Now that I have retrieved my computer from Diego, you will be sure to find more frequent, longer, and more elegantly worded blogs because I can type them on my computer for free and then upload them at the cyber cafe. Now I won't have to pay 100ariary a minute to feverishly type a hasty blog on the French keyboards. Look out world!
This week has been interesting... I have been administering my oral quizzes in all of my classes. The quiz has four questions: 1) What is your name? 2) What do you like to do? 3) What do you hate to do? 4) I write a number (perhaps 5611) and they have to read it out loud. I told them all of the questions in advance, did demonstration quizzes with some brave students, wrote model correct answers on the board and all that jazz. They should all be able to get #1 (right? please?) and #4 is a matter of really knowing the numbers because you don't know what you're going to get, so it's the only one that genuinely assesses their English skills. #2 & #3 you can simply memorize two sentences, and you're golden; and I said (possibly a hundred times) that 2 & 3 must have a gerund (we've been working on gerunds for 2 weeks). Still I got a lot of “I hate is banana” or “I like is music” (sigh). But thankfully some of them pulled out some gems like: “I hate washing all of my family's dishes everyday.” “I like studying English as a pupil in Miss Dorothy's class.” “I hate smoking cigarettes because they are unhealthy.” “I hate talking in class, but many people like it.” I wished I had created some sort of bonus point system! Of course most students said something along the lines of “I like playing basketball” and “I hate swimming.” Still correct, just not as flashy as the previous examples. I really do have a lot of smart students. I have been grading them too easily for their level, but some of them step up and beyond every time. Some are bored and tired of reviewing things they've known for four years now. But I'm trying to appeal to everyone. Next week, however, is for the advanced students. I'm doing a lesson called “talking like a young American” and I'm going to teach them vocabulary like “dude” “hey guys” “what's going on?” “whatever” “gonna” “y'all” “I don’t care”... most of the students will have no idea what's going on, but this will be a lesson for the kids who have been bored with the American teacher so far.
English club has been fun, as anticipated. They're really all just in it for the music. I do a different song every week, and then some sort of game or activity which confounds them (no matter how smart they are or how much English they know, you can't teach creativity in an hour). I've been thinking about doing a really challenging song, challenging for them and me. For example, how about Kayne West “Jesus Walks”... there's a lot of cultural stuff there that has to be explained and a lot of slang and colloquial vocabulary (and lines like “I need Jesus the way that Kathy Lee needed Regis”), but I think it might be possible. Another challenge would be Erikah Badu “Bag Lady”... I'll try these and update you- I'm also open for other suggestions. (A related aside- When I first began my search for a difficult but possible song, I was listening to my music with this in mind. I decided that the most ridiculously difficult -and completely inappropriate- musician would be Eminem. Ha. The next time you listen to Eminem -for most of you that's probably never- try and think about how you would try to explain any of it to English as foreign language learners in the 3rd world – wow.)
Ok, enough teachery stuff, no one cares about that crap anyway, right. I know what you want to hear about...
So I've got this skin fungus... I had it last time too; it's no crisis situation. It just leaves little white dots on your skin (think negative freckles) that stay even after the fungus is dead. The thing of it is, the white dots are NOT lighter than my natural skin color, so I can only see them where I'm “tan” i.e. my arms and shoulders. So I anti fungal creme the bastards, no problem, and then I have these negative freckles to complement my standard freckles and only when I'm tan which is never in America... but I could have it all over my back and would never know until I tanned my back, which is not likely. It's kinda funny, but also kinda gross. Most of the people here have it, and much worse than me. I think it comes from the water (perhaps it's actually better to not shower daily?).
Also, speaking of showers. I've got these little leeches that occasionally invade the floor of my shower. It's unpleasant. I wear flip flops in the shower regardless (it's not like what you picture when you imagine 'shower'). Sweeping them down the drain doesn't work; they just slither back up. I pour bleach on them (sur'eau suckas!) and that kills them... but new ones take their place after a week or so of imagined victory. I am open to suggestions on dealing with this problem.
To end on a more pleasant note: It's apple season! I'm going to feast on apples everyday until they're gone! The apples grow in the highlands, and I wasn't expecting them to make it up here to the North. I was pleasantly surprised to see them, and even found myself an “apple lady.” I'll be “keeping the doctor away” for a few weeks. Apples!