Monday, March 7, 2011

Photo Tour of School and Activities

[Pics are up!]

So nothing really exciting has happened since my last post, aside from a couple of awesome weekends up in Khota Baru and out at Sekayu Waterfalls.  But I'll get to that later.  I've been meaning to post a small photo-tour of my school, and this looks like a good time to do it!

My school is set up in a rough L-shape, with the girls' hostel (dorm) on one end and the boys' hostel on the other.  My apartment is right next to the girls' hostel.  In the "junction" of the L is the school complex, which is pretty big.  It's mostly two storeys, with a couple of bits of third floor stuck on artfully here and there.  It's also not at all square, but I lack creativity in computer drawing programs.

The complex is made mostly of pink concrete, with open-air hallways, and arranged symmetrically around a central courtyard.  There is space for around 35 classrooms, as well as the administrative office, the staff room, a few meeting rooms, a library, a music room, a media room, a couple of different workshops, the English Language Society room, a school store, and several bathrooms.  I think there's even a room for students to pray in between classes.

There are small courtyards and gardens with tables and benches for students to meet and study on, and next to the complex, there are game fields, tennis courts, a basketball court, and the Hall and canteen.  The Hall is pretty much just that - a large, large room with a stage and sound system, and plastic chairs stacked up around the edges for students to take out when they need them. (In the picture: the staffroom with all the teachers' desks.)

The canteen is where students and teachers can buy quick meals or snacks between classes; they have their own cafeterias for big meals in the hostels.  My ETA bulletin board is in the Canteen; I've been putting up this "Graffiti Grapevine" question every week, along with some blank paper for people to write on, and some of the responses I get are hilarious.  There's a lot of "I love my boyfriend" and "1 Malaysia!" no matter what the question is.

I've started doing extracurricular activities with the students, along with my classes, and so far I've been involved with speech choir, movie nights, swing dance club, homework helper, and folk singing club.  Most of these have barely gotten off the ground - I've only had one movie night so far, and two meetings of swing club, and nobody has shown up for folk-singing club yet.  My homework helper hour seems to be a pretty well-kept secret, too.  But it's still early, so we'll see where we're at in a month or two!
(In the picture - the students watch Pirates of the Caribbean in the Hall, at the first ever movie night!)

Speech choir has been the real time-eater.  It started off with something of a bang: I was handed the reins and given a brief explanation of what this ensemble is and does, and then just a week later I was neck-deep in auditions.  We've now been meeting and practicing for at least one hour every day, and I've spent a ton of free time writing and polishing the script.  Word is, the competition is set for either the end of this month or sometime in April!  I'll write more about it when it gets closer, and maybe try to post some videos of us practicing.

Anyway, I miss you guys tons, and I'll try to call you all more.  But you should also try to comment more, or at the very least facebook message me if you're shy.  I really do want to hear what you're up to.

A few more pictures:

Here we have students practicing the high jump in preparation for school sports day.  They've set up on the athletic field; you can see the school complex in the background.

Here are two students doing a roleplay activity in a class I'm teaching.  They're reading my modified dialogue based on "Who's On First."

Here the entire student body is massed behind the Hall, getting ready to celebrate the Prophet Mohammad's birthday.  They assemble into phalanxes according to "house", then march around the entire school repeating a hymn and waving banners.  They get points for how loud they sing and how awesome their banners are.

This is my desk in the staffroom.  That yellow box is my suggestion box.

Here is another view of the school courtyard from the second storey.  It's beautiful, isn't it?

Here I'm auditioning students for the speech choir.  They had to read a passage out loud to me, then learn a short song and sing it for me.