Saturday, January 19, 2008

Two weeks down, two to go

Wow, this last week has flown by!

This week I felt much more confident student teaching than I did last week. I've been getting good evaluations, and I'm really trying to apply the suggestions that the instructors have been giving. For posterity's sake, here's a list of topics that we've been studying for the past two weeks:

Language Skills: Listening
Organization of a Lesson
Present Tense
Communcative Activities
Language Skills: Reading
Eliciting Techniques
Past Tense
Future Tense
Lesson Planning
Language Skills: Speaking
Perfect Tense
Business English 1
Beginner Grammar
Language Structure: Writing
Error Correction
Gerunds & Infinitives
Classroom Management
Video Teaching Techniques
Teaching Children 1.

We have teaching practice on Wednesdays and Fridays. Last Friday I taught an interm-adv. level listening class, last Wednesday an interm. reading class, and today an interm-adv. speaking class. The types and levels of lessons are always varied, and we never know who is going to be in our class, so that's a challenge. Fortunately, at this stage we get our assignments at least two days prior to teaching so we have plenty of time to prepare and ask questions.

Lask weekend I took a break from school and wandered all over San Francisco. On Saturday I walked around the Pacific Heights area and located the Mrs. Doubtfire house. I spent quite awhile strolling around that section of town, marveling at the huge 3 and 4 story mansions.

I then headed to the coast to the ruins of the Sutro Baths. So far, this has been my favorite spot in the city. As I was on the lookout, watching the waves crash against the rocks and spraying salt water high into the air, I was listening to Josh Groban sing Gira Con Me Questa Notte. The combination of the beautiful Italian song and the majesty of that spot brought tears to my eyes. This area was featured in the movie Harold and Maude, which was my geeky reason for visiting it.

My next stop was the Haight. Just as I expected, it was full of smoke shops and hippies. Basically, a larger version of Arcata. I made the obligatory stop at Haight & Ashbury and had an ice cream at the Ben & Jerry's on the corner.

On the suggestion of my classmate Peter I next journeyed to Twin Peaks. There are no buses that go up there, so I had a steep 20 minute hike. But it was very much worth it, as the view was stunning. I could see all of San Francisco and across to the East Bay. You can see the spectacular view in the top photo.

After my hike back down, I found a bus stop, but I was confused about how to get back home without taking the long, roundabout route that got me to Twin Peaks. I asked a woman who was getting into her car but she said she didn't know the bus lines. I guess after seeing me trying to figure out the bus stop map she felt sorry for me, because she drove around and offered me a ride to Castro and Market, where I did know how to get back to my hotel. Very nice woman; she even suggested a Vietnamese place on the Embarcadero called The Slanted Door (which turned out to be out of my price range).

Sunday I met one of my goals while in San Francisco: I rode the underground Muni. I took it to the Financial District and got to see the Transamerica Pyramid up close. I also happened to find the Taiwanese Consulate (where I'll be getting my residency visa) right across the street. Next I walked through Chinatown and watched the old men playing go and the old women playing cards in the park. I also got to practice my very rudimentary Mandarin with a kind Taiwanese woman who runs the Sino-American bookstore. She seemed like the typical 大姐 (dàjiĕ - Chinese auntie) I've read about and seen on Sexy Beijing.

I then headed to Coit Tower, another uphill hike but not quite as bad as Twin Peaks. The view was great there also, at least from the parking area. I didn't bother riding up the tower because the line was way too long. And that winds up my adventures last weekend.

Tomorrow is Saturday and, while I should work on a project I'm supposed to do for class (testing a non-native speaker and submitting an evaluation), I may just explore the city some more. Especially if the weather is nice.

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