Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On Teaching

Yeah, sorry, no pictures of the kids yet.

Basically, I remind myself that I need pictures of the classes, then when I actually get to the classrooms, I instantly switch to teacher-mode and the last thing on my mind is: "Oh, I need a picture!" Conversely, when I am out wandering the city, my mindset is always "Oh! I need a picture!"

I'll just keep trying to remember to do this and I can assure you that you'll be the first to know when I have accomplished this goal...

Anyway, I can at least give you an idea about what teaching has been like:

I'm sure you've heard the idea that the children here are supposed to be respectful, quiet, hard workers, etc, especially when compared to all the kids back home.

Not exactly. They're just like all the kids you know now and have known in the past, and the only difference is that they don't have a solid grasp of English, which is fantastic when you're trying to explain things or enforce discipline.

But seriously, they're the same. You have the class clowns, the quiet ones, the loud ones, the smart ones, the not-so-smart ones, etc. You have the good classes, the bad classes, and the classes stuck somewhere in the middle. You get kids bringing in the latest and greatest toys that distract half the class and you end up having to confiscate them until after class (wow, it's weird being on this side of the fence after all those years of school!). Most classes are pretty straightforward to teach: some express their energy positively and make teaching a breeze, and some express their energy negatively, forcing me to use up half the class trying to get them in line.

Also, it's impossible to gauge the true level of English of each class, as some days they surprise me with what they know and don't know. Additionally, I teach grades 4, 5, and 6, with various sub-classes of each grade, at two different schools. As a result, English proficiency is all over the place, and I have 5th graders better than some 6th graders, 4th graders better than 5th graders, and so on; in short, everybody is all over the place.

I was trained to divide the class up in to 2 teams, the left side and the right side, let them choose their team names, and have them compete for points. This actually works for a vast majority of classes, as they have a competitive nature. Some of the other classes couldn't care less, however.

I'll try and think of more comments on this matter, especially considering it's my job while I am here. I didn't plan out this post, so I am sure I am missing details and am leaving you with unanswered questions. Therefore, feel free to e-mail me with any questions you may have, and I'll either post my answers here or just reply directly to you!


P.S. When I was sitting in the office of one of the schools today during the last 45 minutes of lunch (we have 2 hour lunches), I could hear the haunting jingle of the *Happy Birthday Street Cleaning Monster* roaming the streets somewhere not too far away. I imagined the terrified citizens scrambling out of the way and chuckled. I'll be sure to get video before I leave...I'm not sure if I'm going to find anything more memorable than that thing while I am here.

1 comment:

  1. You know, after all these other posts I've almost forgotten that you went there to teach.