LIFE: THIRD MONTH

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Results of an all day soccer tournament in a monsoon

I’m finally settling in after two month in Johor.  The months have been filled with a lot of ups and downs.  There were some miscommunication problems with fellow teachers at my school in February, which resulted in a really rough month for me.  I underappreciated the culture divide and rode into school on my over-enthusiastic horse, when I should have taken a step back to fully understand my environment.  Thankfully, everything was resolved and are generally moving foreword.

My weeks are pretty packed; I am teaching 19 periods a week, coaching the football team twice a week, assistant directing choral speaking twice a week, meeting with the English Language Society once a week, and starting an English language blog for the society.  On top of this, I am trying to set up a weekly schedule for my ETA corner to make myself available during lunch.  I do not think I’m able to accomplish anything at 100% because I’m being spread so thin, thus I am in discussion with my department head to try and figure out a more manageable schedule.

On a positive note, my classes are going well.  My students are more receptive and engaging me in class.  The longer I get used to their skill levels the more successful my activities are.  I think I pushed my lower level classes a little too far in the beginning of February, shutting them off.  I geared down some activities resulting in more participation.  A challenge, however, remains to be risk-taking abilities; very few students are willing to try, unless they are 100% sure they know what they are doing.

We finally have a car and motorbike, allowing Wes and I to do some exploring.  We’ve been making some jaunts downtown and even into Singapore some weekends.  Getting across the border is a bit of a nuisance but door-downtown Singapore is only an hour and fifteen minutes.  The apartment is holding up, all right.  Periodic blackouts were rough in February, but we’re pretty immune at this point.  The weather is hitting peak highs at around 98 F and extremely humid, but thankfully I just installed an air-conditioning unit in my room, which will undoubtedly save my life.  The kitchen has been great.  My diet consisted pretty heavily of carbohydrates (every meal in Malaysia is primarily rice or noodles, with a two leaves of vegetables and four slices of meat), but since we set up our kitchen I’ve been cooking a lot.

I’m excited for the coming months; I’m planning on carrying out a few in-depth lessons (a family tree and environmental robot project) for a few of my stronger classes, a nice change of pace from arbitrary English games.  I’m planning out an English camp in May revolving around how the students can better their country; painting mountable tiles, skits about community service, and more.  The rest of April is looking quite busy.

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