I am so sorry I have been absent for such a long time. In all honesty, I have been a combination of busy, homesick, and actual sick, so I haven’t really felt like writing. In fact, I have about 3 unpublished drafts waiting for me to finish but who knows if/when I will finish them. To catch everyone up, I thought I would write a series of short posts and TRY to publish one everyday. We’ll see if I can maintain that!
First off, Beginning My New Job. I have now been working at my job for about a month. The beginning was a little difficult because I had an entire week of shadowing the current teacher. This would have been fine except for I had already been doing pretty much the same thing at the other campus. So it got old pretty quickly. It is a weird situation to be in, having a classroom but not wanting to step on anyone’s toes. Watching a teacher, who is very much ready to return home, in his last week with his students. Not that he was in any way a bad teacher, just that you could tell he was over worked and ready for some time off. I talked to him a lot about going home and what he was excited about etc. Speaking to and saying goodbye to him actually launched a week or so of intense homesickness. I was just re-signing a new contract for the year and all this talk of home seemed to make the thought of another entire year seemed unbearable. In fact, at the time I was feeling homesick, I started writing a lengthy blogpost about the whole situation. In the last two weeks, however, this feeling has already faded and life feels ok again.
My schedule is pretty nice. I start work at 11am everyday and work until 7:20 (except Tuesdays, when I have to be at work for a staff meeting at 9:15). Since I started though, I go into work early almost everyday. I have not yet found a way to get everything I need to done in the amount of time I am given. I am told that this will soon change. Everyday I teach 1-2 Activity Room classes for kindergarteners. They only last 40 minutes with the last 10 being spent on playtime. During these periods we play bingo, freeze tag, alphabet games… and so on. I feel like these times are some of the most stressful of my day because the kids just want to run crazy and play on the play structures. It is very difficult to get them to behave at times because I am not their normal teacher and I only see them once a week for 40 minutes. They are super cute though!
I also teach ESL1 everyday from 3pm to 4:20pm. These are kids who are in elementary school and have never taken English before. Most of them are in 1st grade, one is in 2nd, and one is in 3rd. As you can probably guess, this creates quite a large knowledge gap. This class is pretty fun because, even though they do not understand me most of the time, I have lots of free reign when it comes to curriculum. I get to plan a lot of fun activities for them and there always seems to be extra time. The hardest part is that the kids are still having a really hard time with phonics (knowing their letters and sounds) but we have had to move on to words, vowels, and so on. So I have been doing a lot of backtracking to the basics.
On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I teach BC 4 which basically means 4th graders who have gone through the program. There class is from 4:30-7:20 (and remember, this is AFTER all day elementary school). A couple of the students have conversational English to almost the level of an American 4th grader. At times, I forget that I am teaching English Language Learners which is probably not a good thing. It doesn’t help that we use American curriculum though.
I also teach BC 5 in the same time slot but on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This class has been challenging in a lot of ways for multiple reasons. For one, there are 9 students (soon to be 11 starting this week). They are older and do not fit very well into my tiny classroom. Their curriculum is also much more challenging. One of the workbooks they use (TOEFL iBT) is a workbook for high schoolers to test their ability to succeed in English-speaking University. Think of the SAT but only focused on reading, writing, listening, and speaking English. THESE KIDS ARE IN 5TH GRADE!!! The last couple of TOEFL lessons I have taught have been about the Earth’s magnetosphere, Tabula Rasa (Psychology), and the Industrial Revolution. It is ridiculous. Sometimes I’m not even sure of the correct answers from the multiple choice questions and I consider myself pretty smart! So basically my teaching this workbook is me giving them the correct answers. I find this style of teaching for this particular book to be ok though because I have a lot better things to be teaching them and our time is precious.
Anyway, my short post turned into a long one. I will leave you with a couple pictures of my classroom.