who ... moi?

a social butterfly: scared of much, but not of many. never lets the truth get in the way of a good story. not a fan of acronyms, snakes and angelina jolie. a HUGE fan of Fathead.

this blog is black for ENERGY-SAVING reasons.

thanks for your understanding.
if it's too dark, put your glasses on old one.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

big iain, yellow cat

one of the drawcards of snet (the school where Fathead and i have been working since january) was, and still is, the refreshing curriculum.

as we are an english camp, rather than a school, the students are only with us for a week at a time - so the intention is not so much to teach them english, but rather to immerse them in a western world, expose them to different cultures and ways of thinking and provide them with practical english-speaking skills.

the kinds of lessons we teach range from the obscure to the practical: sign language, yoga, cooking and team-building ... broadcasting studio, bank and post office, weather forecasting, travel agency and homestay.

each week, we take on two lessons (split between morning and afternoon classes), with a homeroom class for whom we are responsible and required to fill a more parental/guardian role.

*touch wood*   i've been blessed with a long, un-interrupted run of absolutely fabulous groups for homeroom.  these sessions are probably the highlight of my working day.  a 50 min period where you get to engage, interact, share, discuss, debate, teach and learn.  the kids range in their levels of english abilities, but somehow, with every new school we host, i manage to find several amazing young minds which blow mine.

in these homeroom sessions, we usually task the students with a written journal assignment.  if your group is high enough in their english level, you can set them topics like "if i could change one thing in the world, it would be ..."  or  "which came first, the chicken or the egg?".

last week, the latter topic resulted in one student explaining (in great detail) the controversial debate between the "creative" and "envelope" theories.

the journals are often insightful masterpieces of pre-pubescent thinking.  they are mature, naive, troubled and hopeful.  very often, because of their limited ability to express themselves fully in a foreign language, i forget that they are actually young adults - with fully-developed opinions and ideas.  hormones are racing through their blood streams just as they do in every other child of their age, the world over.

sometimes the journal entries evoke maternal instincts of protection and a need to keep the young, young.  other times, they humble me with their candidness.  they are always honest, and almost always, incredible.

click images to enlarge


for many of the students, we are the first western foreigners they will interact with - so we tend to become fascinating creatures in their eyes:

we're impossibly tall, have funny coloured hair and eyes, speak in strange tongues and come from mystical lands far, far away.

"I thought that South Africa's people were all black.  However it was no!"

to distinguish between Fathead and another teacher who shares his name, the students have labelled him "big iain"  (in reference to his height).  for no practical reason, they have taken to calling me "yellow cat" and because of my name, i am often depicted as a feline heroine.  

last week my homeroom drew me as a yellow supercat, wielding a board marker in the one hand, and (for some reason known only to the artists) wearing nothing but a brick of ramen (two minute noodles) as a fanny-pack.  

don't ask.


  1. Don't hide the truth from the public - it's 'cos of your 'yellow' hair - delightful little kids, hey?!

  2. You must have the high levels. I always had low levels cuz I was almost always tue-sat. I loved having the groups you could really have a conversation with when the rare occasion came around.
    Yellow cat is better than banana teacher :)