Classes are going well; students are finally accustomed to my teaching methods and completely comfortable asking me questions, helping me conduct a few projects unimaginable in February. In November I assigned a Gender Equality Debate in my highest performing form 4 class. Divided into 3 teams the students researched and wrote concise statements and had to refute/defend positions during a public forum. The topic and work were outstandingly new to them but they rose to the challenge. Wes and I finished the second English camp of the year. The overnight ‘Around the World’ camp was stressful planning, but turned out successful. Students ‘traveled’ and learned about different countries, constructing origami in Japan, singing the Canadian national anthem and completing UK monument puzzles. Out of class experiences at school have not been as great. My mentor, principle and English department obtained a confidential letter I wrote to MACEE explaining my frustration with unsavory practices; teacher’s not showing up to class, show-pony interpretation of the ETA program and twisted relationship with my mentor. At the end of the day there are simply too many internal problems (professional and otherwise) that justify them being taken out of the program entirely. An ETA could be better utilized at a more professional school. Their unprofessionalism was taken to a new level when the reaction to the letter was a 4-hour meeting questioning every word in my flowery two-paragraph statement. Recording devices were used, tears were shed and I ended up in a daze of disbelief. Instead of any sort of resolution, the rest of October was simply frosty. It became obvious the meeting was simply an excuse for the PPD officer (my ministry contact in Johor Bahru) to express her dissatisfaction with the Americans. It was difficult maintaining composure through all this, but focusing and advising six students on studying abroad helped distract from the Real Housewives kind of drama going on.
Traveling helped too.
- Indonesia: Wes and I took a couples trip to Indonesia.
- Singapore: Finally took the GREs and celebrated with a steak.
- KL/Penang: Continued the post-GRE celebration with a friends Birthday in KL and a food tour of Georgetown, Penang