Sunday, August 29, 2004


Busy Days

I've had a busy few days of it. There was a big teacher's conference on Thursday and Friday, which kicked off with some dangerously delicious cocktails on Wednesday evening - a jolly good gossipy time was had by all. I personally only opened my mouth to change feet, but that is only to be expected after a few buckets of Algarrobina (v. yummy drink made with Carob syrup). I turned up the standard (obligatory?) one hour late on Thursday morning with a seriously fuzzy head, only to find the hour and a half opening speech was to be given entirely in Spanish by a fat American woman who appeared to have done no preparation whatsoever for the event. We also received a skeleton itinerary of the conference. Nevertheless, in typical Peruvian organisational standards mode, no-one seemed to have much idea as to what was happening at any given time, until it actually happened. Frankly, the whole conference passed in bit of a blur, except for the more enjoyable breaks/skiving/lunches. The food was excellent, particularly the lunch buffet (rice with duck, tender goat, shrimp, black clams, five kinds of dessert) at the Gran Hotel. However, one would have thought the conference content, not the food, to be of major importance. Not so. I was shocked and disappointed at the quality of some of the presentations, considering these people had been flown in specially. Presenters - please note: colourful projected Powerpoint text chunks and moving clip art do NOT equal a dynamic presentation. You fail - try harder! Equally baffling to my brain is: why is that people feel the need to lecture audiences in an unbelievably boring display of self-indulgent, teacher-centred teaching - the very thing we are trying to avoid. It's always the same... in the past I have attended other sessions about, say, making your classes more student-centred, for example, where the presenter (teacher) drones on at the audience (students) about the topic methodolgy without any attempt to give real, usable demonstrations. Anyway, we got through it. The closing dinner on Friday evening was held at the Jockey Club. We were quite excited, and donned evening wear suitable for the presumably swanky event, at which the American Ambassador to Peru was present. Unfortunately, they failed to tell us it would be held OUTSIDE! It was frickin' freezing - the plated chicken meals were clap cold before they even reached the tables. We shivered through the Ambassador's speech, gulped down some medicinal whiskey, and watched some dance displays before hastily heading out to find a warmer venue. It was a shame, we'd have liked to have stayed. Hoodies and trainers were added to outfits, and then we went out to a couple bars. It was fun. Then, last night (Saturday) we went to a bar/disco 'Samba' for Heidi's good-bye party and Monica's welcome party. I'm knackered today. I'd better pull myself together, I've just been informed of another conference I have to attend on Monday morning!

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