Three weeks of teaching can go by so fast, especially when it begins 12 hours after returning from a 37 day work trip. Luckily I had a few lesson plans from last year to hold me over a bit but the turn around was dizzying.
Class day one I was exhausted... barely on my feet. With an unshaved face, hair that hadn't seen a barber since before boarding Iceland Air at SeaTac and a hat that would try to keep it hidden from a group of students I had never met, I began my presentation.
Name tags were drawn by my students themselves as I explained the expectations. Be on time (I'm not a morning person either but somehow I get outta bed!). Participate and use English as much as possible. Feel free to ask as many questions as you have. Don't feel bad when you make a mistakes. That's part of the process of learning.
After expectations I took my spot in the HotSeat. Placed in the middle of the students the HotSeat is where guests to my class field questions about themselves from the students. I prefer this to a guest introducing themselves because instead of just listening students have to practice asking questions and thinking of follow-up questions that are relevant to the answers they heard. Last year some of the questions bordered on the inappropriate side but not this year. I told them some things about me and we moved on to what students fear in class but happens in mine on day one... presenting in front of class.
I don't throw them into the fire because I'm sadistic and want to see them fail or get a kick out of their frustrations. I do this to normalize the activity. I expect them to be in front of the class every day practicing their English skills and getting comfortable in groups. Keep in mind we had 9 more class days after the first. Time melts away if you don't use it.
By the end of class (two hours) everyone was tired and ready to leave. The homework assignment was easy. Let me know what you would like to learn in class... that is it. Fast forward three class days and we had our first guest, Jing. A long time friend and Super Star when it comes to working with international students Jing jumped right in fielding questions and helping with games. She would end up attending multiple days of my class and as always was an excellent asset to have around. It doesn't hurt that the students always love her oftentimes more than the instructor! :)
We ended up with three more guests stopping by. A current student with a mild comic addiction (Jess), a Las Vegas native who has been killing it in the ResLife department as a summer intern (April) and another good friend of mine with a passion for international students (Ling). My students had a blast with each and I could see a marked difference in their ability to ask questions on the fly.
All of these images are from the end of program BBQ. Some days you go out with your camera with the intent of "covering" the event. You take certain photos in an attempt to tell the entire story of the day. That was not my goal on this day. My goal was simply to say goodbye to my students and even though I already had at the end of our class 30min prior they asked me to attend and I didn't have the heart to say no. These summer programs are quick and for some can go by without much interest or emotion. I however get connected and really begin to appreciate the souls in the seats as the final day of class approaches. So my goal was to get some portraits to remember them by. I didn't get everyone but I peppered in some Americans I know (and one amazing Taiwanese gal!) just for fun.
Eventually the BBQ turned into a dance party. At first it was just students who were dragged by their friends to sing karaoke but once that became boring they started grabbing staff and even public safety officers who were walking by. It was difficult for anyone to say no so they didn't and the party raged on. Is that a Korean student standing on the table? Yes indeed it is.
I ended up leaving just in time. Someone had taken on the DJ role and started playing some rap song... as I walked away I could hear multiple "F" bombs, a couple of very descriptive sex acts and a few n-words that filled the catholic campus air. Not sure that was the plan but I was an instructor this year so my responsibilities began and concluded at the threshold of the classroom door. Lets just hope the Abbot wasn't walking by. :)