One of them cancelled her class with me today so that I could prepare for open class.
I’m so lucky!
I am sitting in my apartment practicing my slides for my open class tomorrow.
I am walking around point at imaginary slides and giving responses to students who aren’t in my apartment.
The cat is completely confused, and I think I’m just about ready. We have one practice class tomorrow during 3rd period (my only period off on Thursdays) and then we do the big show during 7th period!!
The majority of yesterday was spent finishing my PowerPoint for my open class next week and making the lesson plan. Today will be the editing. That was the plan until I showered this morning.
My mom always said that she did her best thinking and problem solving while she slept—I’m beginning to understand what she meant. I dreamed all night of my open class lesson and plan. When I showered it clicked that I needed to change it. Now I just have to figure out if I want to change the topic or how the lesson is set up.
It’s currently set on giving advice, a lesson I’m expanding on. A few weeks ago they learned about giving advice but this class they have to say why using because and then tell if it’s helpful or not helpful advice. They are grade 3 students.
The activity is them giving me advice on this “major” problem that I have, presenting their advice, and then we choose which groups’ advice is the best. I realized that there is probably not going to be enough time. There could still be enough time but I won’t have a practice class to figure it out.
So how do I change it? I’m thinking of not having each group present but asking for them to offer to share their advice and then the class will say if it’s helpful or not helpful. The change is that not all 8 groups will come up, read their sentences, and then get feedback. Instead they’ll raise their hands and read their sentences. Hopefully I can get a student from each group to offer.
I’m not entirely sure about this change though. Also, yesterday, my co-teacher said that she wasn’t going to be teaching, that it was just going to be me. This is fine because we always teach this way, but I thought it had to be a co-teaching thing. Should I change the lesson entirely or just not have every group present. I’ve scheduled 20 minutes for teaching/study & 20 minutes for activity. I think the teaching will take longer because we have to re-teach should/shouldn’t because “it looks good that we are teaching the key points.”
I haven’t taught boys since I was an academy teacher for elementary and middle school students two years ago. Anyone who has taught both at an academy and a public school can say that they two are very different.
I’ve been at my all girls middle school for two years. The only time I have worked with male students would be at camps where the classes are coed. I’ve got teaching the girls, they are easy, they (generally) stop talking when I say stop. They say thank you for teaching me, they always say I love you. We understand each other at my school and, most of all, we respect each other. I know they are here to learn and they know I am here to teach. You could say that I’ve been extremely lucky with my placement.
The first week with 37 boys was a struggle. Considering that it was the first class and their levels of respect were high, I knew they’d fall over the coming weeks. The second week I was at a different school. Last night I was back again at the first. 37 boys turned into 40.
My voice is loud, yes. It travels far, yes. But it’s no match for 40 middle school boys.
My lesson was also not a match. It was 100% my fault, because I thought they were going to be just like the girls.
The majority of the lesson was group work where they created a superhero. The capstone of that lesson was introducing their superhero to the class. The girls were awesome. The boys were not. Well, that’s not true. They were awesome, but it felt out of control.
They were loud. They were talking a lot. They were difficult to get quiet. I was naive in my planning. The whole time I was panicking because I felt I was being judged by the students. That they were taking notice to my struggle with quieting them, to my repeating instructions to make sure everyone got it over the noise. I assumed they would be happy to give me a failing report. To tell the international school that I have zero classroom management skills, that I can’t keep 40 boys silent. That part is true, yea. And my classroom management skills have been developed and honed around female students.
When the class ended the boys said, with a bow, “see you next time, teacher”. When I said that this was my last class and I wouldn’t see them again their disappointment was visible. Their shoulders sagged and they said the words I needed most to hear: “but teacher, your class is so fun! we learned about superheroes today. we talked about heroes and superheroes and if they are different. you have to come back.” Also, as if it would make me come back, one of them said “but you’re so pretty, teacher.” I chuckled at this, accepted their bows, and said thank you and that I might see them again.
I left that building with a smile and the nagging realization that I need to learn how to better teach 40 boys no matter what they say.
Now that I’ve got a scrap of free time, I wanted to take some time to thank the #education community.
A few weeks ago I was asked to do a gifted program with absolutely no format or anything. See post here. I asked about a website that would be good for students, one like Facebook but not Facebook where they could work on their debates, share ideas, and be generally awesome—they’re awesome.
The education community suggested Edmodo and I sent it to the other teacher in the program, and we quickly decided this was awesome.
This website has been excellent for our students in the gifted program, but also for my English Club students. I’ve been able to implement Edmodo in my English Club where the students are writing a newspaper. They’ve enjoyed using it to turn in their newspaper, post during the weekends, and chat with the older grades.
So, thank you, #education.
Tonight will be the third class of the gifted program that I have been asked to teach along with two other Native teachers, and I just wanted to share a little about it. I also haven’t written anything of substance in what feels like since the start of the new school year.
A Little About The Program
200 students from middle schools in my district applied with 120 being accepted into the program I’m dubbing the “Gifted Program,” because it has no official name, or at least one that I’ve been told. The subjects being taught are Math and English on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s for 10 weeks this semester and 10 weeks next semester. The students are also spread out across two different schools—60 at one school, 60 at the other. Each class is 70 minutes long. Interestingly, the students are separated by gender. The girls have not been an issue for me as I teach only girls. I really enjoy the fact that it’s separated although, I must admit, that teaching 37 boys at once has been something I’ve had to get used to; the girls I can handle, the boys require an entirely different tactic.
There is absolutely no curriculum or basis for what we should be teaching. During the orientation we were told that there was to be a debate sponsored by the international school, though we were never told when. One native teacher is teaching at one school while I’m splitting the 10 weeks with another native teacher, someone I’ve worked with a bunch. The only guidelines we were given were to teach speaking and writing.
What we’ve done
Because of the amazing community of educators here on Tumblr, we were able to develop a program for our students that they seem to enjoy.(More on this in a later post.)
Our students are in classes with only a few students from their own school which sometimes causes the students to stick with their respective schools’ students. We’ve since given the students “buddies” that they will be sitting with for the duration of the course. The fact that the other teacher and I are on a rotating schedule has allowed us to really take our time with teaching and implementing the tools they have learned. One teacher will introduce a topic the first week and the next teacher will put this topic into use. For example: Last week the other teacher taught about heroes and this week I’ll have the students develop a superhero. The focus of my class will be on a discussion around whether or not a hero has to have a super power. The class will carry on in a format like this. With the use of Edmodo, we’ve started a group for our students where they will be sharing ideas and discussing varying topics. Currently, it’s mid-terms so we’re not asking that much of our students for the website. Our 10-week section will end with a debate that has been woven throughout our course. The students have picked topics (Euthanasia, Animal Testing, & the Death Penalty) that they’ll work on a little bit each week.
This has been an absolutely wonderful class to teach, but it’s not lacking in struggles. Because of the free format and curriculum, we’re having to spend a lot of time each week developing ideas, seeing if the students would respond to them, checking how far the “topics” envelope can be pushed, and seeing who will do what. Early on there were some scheduling things as a Korean teacher cancelled and we had to pick up the pieces, but eventually we’ll be rotating the weeks. Working with these students has been an amazing experience. They are all hard workers. Since the students had to apply to this program, it’s the absolute most dedicated students. They want to be there putting in an extra (almost) 8 hours a week of class time. Their desire to learn has only made me want to work harder for them. Fortunately the teacher I’m working with feels just the same. We want to provide them with as many English tools as possible.
Even though it’s an extra 4 hours of teaching for me each week, I am eager for Thursday’s to come around because I know how much fun I will have with these students. They are respectful, they are kind, and they are there to study—they are determined to absorb all that we have to offer them.
The class is fun but difficult. Because they are little sponges, ask questions, and push the envelope themselves, we must be as prepared as possible—prepared for every question, prepared for them to work and work, prepared for them to be so diligent that we could be left with extra time at the end of the class.
This was definitely TL;DR, and I’m sorry. If you read all of the way to the end, I would hug you if I could—you’re a good person.
- Student: Teacha, I'm a motherfu*ker gentleman.
- Me: Nope, you're a mother father gentleman. Also, bad word.
- Student: But teacha, Psy says "Motherbeepbeep gentleman"
- Me: Well, this is difficult to explain.
- Student: No, teacha, not difficult. He tricks us. It sounds like "motherbeepbeep" but it's Mother Father.
- Student: Teacha, I like your face.
- Me: Thank you...
Was just informed that I have an open class where we can’t choose the date. It’s May 2. That day follows two days of exams and a national holiday.
Oh, and yea, all Incheon Elementary & Middle school Foreign and Korean teachers are invited to attend.