07 December 2006

it's already december

a fairly familiar title, but what can you do. thinks are still trucking along here. we're officially under three weeks until we return home for a much needed plug-in to a familiar culture. it's good here, but by that i really just mean it could be worse. and i'm really glad that it's not.

parent teacher conference tonight. kinda like open house, i assume. except there aren't projects on display in each teacher's classroom. students don't troupe through the corridors hand in hand with mother or father. in fact, when i asked if father's would be coming out as well as mothers, the students just laughed at me. a sad laugh, i felt. i'm sure there'll be some daddy's down there tonight, right?

this conference comes just at the right time for me because my supervisor at my school just informed me that a majority of students and parents are unsatisfied with my work. she went on to list a number of reasons why--though each one was a specific problem my supervisor has with me and, most likely, wasn't uttered by a parent. that hunch was later confirmed by a colleague. so, i'm not getting along with my supervisor. my supervisor observed one of my classes and pretty much disliked everything i did, dismissing it as "new wave methodology" that my supervisor had tried in the past and found ineffective. it wasn't a super constructive meeting--but after our mutual bitchfest three days ago, it seemed constructive--but at least my supervisor has some basis for the negative things my supervisor says about my work now. previously, all the negativity was based upon hearsay. so, at he conference, the majority of parents get a chance to tell me just how much they dislike the practices of the american they have never met.

in seriousness though, being a western trained teacher is a tough gig here. everything is seen as a game instead of a legit practice. and i refuse to unlearn everything, sink into grammar-translation and dialogue memorization and call that something which it is not: learning. my students like me and they are learning. its a benefit if a student is learning but doesnt, at first, recognize that fact. especially with my 8th formers, which are the students particularly in question.

it's all very frustrating, but in a very small way. being lied to has kind of reduced my emotional involvement in the argument. i don't need to prove myself as a competent teacher to someone who needs to lie to attack me. that's not worth it.

and, in 2.5 weeks, i'll be home! nothing can get me down with that on the horizon.

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