The experiences and adventures of an American living and teaching in Istanbul, Turkey
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Badminton and Transformers
It's currently Tuesday afternoon and I just finished my second day of teaching. I spent most mornings teaching then the afternoons alternate between facebook, email, and lesson planning. I actually spend a lot of time just figuring out how to use Microsoft Office in Korean. I spent 40 minutes today trying to insert a textbox on a powerpoint slide. Ridiculous. I am enjoying most of the teaching, but sometimes I get bored watching the same dialogue videos multiple times per day. The national curriculum is kind of silly I think, and I need to start working on my lesson plans to make them not only more fun, but way more useful to the students. For example, I've spent the last two days talking about badminton (as instructed in the teacher's manual). Let's be honest- no one actually plays badminton. I'm also working on "polite excuses" with the students. This includes, but is not limited to, dialogues such as, "Let's play badminton!" "Sorry, I can't. I have a cold." It's really lame, and I'm pretty sure this conversation has never actually taken place in an English speaking country.
Anyway, I had 4th grade all morning yesterday. They were reallly good- enthusiastic and most of them were fairly good at speaking. They are also adorable. When I called on them they were excited to answer or either stared at me with a terrified expression similar to a deer in headlights. After lunch, I had 1 6th grade glass. They were terrors. My co-teacher and I could barely control them. They were loud, rude, threw stuff, and were even hitting each other. My only tactic of control is humiliation since no one wants to be uncool in the 6th grade. Today I had 4 6th grade classes, but they were much better behaved. At least now I don't have to dread the entire 6th grade.
The students are really funny! I like to spot check pronounciation so I call on various students. Most of them respond correctly, but some just stare at me. The other students will say something like, "Teacher! He don't speak English!! Teacher! He don't speak English." I'm like yes, but this is English Classsss. Yesterday, the homeroom teachers had English nametags on the students just for me. Most Korean students who have any sort of private English tutoring or background have English names. Apparently, they pick them out of some book - I'm not sure of the details. Anyway, in the 4th grade, it was all I could do not to crack up- I had a ridiculous array of names - some were Candy, an Alvin, a Louis, and a Jerry. My favorite, however, was Transformer. I couldn't even call on him because I didn't think I could call on poor little Transformer with a straight face. It was hard enough seriously calling a 9 year old Korean child Jerry.
I'm sure I'll get better with the names and my teaching strategies. For now, I am so happy I have Korean co-teachers who are there to work with me. Hopefully, I can get some English into these kids before the end of the year!