Hello hello! I am currently sitting in the teacher's lounge in our language center far far away from district 1 (okay it's about 30min but that's far here!)
Our language school is located in district 12 and every Saturday and Sunday Brian and I load up our books and hop on our newly rented motorbike (it's a moped haha it's a yamaha Nuovo) and Brian drives us over several bridges and through many terrifying to behold intersections and round-abouts to school for the day. I finally understand why people say you don't really get a feel for HCMC until you've gone around town on a motorbike. The city really does make more sense after riding through traffic on one and although it is fearsome to see: once you're in it traffic is easy to understand.
So about teaching, so far it's been great! It's very new and kind of hard but it's rewarding in little ways. Vietnamese kids at our school come from rich families who can afford to send their kids to language school outside of regular school on the weekends, Sometimes I think that's why our bad kids are so bad, they're spoiled! The kids on the whole are good listeners, they're very high energy and we have to play lots of games with them to keep them engaged sometimes. The children are so cute when they're working quietly or are really excited to answer your questions correctly. I have one class of second graders who love me and it feels nice to be greeted with "HELLO MS. HOPE!" "HELLO TEACHER!" even if it is at volume designed to cause migraines.
They're also very naughty! For example: Much to all the foreign teachers' dismay the little ones have a habit of constantly messing with the elevators, I've been late to class several times because of these kids!
Sundays and Saturdays are for kids from pre-k to elementary while Weekdays are when Brian and I teach our middleschoolers, highschoolers, and adults. The classes are extremely long. Children's classes are 2 hours with a 10 min break and teen/adult classes are 3 hours with a 15 min break. It always feels like i'll never have enough material but the classes are over before I even realize it! The key is to go slowly and have lots of games to fall back on. We trade off the classes we teach with Vietnamese teachers so I may have a teen class on Tuesday and on Thursday they'll be with their Vietnamese teacher and so on.
Children's classes also have Vietnamese TAs to keep the kids in line! (and also help with translation). Most of the kids are very basic and need some help with instructions especially my pre kindergarteners. Brian and I have both noticed that we sometimes get kids who are miles ahead of their classmates and we wonder why they're stuck in our low level classes. My TAs are all awesome and some of them want to ask me a ton of things about myself and my life in america and how I like hcmc etc. They think it's very romantic that Brian and I came here together haha.
Overall, the two weeks we've been teaching have been a very great experience and I already feel more comfortable in front of a class.
Most of our time has been spent working unfortunately. Next weekend is my birthday and I'll be working but Brian and I are trying to plan something fun soon. We spend a lot of time relaxing in our apartment or wandering around the neighborhood. Now that we have a motorbike I'm going to start getting Brian to stop being such a homebody and take me around to some cool sites.
We met up with the daughter of a friend of my grandmother's earlier this week and had lunch. Her name is Natalie and she was a breath of fresh air here meeting another nice expat was great. She lives much closer to the tourist center (Ben Thanh) than us so it's a bit of a drive to meet up with her. She just started teaching for the same company as us but at a different center so when our schedules line up we're going to try to spend more time getting to know her.
Hopefully we'll get a chance to do more touristy things soon and get used to the routine so we aren't so tired after teaching all weekend!
I'll make another post soon so you guys won't be waiting on me for very long!