Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Make It Stop. Please. Seriously.

This morning:

 My non-English speaking co-T said, "Jam Asian. Talk about me." I didn't correct her, just smiled and followed. In my mind I was thinking, 'Do you want me to leave the school? Am I fired? Please be fired.'

WHAT? How can I think that, you ask? Simple.
That lady has such a low English level that all four classes at that school are suffering and really becoming a pain to teach. At the end of the 5th month of the year I just want them to shut the door and nicely or rudely ask me not to return.

Anywho, we went into the teacher's office and sat down. She started off with, "Jam Asian..... you class....  uhhhh one two three four, class English. You game......me...... So you 10 minute...... oh......never mind. Ok. Class 40 minutes, you 10 minutes, me 30 minutes. You ....... ok? Oh....key points! Yes. 10 minutes key points."

Did you get that? Let me break it down.

"Jam Asian..... you class....  uhhhh one two three four, class English."
--Teacher, you only teach 3rd through 4th grade here. You teach on Tuesdays.
"You game......me...... So you 10 minute...... oh......never mind."
--You always plan a game, so I have to re-do the pages you miss in the book. Therefore you should just do a review of the key points in the class for the last 10min. What's 'key points' again? oh fricken.(She didn't cuss.) I don't do English. Never mind.
 "Ok. Class 40 minutes, you 10 minutes, me 30 minutes. You ....... ok? Oh....key points! Yes. 10 minutes key points."
--Ok. The class is only 40minutes and I want you to teach for 10 and I'll do 30. You can just play your games or whatever and do phonics and speaking, ok? Oh, Phonics, speaking and it's called key points! Yes. Go over the key points for the last 10minutes.

To which I replied, "Oh ok. You want to teach for 30min and you want me to do 10 right? Ok. Everyday?"
Blank stare...."what?"
"Every class?" Blank stare. "10 minutes every Tuesday?" 
chuckle, "It's ok." Goes back to the computer.

I was happy inside. Yes, I pretended not to understand her because she only speaks Korean to me. You may think this is rude, but to work here we are not required and NOT encouraged to learn Korean.They expect us to expose as much English as possible. So I just agreed and went on with life...for the next 3min anyway.

Turning point

It was at that point that she told the secretary in the room. "I just don't get English I don't know why I need a foreigner in my class." To which the sec responded with, "Yea, you just gotta tell her. That's your class." Then another teacher walks in with slightly better English skills and is introduced to the situation to which she inputs, "Tell her you're the main teacher! She's not the teacher. I know they are supposed to run the middle school classes, but this is elementary. No, I'll tell her."

At this point my co-teacher jumps up saying, "It's ok, I talked to her." but the other lady persisted and said (in English), "Katie right? (to my co-t even though that's not my name) Katie she is main teacher. You middle school is main teacher. Here is main teacher she. Ok? At (my other elementary) school, who main teacher?"
I told her I am...because I am. My other co-teacher speaks great English and we are able to balance out that she does review and we use the book's videos to preview and then I teach a lesson. We even tag team so that we don't have set times to be the focus of the class.

She says (in Korean) " well we are not those schools." then in English, "She is main teacher."

After again confirming that I would only teach for 10min of classes I was mad. How dare these people say and firmly believe that I'm not a teacher? Their kids are of the lower level out of the two elems and it's greatly due to her that the kids are depreciating. That's right I said depreciating.

The last co-teacher was so amazing that I wanted to only input once in a while, because I needed to learn from her tactics. She moved to another job trying to fulfill her dream of teaching high school students and getting them to learn so much that it moves her to tears. I believe she can do it.

The New Style of Class

I decided to just sit in the back of the room and do some lesson planning from their books. It's possible that I could change schools next year and get a new school that uses that book. Well 3rd grade took it pretty well. They thought it was funny that I was sitting there, but didn't say question her. The class was all in Korean except the repeating of the dialogues. The 4th grade looked back and a few students gasped and made remarks under their breath about it. She told them they could have time with me at the end of class. Some kids said it was boring and she just replied that they needed to stick to the book and play later. 5th grade expressed complete discontent to the point that she got upset and told them that since they only play games with me life was hard for her. (I'm trying to be as close to her words as possible and she did say, 힘드로.) I found it funny that she had the nerve to yell. Then she put a smile back on her face as she had them repeat the dialogue a few times. 6th grade doodled in their books and looked back at me. They tried to talk to me while she looked for the next step of her lesson.

That really moved me. I'm so glad to know that they do like me. Although (6th grade especially) they don't understand everything they like to have my class. I will stay this way until next semester for sure because I really need the extra time for my other two schools. They appreciate my classes, talk with me often and 95% of the time in English. My students are building their amounts of English every week. I feel that the other elem is at 60% and the middle is at 75%. The only problem I have with them is they try to jump the gun and use unknown words :/

Friday, May 18, 2012

It HAS been Forever and I'm Sorry!

Life is so full of everything that I haven't had the time or endurance to write. The semester will be ending July 6th for me so this is the time to pick the ball back up. I have a LOT of stories and pictures to come. Please be patient! :)

 Today was a great day! 

 Middle School 3rd

 It started with my 9th graders' classes being switched up this morning. I had them during second and third period. First up was my dejected, quite, outrageously lower level. Three apples had been losing to mold from late March to last week. Low and behold this morning student X had done 2pgs of homework and showed them to me as well as my co-teacher's stamp of approval even before the bell rang to start class. [Hmmm could it be because of his previous punishments? As I said before, I don't remember him being a "bad" person.] Then he sat at my desk from the beginning of class. I use this as a form of punishment because I stand all of class anyway, and feel that they have less abilities to horse around. He also participated in class despite being a tad lost in the beginning. I'm still curious as to how he transformed into the worst kid over the course of 2wks back in March.

Student Y did the activities with minimal horseplay. He didn't come in and start making faces or moaning around due to nothing. He quietly handed his homework to the co-teach and sat down. He talked a bit in Korean to his neighbor but didn't say much non-class related. [Feels good to at least understand some Korean.] He is the 2nd worst attitude.

Student Z must have been bored but he re-did the whole activity when asked. He still stared at me in the beginning of class. [I tell ya it's annoying trying to find out what he's thinking.] He let other kids answer questions. Yes, LET. He got out of his seat and mingled, as the activity required, when I told him to redo it and proceeded in loud English and said, "SEE! English!" after each step *rolling eyes* I let it go since it's not really wrong. His attitude took the shortest amount of time to crack down on.

Then after a 10min passing period my part B class came in. This is actually my worst behaved class. I always have to punish someone, but not today. I was quite shocked actually. Student X was hyper as usual but I'd used my weekend plans to capture his attention and then quickly moved on to the next activities.[My co-teach hates his attitude because he's hardest to control, but I don't really mind him. Still he is top priority when it comes to "worst kids list".] He only had to be told to calm down once. I am constantly learning how to control him, but I'd say I was successful from the last week of April. Student Y received my attention from the beginning of class and I called on him repeatedly so he didn't cause any distracting trouble. I couldn't figure him out until...end of April too I think. Student Z  has noticed that he's not really liked by his peers. He started off like usual trying to sleep with his head up, but he "woke up" quickly. He answered all my questions with me sitting beside him. Then he did the activity correctly so that I wouldn't sit beside him anymore.

Middle School 2nd

8th grade. These are my angel-like kids. They all come in on-time and they open their books (to whatever page they feel but whatevs). Class flowed with them too this time and they did what I asked. Only punished a few for too much Korean. After that I had games planned that should have been done Monday but.....


Lunch was good. After I got a nasty coffee like always and then decided to sit outside with the kiddies. The weather is nice and I prefer to enjoy it. 2nd grade apparently had rights to the field today and played soccer so I watched...kind of. The girls had decided to stay inside and talked to me a bit from the window. Ironically the 9th grade boys including one student X and one Y came out and sat by me. Not just sat, but also tried some general conversation. I was sending them away at first saying, "Go play! It's lunchtime." but they all declined and kept talking. I was actually happy about this because if you can get to know your students, you can smooth over the whole lowly foreigner, evil English teacher stigma. I'm such a mean person too. So if you're nice and your kids don't talk to you, they probably still have that stigma.

And now, I'm waiting for 4:55pm to come. School will be done. I will probably still be here doing computer work till 6 or 7, but then I will be in full preparation of tomorrow's Seoul Jazz Festival 2012~~~~!