One of the first things I noticed about our new home is the presence of a very vocal rooster. It doesn’t matter whether it is 5 in the morning or 5 in the evening, he is crowing. What he is so excited about, I have no idea. But there he goes, cock-a-doodle-do!!!!

It is hard to tell exactly where the rooster lives. This community is quite a mish-mosh of houses, apartments and vacant lots. Most places do not have a “front yard.” The dwellings sit right on the edge of the sidewalk or, sometimes, the curb. The houses, too, are generally shuttered or gated. Occasionally, there is an brick wall with openings that allow you to see within, but not often. So the whereabouts of our rooster friend remains a mystery. One thing is apparent in the neighborhood, however, even within a small area, there is wealth and there is poverty. I suspect that our rooster has a clutch of hens whose egg-laying he supervises. That is a much more appealing idea than that he is destined to be dinner sometime soon.

School Day 4

Our classes are getting more and more interesting as we start working toward our teaching practices next week. In addition to our classroom work where we learn about how to teach different parts of grammar, we also learn about how to write lesson plans and manage a classroom. Classroom management appears to be a large part of teaching here, especially in an environment where their primary language is not your own. This is probably the most frightening reality for those in the class who don’t speak Spanish. Nevertheless, our instructors insist it is doable.

Partly to learn and partly to gain confidence, we have been observing other teachers at the school work with native speakers. The teachers have different backgrounds — one is British, one is from Spain, and another is from Michigan. Their styles are also completely different. I particularly like the class I observed this morning. The teacher, Sara, was very laid back, and her four students were very sweet and worked very hard. What always surprises me is how much I learn about English in these situations.

Today, for example, the students were learning about comparative adverbs (from “always” to “never”). Sara had a chart that gave percentages to the adverbs, i.e., Always=100%; Never=0%. In this way, the students could choose from words like “seldom” and “sometimes” to “rarely” or “almost always” in a way that makes total sense. As an activity, the students were paired up and given a survey to complete about their partner based on what they thought they knew about them. For example, “He always, sometimes, almost never, never watches football.” After they completed the survey, they had to ask their partner the question “How often do you….” At the end, they tallied up their correct answers to see who knew their partner best. This exercise enabled them to use their writing and reading skills, as well as their verbal skills in a very comfortable and friendly way. And, of course, they learned something about each other!

At the end of the lesson, we played Go Fish. This helped with asking “Do you have any…” paired with knowing their numbers and the names of the face cards. By having everyone participate, we all got to get comfortable with one another in a friendly yet competitive environment.

Classmates

Just as in the EFL classroom, our group of classmates are getting to know one another. After class today, a group of us went out to lunch together. It was a wonderful chance to further explore each other’s interests, thoughts and beliefs. The conversation ranged from relationships to our classes and our expectations. One of the group had spotted this little restaurant not far from our house. It was delicious!

Next door to this restaurant was a sushi place. Don’t think we’ll be eating there, though. Neither Lyn nor I is a big sushi fan!

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