Tuesday May-19

Today was a very busy day! On Monday I had prepared for 3 of my own lessons and I had a total of 4 classes on Tuesday. My first class was 7B2. The classes at Olympia are organized by grade level and skill level. 7B are the kids in 7th grade who have a decent understanding of the English language. For my two 7th grades classes today, I prepared a game of “X’s vs O’s”, a word review, and a game of “Jeopardy” that I created using a website. It’s exam week, so Gina took the kids one-by-one into the hallway and did speaking exams while I played the review games. 7B2 students focused this past quarter on words relating to. The kids have just one more week left, so they got pretty rowdy by the end of class, but they weren’t too hard to manage. The next class was 6A. We did a quick review of directions and places on a map and then we did a word search and played “Slap Board” while Gina continued with the speaking tests.

Gina didn’t have me prep for the next class because she didn’t want to give me too much work to do, so, while Gina finished up the speaking tests, I watched “Boyhood” with 6C. This was a great class. All of the kids are respectful and like me. It is really amazing to see how much respect these kids give new people in the classroom. I guess some of the kids asked Gina if I could teach them next year; I must be doing something right.

For lunch, Chris and Carrie took Ally, Tobey, and myself out to a little sandwich shop on the street behind of the school. We had traditional Vietnamese sandwiches. It was egg, sausage, hot sauce, and vegetables all in a baguette and then heated up on a press. It was so good! The place was also really cool. It was a little area in front of this woman’s house. She was very kind to us and cook11062770_10206118926199481_287407892423328412_ned some amazing food.

After lunch I had a short break before my next block, 7C2. 7C2 is my favorite class. They are all super smart and are extra well behaved. Some of my favorite students are in this class. Again, Gina went to go do speaking tests while I played review games. We played “X’s vs O’s”, a word review, and “Jeopardy”. Jeopardy ended a little earlier than I expected, so I did some American geography and culture with them. I put on the top 40 and projected a blank map of the US on the board and had students identify places they knew. This was a lot of fun. I would love to teach an American culture class to the upperclassmen here someday.

In the afternoon we went to a cafe with a person from Hanoi named Tung who I know. Tung is 28 and lived in Gardner when he was younger. He grew up in Hanoi and one day he was climbing a pole and grabbed onto a electrical chord and lost both of his arms. He came to Gardner to live with a family while he got surgery and therapy done at Boston’s Children Hospital. I don’t really remember Tung, but he was close with my brother and my parents. The only memories I had were of Tung eating, writing, and playing with “Legos” with his feet. He is a very creative guy.

We met him and his nephew at cafe and had some juice. Then, we took a cab through Hanoi to a restaurant near the “Old Quarter” There we met with his wife and 4 year-old son. We told him that we wanted to try some unique foods, so he got us goat, frog, and goat’s blood. I wasn’t brave enough so I didn’t try the blood, but Ally and Tobey did.

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After we finished eating, we took a cab to a cafe near Tung’s house. It was a very cool shop. It is a chain in Hanoi with over 10 locations around the city. I had a coconut coffee smoothie; it was great.

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After the coffee we went across the street to a the only Catholic church in Hanoi. It was great to see it. The architecture was beautiful. I was interested in religion in Vietnam, so I looked it up. This church is the only Catholic church in Hanoi and Catholicism and Christianity are not popular in Vietnam. Most people do not practice organized religions, but practice Vietnamese folk religion. After that, people are mostly Buddhist and some are Catholic, due to imperialism. 10419435_10206110208581546_3569947159848900878_n 10407955_10206110208821552_8265174918226117760_n

It was great to see Tung! After we saw the church, we went to Tung’s house and then took a cab home.

Takeaway

1. Resiliency is the key to success. Tung has had a hard life and has faced some extremely difficult, but he has adapted and has a great life. After his accident he had to learn how to live life entirely differently. Currently, he uses his feet to eat and write and is able to use his phone with what he has. Tung has never given up and this is a huge inspiration for me. Also, his life shows that my little problems aren’t that bad. Tung is living a great life, although having major setbacks due to his resilience. 11220877_10206110204821452_6470575293579262941_n

Monday May-18

Today starts our last week in Vietnam. It is crazy how fast this great experience has already gone by. Today I helped Gina with 4 lessons in the 6th and 7th grades.

We started our day off by going to breakfast at the school again. We had pho again.  I’m really liking it and I haven’t gotten sick of it yet. For today I had to prepare 3 lessons with Gina. Gina gave me the material that they have been working on and gave me so websites for ways of studying and I had to put a review lessons together. Today, I was again on my on because Gina had to give the students their speaking tests. For the first block of the day I had class 7B2. For all of my lessons today I had the same plan; 1. review words, 2. play “Slap Board”, 3. do word search, and 4. play “Around the World”. “Around the World” is a game that I used to play in elementary school. Two kids stand up and are give a word to spell, the first to spell it correct gets to move on to the next person and it goes around the room. But because all of the classes are at different English levels, I had to make different word searches for them. 7B2 went great! The kids really like me and they all did their work, and I think they like it. The same went for block 6B. These kids are younger so we had some easier vocab. We went over some words like reward, career, hire, and postings.

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Gina and I went back to the teacher’s room and found out that Gina had a class during block 3. Because it is exam week, the schedule is all messed up. But, we made up a quick plan and went to class. I hung out with the students and played music while Gina took them and did the speaking tests in the hall. After this block we went to lunch. Everyday at lunch there is either the option for the traditional Vietnamese option, or a Western option. Today’s Western option was shrimp and pasta, so I got that. After lunch I taught another class, 7C2. This was a very fun class. We did the same things;  1. review words, 2. play “Slap Board”, 3. do word search, and 4. play “Around the World”. It’s amazing to see these student’s English skills. They are so good. After class, I went back to the teacher’s room to correct and look at the Word Searches. While I did this we had some great cookies from the market.

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After classes, Ally and I went to the market. I bought lolipops the other day and brought them to one of the classes today, and the kids loved it. I had to buy some more so the kids tomorrow can have some. When we got back to the house I had to plan for tomorrow. I am doing 3 lessons. For 2 of them I will be playing a Jeopardy game that I made up using the words that they have been studying. This is a great way to get the kids ready for their exams and I think they enjoy it.

Tonight we went out with Kenny again. This time we went out to a small cafe near by for a quick dinner and then to the tallest tower in Hanoi, “LandmarkSky72”. This tower was built by Koreans. On the bottom it is a hotel, then office spaces, then apartments, and finally on the top it is a art gallery, cafe, and observation deck. It was super cool to see Hanoi from this view. The art was also super cool. It was all 3D art. All of the pictures looked 3D due to the shadows in the pictures. We spent about an hour here and then went back to the house. Tomorrow I have another 3 lessons! 988544_10206101941894884_6127272775848636340_n 10479534_10206101934534700_5519715817103255841_n 10920945_10206101937534775_7209023268513247386_n 10957133_10206101946254993_1098649041797485633_n 11054513_10206101939494824_5911746736499267797_n 11124505_10206101942854908_4682827911400541761_n 11204972_10206101949855083_2851539718124671322_n11151008_10206101944334945_7733483724807860597_n   11230586_10206101945454973_1341980406713104704_n 11262993_10206101944014937_3590013234076236984_n11265567_10206101933814682_4813950782173245403_n11267199_10206101940774856_7817418844377760259_n

Takeaways

1. Teaching is repetitive. You have to really love what you are teaching to be able to teach it. I somewhat did the same thing over and over today, just with different vocab, but I could see how teaching in a public school, where you have to stick to a curriculum, could get boring and repetitive. I like it how at this school teachers have the ability to design their own curriculum and be flexible.

2. Vietnam is hot!!! Today was one of the hottest days so far in Vietnam. Today it was well in to the 90’s and it’s going to be around 98 tomorrow and Wednesday.