Monday, May 21, 2012

Teaching students of Architecture

I was not trained to become an ESP teacher. I did not know anything about Architecture. I did not know how to call parts of the building and I did not remember anything about Physics. Above all, I did know what art and drawings and sketches and CAD are. But I admire beautiful and elegant and great masterpieces of architects and civil engineers and I admire people's creativeness and imagination. For the improvement of English teaching at my university, our faculty's teachers are put into different groups responsible teaching students of different majors. I am in the group teaching Architecture majors. A demanding job.

Most of my students have very low level of English and they are not interested in English. Surely, English is difficult. If you do not work hard you won't master it. It does not matter with their first three credits. They study EGP (English for General Purposes). Easy to teach and teachers are familiar with EGP. But for their last credit, we are asked to teach them ESP (English for Specific Purposes). The teachers in my group have to try our best to fulfill this mission. Many difficulties do we face with. No good textbooks of English for Architecture available in Hanoi. Teachers have no experience in Architecture. What is called English for Architecture we have to use now is really not good. Besides we do not have much time to prepare our own materials... Believe it or not, sometimes I feel sorry for students. As a teacher, I wish one day we can design our own material for our students. I am on track to do that.

I post this photo because my friend wants to see me with my students. Here I am with my first year students and I teach them EGP. But  next year they have to study ESP. Some students are very good and some are very lazy. most of them are from other provinces and cities not Hanoi.

Maison Sen with vices and dean

Hanoi is coming into summer. It is very hot and the temperature is high during the day. That is why a buffet in in air-conditioned and expensive restaurants is really a treat for us. As assigned, I was responsible for booking a table for dinner last Saturday in a very nice restaurant downtown: Maison Sen. Truly, the house is French style. Like other Sen restaurants in its chain, Maison Sen is very clean and beautiful (I always care for beauty and cleanness. I don't mind food they serve much because I eat simple and moreover you get what you pay :-).

I decided to take some photos for memory. In this photo, I am with Mai, my colleague/friend. The photo was taken from her iPhone by a waiter in front of the restaurant. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Poor working condition

Hanoi has been experiencing a long hot period since 30 April. The highest day temperature is about 40 degrees. In such a terrible situation Mai and me had to observe a teacher teaching in a classroom like this: 2 ceiling fans, one window, one door. Honestly, the students and the teacher could maximize their performance. They looked tired and sweated a lot. I feel so lucky when I don't work in the afternoon. So sorry for my colleagues and their students staying at school in the afternoon session. In addition, we have only one 10 minute break during one session according to the new policy at my university. That means in the morning we work from 7.30 to 9.20 and then from 9.30 to 11.20 and in the afternoon from 12.30 to 14.20 and from 14.30 to 16.20. What a timing!