Thursday, July 2, 2015

Micro Teaching and Caleb’s visit (6/22/15)

Time is starting to feel somewhat normal again. The first weekend here felt like a month. And the first week felt like a month. The second weekend was more like a week, and the second week also felt like a week. This weekend felt like a day, because Caleb was visiting. So, it has been just over two weeks since we have been with our host families, but it has felt closer to several months. It hasn’t been dragging by, but everything was all very new the first week.

Last week was interesting. My Mongolian language is making slow, painful progress as time passes. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

In technical sessions, which is four hours in the afternoon, my site mates and I have been getting deeper into learning about teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL). There are six other trainees at my site, and we were placed into pairs to begin our “micro teaching.” Since I have had no formal teaching experience, I was paired with a site mate with teaching experience. We have been working together to prepare lessons with the topic “Family.” My partner, Marc, has been really great to work with. His past experience has truly proven to be extremely useful as we learn about practice teaching.

I’m not sure why PC calls it micro teaching. It’s just another way to say practice teaching, I suppose. For micro teaching, our Mongolian language teacher and technical coordinators advertise to our community that there will be free English language lessons taught by Americans, for school aged kids from 6-18. They sign up and are split into three groups by age. The young’uns are ages 6-10, intermediate is 11-14, and the older students are 15-18.

On micro teaching days, we have to team teach a 40-minute class to each of the three classes. Our first micro teaching day was last Thursday. We will have three more micro teaching classes over the next two weeks: one on Wednesday and one on Friday this week, and one on maybe Tuesday the next week.

It seems like Marc and I did quite well for our first time teaching like that. We have been told that we work well together and that our lesson on vocabulary was planned, prepared, and presented well. We have several things to improve moving forward, but overall, I think it was a good first experience.

The first of four micro teaching lessons had to be about teaching vocabulary, so we taught the students basic family vocabulary like mom, dad, sister, brother, grandpa, grandma, brother, and sister. We incorporated games, which will we do for all of the lessons to make them interactive and fun. The lesson on Wednesday is going to be a grammar lesson. Marc has been taking the lead until now, but I think I am taking the lead when it comes to teaching the actual grammar. I am more nervous about this lesson than I was for the first, simply because it is difficult to know what the students already know and how quickly they can or can’t pick up on the grammar.

Friday’s lesson will be focused on speaking, and next Tuesday’s lesson will focus on writing. Hopefully, the same students will return so we don’t have to start at nothing.

In other news, I had a bit of a rocky miscommunication with my host family last week. I didn’t realize it, but their expectations of me and what I was doing weren’t exactly matching. They somehow got the idea that I didn’t like them or wasn’t enjoying being around them, which is way not true. With the help of a PC translator, we were able to communicate our thoughts and expectations to each other and get on the same page. Now, I think they are happy and I am happy, so all is well.

Caleb and I had our first paid Peace Corps visit this past weekend. I think he has agreed that my soum is better than his. We hung out with my family and site mates and played shagai, did some minor hiking to watch the sunset, and cooked spaghetti for my family. It was a nice weekend, and it won’t be long before I see Caleb again for mid-center days, in less than 2 weeks.

After Caleb left on Sunday, my family decided they couldn’t take the heat anymore and had to go swimming. I didn’t realize this was happening until everyone was ready to go, so I didn’t have quite the amount of time I needed to adequately prepare. There is a river a ways away from our house. It took us about 20 minutes to walk there. I only got in up to my thighs since the shorts I was wearing weren’t great for water, and the river was moving pretty fast, so I didn’t want to misstep and end up getting myself into a safety and security situation. I didn’t stay in long, and one of my sister’s didn’t get in at all, so I sat with her on the riverbank and skipped some rocks with my Mongolian mom. The rest of my family stayed in the water for a good half hour, including my 6 year old brother who was stark naked while he swam.

And so begins week three. Eight more weeks left of pre-service training. Hopefully, my Mongolian will have improved drastically by then. For everyone in the U.S., I miss you all. And I also miss America’s wonderfully diverse and flavorful food. Send fried chicken!!! (Not really, that would be disastrous, but really, do)


No comments:

Post a Comment