At our school, the students purchase books to supplement classroom work. The first book, New Headway Elementary, is split into 3 classes – Beginner, Elementary 1 and Elementary 2. I’ve decided I hate teaching Elementary 1 during Ramazan.
Ramazan started two weeks ago now, right when I was nearing the end of an E1 course. One of the last units to cover talks about countable and uncountable nouns. Countable nouns are thing you can — count. You ask for two cups of coffee. Cups are countable, coffee is not. We generally don’t say “two coffees, please.” Anyway, the easiest way the book has found to teach these noun is by food. This unit is chock full of exercises that talk about favorite foods, speaking exercises about food, readings about how people around the world eat food.
The unit tends to make people hungry no matter what time of the day or year I’m teaching it. However, during Ramazan, it seems to be particularly painful. Who wants to talk about food for 4 hours when one is fasting?!
Another note on fasting and Ramazan – students seem keen on getting Andy and I to fast. I think, to these students, Ramazan and fasting is more about the iftar, the breaking of the fast after sundown, than it is about being religious. It certainly is a family event to some. A family across from our apartment always have the iftar on their balcony, and we hear them out there as a family for a couple hours each night. Being invited to fast is not something I had entirely expected. It did lead to conversations and comparisons to Lent in Christianity. And I do like drinking water in this heat.
By the way, water is uncountable.