time) and then high fiving before going on to another student. They were all pretty into it and laughing, and I think it was really different from how they normally do class. Even the girls were smiling and interacting with the guys and helping them out a little. The best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else, I'll have to sneak it in so they don't realize they're doing it :) I'm hoping to be able to do something like that every class. After the activity the girls and I went to a corner of the (tiny!) room so they could work on the rest of the review at a faster pace. We went over things carefully and talked about the way the words are structured. It blows me away how complicated English can be. I never really understood grammar until I took French and had to learn it in another language, but after that it made a lot more sense (and exposed how nutty it can be). I taught third grade too, which is all about the grammar, but at least those kids know what sounds right. One of the objectives of the ELI class is to use simple present verb tense correctly, but there was progressive present on the review, so we had to stop and go over the difference. It's so weird even giving thought to the difference between the phrases "the phone rings" and "the phone is ringing" let alone trying to explain it. I think this is going to be amazing practice for me.

The other class I'll be working with is a higher level (the lowest is 10, then 20, then 30.. and so on, the one today was level 10, the other is level 30), I'm interested to see what grammar they're learning. Hopefully I understand it! I think the other woman wants me to just sit outside and be there as a resource for those who need help clarifying something or a conversation partner.

After leaving the university I went to the post office where I mailed a package to my family in California and my medical packet to Peace Corps :) I'm SO relieved it's finally on its way, I can't even describe it (though I'm sure all of you understand perfectly!) I overnighted it and should see that it arrived by tomorrow at noon. I wrote a big Thank You and drew a smiley on the inside envelope that will hopefully make the person who opens it want to help me out a little. I should have sent a cupcake or something, too. My nomination is less than four months away, so maybe they'll get to it a little more quickly than they would otherwise? That thing is a damn work of art. Each section is paper clipped together and sticky-noted with what's included. I'm expecting a thank you card for having the most complete and neatly organized packet ever in the history of PC. Ha. A girl can dream... Either way I did the absolute best possible job I could getting it done correctly, and it's now out of my hands. Que sera, sera.

Now I'm off for a nap maybe, then the gym, and finally another episode of my dirty girl dance class :) Happy day.


Emily Grace said...

Yay! Happy for your happy day. :) And that the medical ordeal is hopefully over!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on getting it mailed in! Doesn't it feel good to have such a huge task accomplished?!

RENEE! said...

I just read your timeline and I like was about to stop considering Peace Corps because I had my dog!! but I'm in the same boat and my everyone wants him, haha. Good luck with everything!!