Posts Tagged ‘Chang Long’

The good things

My sister is here, and that’s good. I had an excellent Spanish work-out on top of the pleasure of a close friend’s company, and I’ve begun planning our big trip.

Also, Wednesday is a one-class day and it was a good one!

Two students in my junior high class came to ask me questions about an assignment before class, and it developed into a larger discussion of their reading habits and school in general.  At the end of the last level, these two girls bought books from me with their earnings throughout the class (muchísimas gracias, Sra Hagar), and they talked to me about the books, how hard it was because the words were so small, and how, for one of them at least, it was her first attempt at an English book of this size.  I encouraged them and told them that it was absolutely okay to take it slow and even put them aside for a while and come back.  These kids are under a lot of pressure, and the main focus of the level I’m teaching is to keep them talking and work on writing.

I’m fortunate to have a small class that is rather outgoing for middle-schoolers, and some days they really crack me up.  We played a somewhat complex game today and it entailed asking some surprisingly hard questions about water.  The quick team was giving each other blatant hints with a little help from me, and I flagrantly cheated to help a girl on the laid-back team.  They all asked for help with problem words, which is always preferable to slowly struggling or slurring past words as students so often do.  I definitely laughed out loud more than once, and silent skinny Frank smiled at least one time.


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Decidedly lowbrow

Dick jokes, everybody.  That’s where this post is headed, just so you know.

It started innocuously enough in my younger class, when I showed them an infected bug bite on my hand and they alternately recoiled and tried to fix me.  One boy Jay said, “Teacher, you have to — this — and on it, and it will okay.”

It was hard to recommend a good correction for this sentence.

As a sidebar, this is pretty typical of communication with many students: there are lots of gestures for unknown vocabulary and decent connecting language.  It could be worse!  To resume, “this” was peeing on the bite, and to drive the point home, a few other boys had to jump up and demonstrate as well, illustratively grabbing their crotches.  One added (or was it Jay again?) that his sister had told him so.

Then I had my second class which was wonderfully responsive and breezy, although I was feeling a little feverish from the room’s heater and the bug bite.  Afterward, I graded homework where I found the two gems in the pictures.

This was a translation exercise, and it should read "My little brother really doesn't like cockroaches." Suffixes are so important.

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Just before Halloween, someone gave my head teacher a pitchfork for her desk.  It struck me as so appropriate, especially since it’s such a small and silly thing, suitable for a bureaucrat who can’t manage.






Here you can see my scooter flirtatiously glancing at another scooter.  I’ve decided she’s a girl, but I haven’t settled on a name.










Some elevators are very advanced here; so much so that it’s possible to strike against the Rebellion from inside of one.

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Last evening’s class was adorable. One kid I’ve fretted over since I started with his class in level one was remarkably responsive and so outgoing that I almost couldn’t believe it. He came right up to me during a patterns practice exercise, and even though he didn’t have the pattern down, I was able to practice with him one-on-one.

Even though there are 20 kids in this class, it’s starting to develop a real comfortable atmosphere. It’s a joined class of about eight originals, nine or ten kids from my old Kids Club class, and a few new ones. It took a while for them to get to know each other, but it’s coalescing and I have high hopes for this class. They really enjoy the singing and I actually find myself having fun playing it up with the dance moves.

One of the new kids is also the oldest one in the class, and he has the most confidence and spunk of all the students. The grammar point of the lesson was the object pronouns it and them, building from him and her in the previous class. To introduce it, I asked them if cookies was a boy or girl, and this kid answered “bogirl.” He’s a character.

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Business as usual

Today I had my favorite class, and it went as well as ever.  To top it off, I got two new students, twins called Herry and Jerry who evened up my return rate for that class.  They must be twelve or thirteen, but they have the deepest voices in the class… but they still wear matching clothes and even matching glasses.

This class has 16 students, but there are only about 10 names between the lot of them!  I have two Bellas, two Peggys, two Brians, and two Jerrys.  On the bright side, I don’t have any ridiculous names like Pony!  I only have to work on Herry, and I’ve had luck convincing students before (Toby was convinced his name was spelled Tobby before I told him otherwise).

Looking through my cell phone pictures, I found a few fun pieces of homework, so I’ll throw them up here without too much segue or explanation.  For this first one, I’ll just comment that you always have one or two of those philosophical types in every class…

For the next two, those who aren’t philosophers are artists with the written word.  Sometimes you don’t understand the art, but you have to respect the effort.

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Remember how much I loved subbing Tree House classes?  Sadly, having a class all your own is not actually better than Step Ahead, like I thought, but worse.  I hate the stupid priorities (the students erase and write corrections over spelling mistakes and grammar errors, and then I have to see it and check that it’s okay, meaning I see their start-of-class quizzes and homework books at least twice, and often three or four times for the lazy or slow ones).  There’s so much busywork to do in one class, but strangely, two hours feels like five.

From right to left, crust crackers, peanut butter and Nutella sauce, and candy and banana toppings.

What this boils down to is that I’m appreciating all my other classes more, especially the silence and calm of the junior high class.  This is not to say they’re un-animated, because they talk well enough and burst into life at break times, but they’re closer to adults and they don’t fight all the time.

On Wednesday I had a end-of-the-level party, since I had introduced the idea of dessert pizza in lesson one, and decided to follow through in the party lesson.  We discussed what goes into a pizza and what substitutions we could make, most of them coming from me and surprising and shocking them.  Peanut butter and banana together?  Peanut butter is a sweet thing?!  No, teacher, no.

In the first hour of class, we played some games and I introduced the new unit, and in the second hour, I laid out the spread and showed them how to make the sweet cracker pizza goodness.  My favorite moment was when a student wracked her brain for a moment and then said she “could deal with” peanut butter and banana.  Idiom usage!  We then played the game where you have a name on your forehead and have to guess who you are with yes or no questions.  We had Katy Perry, Obama, my co-teacher Sharon, Kelly Clarkson, and Little Pig in the class.  Overall, it was quite a success!

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Ell-o See

Homework for my students usually includes a listening comprehension component (LC), which I think is a good thing.  The assignments for the lower levels often require drawing and this is my best source of amusement at work.  I also think this is a good thing.

I present to you “My Family,” a tragic tale of a cool but unhandsome dad, a pretty mom, the homework-writing child, and an ugly, ugly sister.

That poor girl. That poor, poor girl.

Most of the kids had trouble expressing the ugly dad (which is possibly a little sweet), but after a brief reminder, Herman came through like a champion.  My favorite part, though, is the sister.  Her facial expression is amazing: so full of resentment and rage at her hideous looks and the dress she’s been forced into.  I also like how the mom is rocking a slightly aboriginal outfit (this is my guess, since the original dad’s outfit looks a bit similar).

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