March 12, 2010

CWF Semester 15 is Underway!

I have a lot to learn about being a teacher. The first week of semester 15 went very well considering the amount of environmental stress that Cambodia puts on poor ol' me. In the wee hours of the morning, I teach an Advanced Discussion class. This course is designed for students who are fluent in English and who have a desire to keep practicing via more formal types of spoken communication (debate, presentation, media review, etc.) These students, although they still have varied levels of English proficiency, are willing to speak up in class and share their thoughts on almost any topic.

In contrast to the confidence of the Advanced Discussion students, many of my early morning level 4's are still shy about making mistakes. I enjoy teaching level 4 very much because they have accumulated a usable vocabulary bank, but they still look to me for a lot of assistance. As a teacher, I like to be needed. My morning level 4's are very reserved compared to the 4's I teach in the evening—what a rowdy bunch! The evening class is mainly high school students, which means a lot of chit-chatting and giggling. It's great energy, but I find myself having to shout to get (and keep) their attention. Our lesson about farm animal noises went over particularly well because this group can appreciate the silliness of oinking, mooing, and meowing our way through an hour.

My level 6 class is held at 5:00pm, a universally bad time to try to be patient, attentive, or energetic. My students have just come from the university, or from a full day's work, and they are exhausted, hot, and ready for dinner. The first two days of class were like a trip to the Cambodian dentist, but yesterday we got on the subject of child abuse and our class had a great and lengthy discussion about parenting technique. Who knew?