Saturday, October 23, 2010

Malay Kampung Field Trip 10/21/10

 We went on a field trip to a Malay Kampung. I was told that Kampung translates to compound in English. So, it basically is a small village. It would be like Erskine, MN or Moorcroft, WY or Belle Fourche, SD.
 We had to take two buses because our school bus is not big enough. It only holds about 30 people. I rode on our normal school bus with the middle school students. Somehow I ended up in charge of taking attendance and counting to make sure everyone was there and making sure students were behaving. Not that I minded. It might be because I can speak loudly (people here speak quietly all the time), and they all are quiet and listen when I speak.  I was being silly when I was on the bus and we were leaving because I was waving to the students on the other bus with this big grin on my face. I didn't quit waving until they waved back at me. They were laughing by then. We left about 8:30a.m. It took us until about 9:20a.m. to get to the Kampung. I was worried that it was going to be really hot and humid. It turned out to be a cloudy day, so it was kind of humid, but not hot. I had sunscreen on, but I didn't get burned, and I didn't end up wearing the hat I brought because the sun wasn't out. Since it wasn't hot I didn't get overheated which is what I was worried about.

I saw lots of poverty on the way there, and lots of vegetation. It was more like a jungle. We got to the Kampung's community library. We stopped there and then had to take two trips on our regular school bus down to the rice field, because the other bus was too large to go down the road. We weren't sure how long of a walk it would be down to the field so we were ok with riding the bus. We had a guide who grew up at the Kampung and taught at the school for several years. He also taught at ISK (the school I am working at) for a few years. There was also a few local men that went down with us to the field. When we got to the field he explained that they had a hard time getting water this year, so there was lots of weeds, and it would not be a good harvest.  They use machines now and not the traditional ways anymore. The rice would not be ready to harvest until November. I was kind of unimpressed because it didn't look much different from some farming field back in the US. I wish we would have gone in November to see them actually harvest, and maybe a demonstration of how they used to harvest.

We walked down the road a ways while the guide was talking to the local guys. He told us to walk on the dirt road and not the grass, so that we didn't get leeches on us. After some of the students were quite far and had walked around the curve of the road we were called back. I took pictures of the field and some flowers that were new to me. The yearbook adviser discovered that the camera was not charged, so I ended up taking pictures to be used in the yearbook. We had to take two trips back on the bus to get back to the library. The boys wanted to walk because it wasn't that far, but I figured the bus was done to keep the student out of trouble (running amok in the vegetation and walking in the cow pies on the road).
When we got back to the library we loaded both buses and went to the Kampung's Primary (elementary) school. It was actually very large and pretty nice looking. We were allowed to use the restrooms. I kind of had to go, but there was only the squat toilets. I wasn't going to use them, but I wasn't sure how much longer the field trip was going to be since new things seemed to have been added to the agenda, and if we would have another bathroom break. I was brave and decided to give it a try. It actually was easier than I thought. While some of us were using the restrooms the others were playing with this basket. They had a basket on a rope that went from the top most level down to the ground. The students were putting things in the basket and raising and lowering it.

Once all of the students that attended the school were gathered we went down to the ground floor. The building is raised off the ground and cars park under the school on the ground floor (so not underground). We went to a section that had a stage at one end. All of their students were sitting down nice and orderly. Our students were kind of bunched up with some sitting and some standing. Our guide was speaking to the students in Malay. Then he had us come up in front one at a time. Each person was to state their name, the country they were from, and what grade they were in (students) or what subjects they taught (teachers).

As I stated before people talk quietly here. When we have homeroom and announcements are done by the students they talk so softly that people at the back can't here. With the other teachers when students are talking and they try to get their attention it is always a losing battle because they talk so softly.

So, our students were really shy to get up. I was telling them that they all had to do it and then had them start forming a line, so as not to waste time. Only one girl didn't get up. I told her she had to, but the other teachers didn't make her. She is from Korea (hasn't been here long), and speaks very little English and is painfully shy.

I was towards the back snapping pictures after I got the students lined up, and I couldn't hear the students from where I was. They finally got a set up with a microphone for the students to use. That helped quite a bit, but it made the students' voices sound funny. Then it was the teachers' turns. When I got up I told the guy I didn't need a microphone.  I said in a nice, loud voice. Hi  and everyone starting laughing because I was able to be heard all the way at the back without a microphone. After I got done the guide translated into Malay for me. I went and sat down after that back with some of my students at the back. It was hot and humid standing up but felt good sitting down because then I was under fans.
Two girls from their school did a martial arts presentation. At first it looked like they were doing a dance, but without the music. They did some sparring with each other and actually did some punching and kicking. While I was watching the performance there was a male (teacher, I think) that was taking pictures of me.

Then they wanted to take some pictures with all of our students.  Our students got up on the stage and just stood in a large huddle, so I had to go up and tell them short people in the front and tall in the back. I had to do some more shifting because some of the people wanted to hide in the back. A group of their students came up and stood in front of the stage. They had them sit down on the stage and kneel because some of our students are about the same height and couldn't be seen behind their students.  After pictures we got back on our bus. The students came to wave us off. The grown ups were standing next to our school bus taking pictures (the name of the school is on the side of the bus). We went back to the community library.

At the community library we got to go upstairs and look at it. I was actually impressed. The library was small, but there were two newer computers that had Internet access. On the ground level was a nursery (preschool) school.  They gave us hot tea, bananas, Kari puffs, and pizza. It was good. All the students walked across the street to the tiny store they have and bought popsicles. I didn't get one. They are like those Freezie's back in the US that come in the plastic that you suck on it and push it up. 

We got on the bus and drove to Pekan and saw the Prime Minister's palace, and the Palace polo club. We drove around Pekan and took a little tour.  Then we headed back to the school. We were supposed to be back by 12:00p.m., but we didn't get back until slightly after 1:00p.m.

On the way back the bus driver on our bus put in a movie. It had the title screen that said Beautiful Animals are Beautiful People. I thought that is a weird title.  I wasn't sure why he put a movie on since people were either watching the scenery or playing games. Anyway he hit play and the movies starts. I was semi watching it because I heard all of the boys laughing. I look up and this lady is running around her house in her bra getting ready for a meeting because she is late. I am thinking I have seen this movie before, I think it is called Pay it Forward. I don't know if it is really appropriate for the middle school level. We get a little father and then the man and woman are getting ready to have sex. We know she is topless even though we only see her collar bone area and above. She unbuttons his top and he is all scarred on his stomach. One of the other teachers and myself are like we need to stop the movie. The bus driver told us it was and ISK movie. We said we didn't care. We didn't think it was appropriate and needed to be stopped. It has been a few years since I saw the movie and wasn't sure how graphic the sex scene was. ( I told the principal about it the next day. He said he was thinking of showing it to one of his classes but he hadn't previewed it yet. I said he needed to do that. He mentioned that there was a censor committee that it should have gone through. I said maybe it did, but there was no way to know and I didn't want to take a chance that it hadn't made it through customs without going through that committee or that it was pirated and had not been censored. He said he thought that one of the teachers had used it in class and shown it to students a few years ago. I said well maybe but I would rather be safe then sorry. )

We were supposed to have a normal afternoon.  When we got back though we had to do homeroom so we could take attendance, then we had to walk across the road like normal and get lunch. After that there was only like 15 minutes left of that class after lunch. I had signed up to be in the computer lab, and another teacher thought her students were in the lab. I went to check the schedule. I had made the mistake. I signed up for the period in the morning when I have World History on Tuesday. The whole not having classes at the same time every day or every other day still throws me off. I was a little annoyed by my mistake, but there wasn't much I could do. So, I just had my students bring their silent reading books and read because there was no point in really getting started on anything. After that it was my planning period. I had been informed the day before that I could decorate the bulletin boards behind the desk I use in room 5, so I brought things to decorate with. I bought this pretty wrapping paper and ribbon to cover the boards. Then I took the calendars I brought with me and picked out the prettiest photos to show my students what my state is like. I also put up a few pictures of family, friends, and cats. I don't have a whole lot up there now, because I didn't have that many pictures to put up. Everyone thinks it looks really nice though now. I wanted to get it done right away since parent/teacher conferences are Tuesday, and there is no school Monday since it is to celebrate the Sultan's birthday.

After school I took the group of students again to the Autistic center. I was a little annoyed because I had many students say that they wanted to go but most of the backed out and the last minute. When we got there they were preparing for Children's Day the next day. I think it was an open house and party. They were counting on ten people to help them, so they were disappointed that there were only a few of us, so they had to change the plans at the last minute which isn't good for the children. We helped them color some letters that they were going to put up and blow up balloons. After that, we played with a few of the children who were out doing water therapy in the swimming pool. We were on the outside while they were in the pool. There ended up being a water fight/duck war and some of the students got pretty wet. Some of my students also wanted to swing while we were waiting for the bus driver. One of the guys didn't know how to swing, so I got on and showed him how. Then he got back on and really got going and high. When he went to get off the swing seat broke. I am going to have to have a talk with our students about their commitment to going.

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