Cheeseburger in paradise

I feel like I talk a lot about work so today I’m going to mix it up a bit…

PSYCH! Ok, I fibbed. I’ll talk about some other stuff that’s not school-related at all. But I’ve got to blab about school a little bit because I planned a pretty epic lesson this week and my students are brilliant so I feel the need to share their awesomeness.

On Wednesday, we spent a lazy morning at home trying to get enough rest to make it through the marathon weekend. I was actually just given another class on Saturday so I work from 7:40am until noon and then I get a break *fingers crossed* until 18:30. I’m surprisingly ok with this arrangement though because it means that I get to run home, relax, eat and then come back for a 3-hour adult class. My favourite! 🙂

We planned a few more lessons so I’m finished planning for the week and now moving on to plan for my little ‘chillins’ this weekend. We took a break at 15:30 to head to the market, which is right around the corner from our flat. We picked up our usual fare: veggies (including our favourite: okra), dragonfruit, mangoes, oranges, apples, bananas (a massive 1 kilo bundle for less than a dollar), and dirt-cheap, beautiful flowers that keep this flat looking and smelling like a home.

Vietnamese "pizza"

Vietnamese “pizza”

We also picked up some candles for our rooms and on the way home stopped at a stand right next door to our gate with what can only be described as Vietnamese pizza. It was a “crust” of puffed rice with dried peppers and tomatoes for the sauce and some cheese on top. It was so delicious! And so dangerous because the stand is open at least fifteen hours a day and it’s so easy to pop over and pick something up for a snack.

Okra, green beans, garlic and a dash of chili salt, all purchased from the market this afternoon. Healthy perfection!

Okra, green beans, garlic and a dash of chili salt, all purchased from the market this afternoon. Healthy perfection!

Work this week has been a dream! The 4-hour nap on Sunday really helped put us ahead and we’re taking good care of ourselves with at least 2 doses of oil of oregano per day to fend off any nasty viruses that seem to get passed around that school like a hot potato.

For those of you who have never had the esteemed pleasure of holding O.o.O. (as we’ve affectionately named it) under your tongue for two-plus minutes, let me tell you it’s worse than any cough medicine you’ve ever taken. I have to give credit to my dear Nonie for reminding me to stock up before leaving. She’s also the sick and twisted torture queen who taught me that it has to be taken sublingually in order to be really effective.

Yeah, it’s so potent that it gets absorbed into one’s blood stream and kills any and every bad bacteria, fungus, and frankly, alien, living in one’s body. I’m whining though… This stuff is magical. Neither of us has been sick for more than a couple of days while we’ve been using this poison… uh, I mean potion. In fact, oil of oregano helps keep you in good health and will do far more than any anti-histamine, cough syrup, or lozenge could ever do. It actually helps your body fight the infection (or fend it off before it even manifests itself in your system) rather than just mask the symptoms.

So for all of you fellow travellers out there, oil of oregano is a must in your arsenal of first aid items while tripping. *Tip: Make sure to keep your tongue up and head tipped slightly forward to avoid having the oil touch your taste buds before absolutely necessary.

Happy as clams pre-O.o.O.

Happy as clams pre-O.o.O.

Post-O.o.O. The eyes say it all.

Post-O.o.O. The eyes say it all.

So back to my original statement: Work has been a dream! We love our weeknight classes! They truly want to be there and it’s less disciplining and more fun. Last night I had one of my elementary classes and we were practicing one of the most important things to learn in a foreign language: how to order food in a restaurant. So naturally, we role-played.

After brainstorming under the headings Starters, Lunch, Main Course, Desserts, and Drinks, I gave them a script of an interaction between a waiter and a customer as a model, which we read through and talked about the vocabulary. Then I gave them a menu for the world famous restaurant “Chez Kathleen” and they were to make the scripts their own by ordering whatever they wanted off the menu.

The opening slide of the Powerpoint presentation of my menu.

The opening slide of the Powerpoint presentation of my menu.

The delicious menu at Chez Kathleen!

The delicious menu at Chez Kathleen!

And boy did they ever take some creative license! They were brilliant! They had their classmates and me in stitches. One of them “forgot” their wallet at home and pretended to skip out on his meal which created an excellent teaching point about what happens back in North America if you do that: dish washing. Another one charged his customer $1000 for a soup, sandwich and glass of apple juice which got us all laughing about how expensive and exclusive “Chez Kathleen” must be. I’m like a proud mama when it comes to my students. When I see them excelling and enjoying using English, I feel like my job is done and that I can sit back and enjoy their humour.

Bagheera got tipped off that she’s going to be evaluated by her class tonight! And I think that might mean I’m also getting evaluated. This is my students’ final three-hours with me so it only makes sense that I would be evaluated tonight. I’m a little bit nervous because I’ve never been evaluated before by students at this school and a huge part of how much teachers get paid and how many classes we’re given depends on us being good for the business side of Vee You Ess, ensuring that students come back. But I’m also confident in the job I’ve been doing and the connection I’ve made with this group.We laugh a lot and they ask me a lot of really good questions about Canada and my personal life. (Every class wants to know how old I am and if I have a boyfriend either here or overseas.) I’m also shameless enough to bring candy as prizes when we play games.

Tonight is a review session for their big final test next week so it’s a perfect night to be evaluated. There will be lots of games, plenty of review so that they feel confident going into this test, and I’m going to take a page out of Bagheera’s book and adapt a good ole drinking game (“Never Have I Ever…”) to be my warm-up activity this evening with apple juice as our “drinks.”

I got so excited planning this lesson yesterday afternoon! Bagheera and I plan our lessons together most of the time. She has her usual post in the living room on the couch with her papers spread all around her in organized chaos and I take over the huge kitchen table with my computer, books and props. We talk about our lessons, ask for and give each other ideas for games and activities, and we play student for the other one whenever we need to test out an exercise. We spend a lot of time planning right now because we’re so new but we take a lot of pride in being prepared for classes and we continue to enjoy the planning process at this point.

So wish us luck!

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