March 12, 2010

Some semblance of routine in my life...it's about time!

I'm learning the art of lesson planning as I figure out my daily routine. Between my early morning and evening classes, a daily swim, and mandatory nap time, I still have a free hour or so to plan out activities for upcoming classes. The level 4 and 6's have course books that I can use to pretty much spoon-feed new material. The preparation includes sifting through the book exercises and adding some games or Cambodi-fying some of the activities to be more interesting. Sometimes the book is a useful resource, but other times, the material in the book is just crap (and yes, I get to decide)! The Advanced Discussion also has a book; however, my preparation is mostly to educate myself on how to run debates, how to teach presentation, how to present the more advanced forms of discussion. It is actually quite intimidating.

During class, I am bursting with energy. I love being in front of the students, talking, using gestures, and writing on the board. It is so energizing to think on my feet. Even the diabolical heat inside the stuffy rooms can't slow me down. I bring a hanky to soak up the sweat and a bottle of water to hydrate. The students are so much fun that I usually forget about the heat. When they have a questions, students will shout “Teacher!”, or the shortened version: “'Cher! 'Cher!” That always makes me smile. Sometimes I wish I could get away with calling them “student!” because their names are nearly impossible. Never one to be outsmarted by another language, I am trying my best to learn and use all 48 of my students' names. Good luck, me.

The initial high of teaching quickly gives way to hunger and exhaustion as soon as I'm back at the house. Especially in the morning, after two classes and my Khmer class, at 9:00 AM, I'm ready to call it a day. Instead, I grab a quick and sugar-laden breakfast from the bowl on the dining table. Fully sugared, I can usually convince myself to go for a swim because I've already paid good money for my membership. After a swim and shower, I have a few minutes to lesson plan, and before I know it, some strange (and increasingly yummy) curry lunch is in the big pot, and I've got a big bowl of rice at the ready.

Post-lunch is a real treat. Finish up the lesson plans, check Facebook, and crawl under my mosquito net for a nap. It's just too hot to do much else. By three o'clock, I'm usually ready to face the world again. Pour cup of instant coffee (and a lot of milk), grab some fresh fruit and a peanut butter toast and I'm almost human again. Another hour or so and it's time to bike over to the school for another, hotter round of teaching.

After the ride home, around 7:30 PM, I'm “pretty knackered” as my British friends say, and the remnants of dinner go down without complaint. A group debriefing about the day's mishaps (and “haps”?), a final check of the lesson plans, perhaps another check of Facebook (or Blogger!), and I'm ready for a second shower and lights-out!

Believe it or not, it's a full-on day to to be a 20-hour per week CWF volunteer. I'm absolutely exhausted every night. It's a good thing that all of my applications to volunteer elsewhere were rejected. This is plenty!