Friday, September 21, 2007

E aí?

So it´s been quite a while since I last wrote a blog. I don´t really know what to say, so I´m gonna wing it. Story of my life. So anyhow, lately, I´ve been keeping really busy with classes, teaching English and hanging out with friends. I´m teaching at three different places: to a school in a poor neighborhood as part of a community service project, to a little 11 year old girl that is my host sister´s relative, and to a priest. The priest just left for Europe for a month, so there goes that money, boo....but i just got asked to substitute teach for this english teacher that´s leaving for three weeks, so i´m excited. the more i teach, the more i really like it. Also, today in one of my classes, i had a group of students ask me for help on their english homework, and then they were talking about having me tutor them. sweet. not only do i like doing it, but i´ll be getting a little moolah to help pay for things here. i don´t know if i mentioned this in a differnet blog, but my two major scholarships got taken away while i was here due to misinformation given by the financial aid department. soooo, i´m a little restricted in doing what i wanted to do. i really wanna buy a ticket to go to São Paulo and to the amazon and to different parts of brazil. man would it be nice to be able to do all that!!! we´ll see what happens.

so school, i like my classes. i´m taking piano, choir, portuguese, language and communication, and cultural and artistic manifestations. the piano and choir are just for fun cause the credits i need for IU aren´t really offered here, so i´m having fun with it. I love my piano teacher, she´s helping me so much and giving me so many amazing copies of music. she´s pushing me to improve and showing me what i´m really capable of. it´s really neat. my choir class is just fun, the teacher always forgets my name so he just calls me princess. it was a little weird at first, but that´s their culture, very sweet and they give these pet names out of kindness not creepiness. my portuguese class is getting better. it started out being a waste of time cause the prof is really timid and constantly acts like she´s on something. everything is delayed. she´ll say a sentence and then just stand there for a few minutes while we are all waiting for her to finish her thought. whatever. anyhow, it´s getting better. we´re actually going over grammar and structure now, which is always good. mainly though, i´ve just been learning the language by trial and error. i talk, and the public corrects and then i learn from my mistake. it´s frustrating at times, but then really cool at others when everyone chips in to help. my language and communication class is more interesting to observe than to actually pay attention to what´s being said. i say this because the information given is pretty elementary (this is one place i see the big education gap) yet the students who are all between 20 and 35 years old react to some of the most basic information as if it were some amazing new discovery and realization hits them like switching on a light bulb. so that´s why i say it´s more interesting to observe and see how they grasp the information moreso than the information being taught by the professor. an example: we had this big text to read and give presentations on for this week and next. the text is about 30 pages or so and we were split up into groups to explain different sections. my group was responsible for the section that explained that communcation depends on more than just what is being said. so, how a person interprets the information, for example, depends on things such as their personal belief system and values, the specific situation in which the information is given, the manner in which it is given, the trustworthiness of the informer, etc etc. well this stuff, i thought, was generally known, but when the students heard this they were pretty amazed. it was almost as if they were saying ´so you´re trying to tell me that one person interprets information different than other people!?´ it really makes me realize how much we take for granted. education isn´t as advanced here, but it´s so neat to see them learn and grasp concepts that make them so excited. and they do get excited. it´s not like in the states when we dread going to school, we aren´t really excited (overall) about learning (obviously there are exceptions and people who love absorbing as much info as possible) and who moan and groan about homework, or who, when asked what they are studying, they nonchalantly make their reply. here, the students (although they leave in the middle of class for a smoke break, to talk on their cell phones *or better just answer and talk in the middle of class* and have complete and random conversations with eachother while the professor is teaching) really get excited about learning. all the people i have talked to and asked what they are studying, not only give me the basic response, but then they go into telling why they love what they are doing, why it makes them so excited, what it is that captured their interest. it´s really encouraging. i don´t want to give off the impression that the people here are dumb with my stories, because they´re not, they just are learning things at a different rate than what we learn in the states. i´ve been learning quite a bit about people here and people in the states even, just by observing and listening.