Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Funny Classes

This week has been going by well so far, and I think it has something to do with the fact that we have a 5 day weekend coming up for Cuenca's Independence Day. I'm feeling good and excited that some of the other volunteers from the program are going to be coming in to Cuenca and some will be staying at my house, as it doubles as a hostel for Peace Corps or other volunteers. It's unlisted and only known of by word of mouth.

Last week there was a Peace Corps conference here, and next weekend it's our turn. With the good things on the way, the mood in class has been more laid back and relaxed, even though one of the classes has a test this week (this afternoon actually). The book we use is an English (British) book, so many times we come across words that I don't use or don't even understand. It takes more effort for me to explain that technically they can use those words, but I don't and wouldn't want to hear them.

The English books are your standard language books, with their lamer sections. Every now and then I read something so ridiculous and start laughing out loud, leaving the students to wonder what I found so funny. One time I read, "I want to _____(blank) some children when I'm older," and I absolutely lost it. I could never explain to them what was funny about that, and really, there shouldn't be anything too funny about it in the first place.

Or other times when I play the audio tracks from the CD in the book and hear the horribly exaggerated accents and the terribly boring conversations they have. I just can't help from laughing. The students see me laugh, and they laugh.

Watching The Simpsons is a universal pleasure, and even though I've shown it in English, they still laugh on cue with me, anytime Homer screams out in pain or does something stupid. It's just good humor.

This week a student invited me to a costume party for tomorrow night and I think the other students are genuinly excited to see me there. They've asked what costume I have and I had to be honest, that I have nothing special. Just gringo clothes. Back home, it's usually awkward when you see a teacher outside of school. It seems absurd that they should have lives outside of the school, but yes, they have to go food shopping, eat dinner, and occasionally go to a bar.

And today, just after playing a little game to help better understand directions, the students mutinied on me. I wanted them to get back to doing work, but no one wanted to. I literally had to argue while cracking up for 5 minutes to get them to do more work. All of the Ecua-whines came out and the students begged, and I was nearly powerless to get them to move until finally they gave up. Somehow all at once the students just decided they had had enough of doing work.

Tomorrow we're watching some Family Guy and there's a rumor that Friday classes will be canceled, so motivation is at an all time low. I can't blame them, and there's little else to do besides ride it out and hope they pay attention for a few minutes a class. That's as much as I could have done as a student in the same position.

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