Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Plus for Testing

Yesterday as I was biking out of the parking lot at school my co-teacher informed me that I did not have to come to school today because the older students were taking a national test and the younger students would not be coming to school. I felt a tiny tinge of guilt because the other teachers did have to come, but mostly I felt a surge of exaltation and focused all my energy on mentally keeping my feet on the ground rather than jumping for joy and shouting "hurrah". I also did a mental inventory of my empty backpack, briefly considered coming into work today to write the lesson plans that I was going to prepare during today's first hour prep, but then decided to enjoy today's gift.

I started with a lovely two hour bike ride through the hills and valleys of the surrounding countryside. As pleasant as it was, however, I missed my biking buddies because I still get the evil eye stares when I am alone, whereas I am treated like royalty when I ride with the men.For example I gave a pleasent "merhaba" and wave to one woman as I was huffing and puffing up a steep hill, and she stared straight into my eyes, even craning her neck to keep her eyes locked while I rode by, but she never replied, smiled, or nothing. Oh well...I got my exercise.

Then I wrote a lesson plan for my adult class. One thing I've learned about myself is that I prefer teaching older students and adults, and I am much more likely to write good lesson plans and not procrastinate when I know I'm teaching adults. Today I even tested my theory that I could record a listening sample on the voice memo section of my iphone, email it to myself, and insert it into a Power Point presentation. I was pretty proud of this. But, I won't pat myself on my back until it actually plays on the school computers (a problem I've had all year)...On the flip side... watch me plan for kindergarten...I can come up with all kinds of excuses including housework, before I write plans for that class....

After a nice afternoon nap in my sun-filled living room, I rode my bike to the best coffee shop in town, sipped a filter press Kenya, read a Turkish newspaper that has an English version and enjoyed my current novel...relaxing and guilt-free pleasure.

But the highlight of the day was stopping by the local Bosch dealer, a store owned by the father of one of my biker friends where I enjoyed sipping chai, meeting much of the family, and listening to his brother play his original compositions on the guitar between waiting on customers.

It's days like today when I really enjoy and appreciate the opportunity I've been given to live here in Turkey.

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