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Out Of The Frying Pan...

Looking forward to another stifling evening of ESL teacher training. I swear it was 110 degrees and about to rain from the humidity in our un-airconditioned classroom Tuesday night. I spent the entire time fanning myself and still thought I might pass out from heat exhaustion. It was hard to pay attention; my thoughts kept drifting to the melting iceberg in the plastic, shell-shaped bowl on the refreshment table.

My biggest beef, though, was that the training was poorly organized. A sizeable group of potential tutors showed up--twelve--all of whom knew little about the program in general, myself included. Rather than offering us a brief explanation of how things were structured, we spent 30 minutes drawing "life maps" of the places and experiences that brought us to that point in time. After which, one instructor decided that reviewing said "life maps" would take up too much time and proceeded to launch right into teaching methodologies, so we never even got to introduce ourselves to each other.

For the next 2.5 hours, his spiel was constantly interrupted by (very legitimate) questions from the group regarding general program information--all of which could have been covered (at least superficially) in that first 30 minutes when we were drawing "life maps". It's difficult to debate the finer points of whether picture-use or pantomime would be more effective in a certain situation when the audience isn't yet clear what level of English proficiency the majority of the students will have, or when or how that will be assessed. Oh, yes. You will be administering assessment tests. Here's a breakdown of the scoring. Ack. First things first, please.

And did I mention that he kept mispronouncing his co-facilitator's name? Aargh.

I'm expecting more of the same tonight, though I don't think I can force myself to sit through another 3 hours of it. I'm considering skipping out at break-time to meet a friend; the hot (her opinion) UPS guy from her office and his band are performing downtown and we've been "invited". The concert is outdoors; at least there should be a breeze.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
chi_petrel
Jul. 13th, 2007 01:04 pm (UTC)
This sort of experience saddens me. I know folks running these kinds of programs are pressed for time, etc.; but the kind of thing you describe is what drives lots of people away from volunteering. A little organization, people! (As you know, its lack has been a peeve of Mr. Tldz's and mine with our FPU class.)
yarbiedoll
Jul. 13th, 2007 02:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I've put together a number of workshops in my lifetime, and, sad to say, I probably could have done a better job with this one had they handed me the (totally unfamiliar) materials 15 minutes before it was to begin! There's a certain formula that these things should at least loosely follow... beginning with basic information first. And the disorganization did deter some people; at least one woman didn't come back.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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