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Teaching.

Last Thursday I wrote that I had been offered a job as a sub that would become a full teaching job as soon as a new teacher was needed. Last Wednesday and Thursday I observed two Level 2 (low intermediate) classes and then subbed for one of them on Friday. That was my first official time teaching in a classroom with full responsibility. The class lasted for three hours but I felt like it went really well.

Monday afternoon, only 3 days after I subbed, my substituting job became a full teaching job (didn’t take long)! The program director called and asked if I would like to begin teaching a Level 3 class (intermediate English) ASAP. He combined my class with another Level 3 class on Tuesday and Wednesday and I observed the teacher. Today was my first day teaching my class and I loved it! I have a small class that is very multi-cultural. (Because of Seattle’s West Coast location, many of the classes are made up almost entirely of students from Korea, China, Taiwan, and Japan). I have nine students; three from Korea, one from Japan, one from Taiwan, two from Colombia, one from Turkey, and one from Slovakia. Six of the students had just moved up to level 3 from level 2 and were students from the classes I observed last week, so I was already a little familiar with their names and faces.

I’m also really enjoying having a job that is located in an exciting part of town and that has coworkers close to my own age. Last night I ran into one of my coworkers while studying at my favorite Tully’s. Today I had lunch with a friend after work and ran into several students while walking down the street. I even ride the same bus as several of the students at the school.

I’m really excited about how well everything seems to be going so far; I definitely have a lot to learn, but I think this is going to be a lot of fun too 🙂 I’ll keep you updated.

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

-M

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Chinese New Year!

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Last night I went to my first ever Chinese New Year party. Hiro, one of the guys in my program at SPU, is from Taiwan and invited several people from school to a party at his friend’s house last night. I learned how to really play Mahjong (not like the computer version at all), ate traditional, homemade Chinese food, finally mastered eating with chop sticks, and learned how to write my name in Chinese. (Well, I can’t actually write it myself, but someone wrote it for me).

Mom and Dad, when you named me I bet you didn’t know how good of a name “Melanie” is in Mandarin. When you write an English name with Chinese characters, you write the characters that make up the syllables of the name. So, to write Melanie, you write the characters that are pronounced “Meh,” “lah,” and “nie.” The picture above shows my name. The top symbol, “Meh” means “beautiful,” “Lah” means “happy,” and “Nie” means “girl.” Put it together and “Meh-lah-nie” means “Beautiful, happy girl.” Pretty nice, if you ask me!

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Employed Again :)

Just before Christmas I took my resume by a school that I knew offered ESL classes and was told that I didn’t have the required experience, but they would keep my resume on file anyway. I was surprised to be invited to an interview several weeks later, but not surprised when I never heard back from them. Then, however, I got an email about a week and a half ago inviting me in for a second interview. I went back last Friday for the interview, and earlier this week they offered me a job as a substitute teacher, which will turn into a regular teaching position as soon as there was an opening. (New students arrive every two weeks, so additional teachers are often needed).

The school is not far from my apartment and is located in one of my favorite areas of Seattle. There isn’t any parking nearby, however, so this week I have been taking the bus to go and observe classes.

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Tomorrow I will be substituting for the first time, teaching a 3-hour low-intermediate level class. The class has 12 students, mostly from Asian countries. There are 8 students from Korea, 1 from Japan, 1 from China, 1 from Taiwan… and 1 from Slovakia! I’m really excited about this job; I think it will give me great experience and also be a lot of fun.

*Picture from Google Images.

Counting Cops.

I think humor is often generational and therefore people of different ages find different things to be funny. For that reason, it makes me a little nervous to post some personal anecdotes on here that I find funny but that I think Mom and Dad might not quite see the humor in! However, that being said, I thought I’d share a short story with you about something that happened to me the other night; hope

Peter, one of my friends from Slovakia, was in Seattle for a business trip for most of January. He flew back to Slovakia this past Thursday, so Wednesday night we went to a concert at Seattle’s historic Moore Theater. The show was good but it ended late. By the time we had speed-walked 20 blocks back to my car (it was freezing cold and windy) and drove to Bothell, the suburb north of the city where Peter was staying, it was getting close to 1 AM. I dropped Peter off and decided to take Lake City Way, a city street that follows along the northwest edge of Lake Washington, back to my apartment instead of Interstates 405 and 520. (The interstates do have less stoplights, but you always feel like you are driving on them forever. At 1 AM I figured Lake City Way would not have heavy traffic and would be quicker than the highways).

Immediately after leaving the hotel I was passed by two police cars. I made a mental note to pay close attention to the speed limit. A few minutes later I was passed by a third police car. I wondered how many police cars I would see during the twenty minute drive and started looking for them in the parking lots I passed. I drove along, paying close attention to the speed limit and searching for police cars. Because I was paying such close attention to to both of these things, you can imagine my surprise when I spotted the fourth car- it’s red and blue lights were lighting up my rearview mirror!

I pulled into a well-lit gas station parking lot that I had used before and pulled out my driver’s license and registration. When I rolled down the window, I saw that the policeman was not much older than me, and very good looking! Turns out he was nice too. Our conversation went something like this:

Cop: “So… are you lost or drunk?”

Me: “Neither!”

Cop (somewhat skeptically): “You haven’t had anything to drink today at all?”

Me: “No sir! You can give me a breathalizer, I promise I haven’t had anything to drink!”

Cop: “That’s okay. I don’t smell anything.”

Me: “Really?” (I was definitely telling the truth, but I’m sure this answer didn’t support my cause).

Cop: “Yeah, it’s okay. So, what are you doing then?”

Me (confused): “I thought I was driving the speed limit?”

Cop: “You were. But you changed lanes four or five times in the last few minutes.”

*Epiphany occurs- while I was searching for police cars, I was apparently not paying much attention to lane lines. However, I didn’t think this was the best time to tell a policeman I was not driving well because I was on the lookout for policemen.

Me: “I’m sorry, I’m really tired and I’m on my way home right now.”

Cop: “Uhm, do you live around here? I mean, you don’t live in North Carolina do you?”

Me: “Actually, I’m really lost. Can you tell me how to get to Georgia? I think I took a wrong turn about five days ago. Am I anywhere near Atlanta?”

Just kidding! Don’t worry, I would never actually say that to a policeman! He did ask if I lived in Seattle or North Carolina, and I explained I was just a tired graduate student who was driving straight home to get some sleep, which I did.

This was only the second time I’ve ever been pulled over, but I’d have to say it’s the first time I’ve ever even heard of someone getting pulled over for “counting cops!”