Wednesday, 5 December 2012

I'm not very good at this!

A guide to alienating your blog's readership (by Edward) 

1. Promise an update "soon", while teasing about some ridiculous purchase that you've made;
2. Do not update said blog for three weeks.
3. Done.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it's done. As you can see, it's a fine art, particularly when it comes to the "not-updating-your-blog" step, but it's something we're all capable of if we just apply ourselves to it.

Three weeks can be quite a long time on a Year Abroad, and indeed, quite a lot has happened since then. I've finally become a proper member of both the badminton club and the oft-mentioned Régates, procedures which both required me to submit myself to a medical examination. This was a somewhat unnerving procedure, particularly when I was handed a cup and it took me a moment to realise what it was for, but thankfully I passed it. Thankfully there was no-one else there apart from me and the doctor, so nobody caught a glimpse of just how ridiculous I must have looked after doing fifteen squat-thrusts and having my pulse taken with one of those clamp-on-your-arm thingies.

But of course, it was worth it in the end: I'm now able to play badminton and cox rowers without being asked constantly whether I've paid my cotisation. Both of these ends are going swimmingly, by the way (although that may be the wrong adjective to use when rowing's involved): I've been coxing some rowers from the nearby Reims Management School, which has been a very rewarding experience. My badminton skills have also got correspondingly better, meaning that now it's just 14-year-old girls who can beat me, not 10-year-olds any more.

The teaching experience has also been getting steadily better. It's now taking me less time to prepare lessons, and I've also learnt the danger of over-preparation: if you try to cram too much into one 55-minute lesson, then you'll (a) have wasted your own time in planning, and (b) not be able to give the material that you do teach enough depth. It's a hard balancing act to make, under- and over-preparation, but it's one that I'm learning to deal with. For instance, I'd prepared a lesson on female SOE operatives during World War II, only to find that I couldn't print off some of the activity sheets that I'd got lined up. In the end, it turned out that, if I'd tried to do that activity, I'd have ran out of time, so I guess that's one problème informatique for which I can actually be thankful.

There's one other thing that I learnt last week: don't use an electric radiator to dry clothes on. I won't go into detail about what happened, but let's just say this: it involved panicking; unplugging the radiator; using lots and lots of water from the sink; going into the office and saying that "I may have just done the stupidest thing I've ever done in my life"; and subsequently buying lots of air freshener. Yeah.

Finally, time for the stupid purchase! I promised you an update, so here it is: I bought a kazoo! Yeah!

No, really - I did.

He's called Antoine, and he's absolutely brilliant. I mean, really annoying for my neighbours, but brilliant. Adding kazoo solos to War is Over has to be one of the most amusing things I've done in a long time. Now, should I use it in lessons, I wonder?

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