Today was a good day, if I consider the start of the day to be 11:40! I finished up a two week subbing stretch which means BANK!, plus the kids were great. I’ll soon be finished with my own little …bunch, which I’m not too bothered about, though I think I’ll miss the original few or perhaps more accurately, the ones I consider the core class.
In other news, I saw the Hello Kitty car again today, wedged up into a parking spot I didn’t know existed in front of the PX Mart.
In other news, my Taiwanese teacher/fried food vendor now has an older buddy who has the thickest accent in the world. I had been starting to wonder about when my ability to detect accents in Chinese would emerge (beyond the most basic this is Beijing and this is Taiwan), but I’ve totally got it down with this guy. Half of his words sounded like he was speaking Taiwanese! He was very helpful, but food words don’t get you far with building useful grammatical sentences. I really want to buy this Taiwanese book, but I haven’t had the money or the time to get into Taipei and find these people. Maybe next weekend!
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Yesterday, I took a class for a friend that’s different in every way from the ones I usually teach. It’s got a spacious classroom, the English teacher teaches every class, and the classes are three or four times a week instead of being only twice. The difference in English level is remarkable, but I think the main thing about the particular kids I had yesterday was how well-behaved and sweet they were, as well as how smart.
We reviewed for a quiz, and once they had finished, I graded them and let the kids read from the bookshelf. Everyone sat around the walls and read silently or quietly with a friend and seemed truly engrossed. I was thrilled, since I love seeing kids enjoy reading! Everyone got 100 on the quiz, so instead of making them hang around the classroom quietly, I took them out to the indoors play area and they ran around and played ghost tag and then freeze tag for about 10 minutes. They chose me for It after I proposed freeze tag (I didn’t want them getting bored!), and let me tell you, running in socks is hard! I didn’t have any success until I took them off and also roped some of my students from one of my favorite classes into helping me.
Then I gave them their real break time to sit and read and drink water, after which they did a crossword and then the homework. It was the easiest $30 of my life, aside from birthday money.
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Posted in Taiwan, tagged Chang Long, da ban, funny, kindergarten, me, observations, subbing, teaching, zhong ban on Tuesday, 27 April 2010|
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Over the past few days, I have spent a lot of time with 4 and 5 year olds, and it’s very fascinating how people just don’t change from then on. There are the tattletales (oh my goodness, are there a lot of tattletales in Chang Long’s 中班! — Teacher, he push and I say “Say sorry to me!” and he no say!), the quiet workers, the power-mad dictators, the helpful and friendly types, and my favorite: the heroes.
Last Monday, I observed this middle class for the second time. Many of them remembered my name from a few weeks ago, when I observed them in preparation for my first kindergarten teaching ever, so I was touched. A few of them even came up and asked me questions in the “run and practice with your friends” part of the class. On Wednesday, I taught and observed (the teacher who was leaving on vacation wasn’t going until late in the evening, so she came in to give me even more ideas and to get paid for 2.5 more hours), and they were still little angels. In fact, I spent a lot of time trying to smother laughter because they were just so cute playing dodgeball and freeze tag. Freeze tag was especially hilarious because as soon as they were tagged, they stood spread-eagled and bawled “Help me! Help me!” until someone came to free them. I wish I’d taken video!
Freeze tag is not a game I ever thought I would use to assess character, but Bonnie is not just a bossy 5 year old; she’s a loyal little hero and tactical mastermind. She saves all the kids, even the irritating ones like Nick. She sizes up how close “It” is before she dives under someone’s legs, and if she might get caught, she rockets off and makes a second pass. Most of the other kids only save friends, and some can’t even manage that. They’re content to run and yell, which is not a bad thing, but the contrast is amusing.
Two children who should be carefully followed in the future because they will become powerful political forces (for good or evil) or petty middle-managers: Alice and Angel. They were the little teachers in the two classes I observed on Monday, and the power shot straight to their heads! To be fair, though, they don’t need the title to be bossy, as I’ve seen in following classes. Some kids take the little teacher title and do nothing but lead the class to the bathroom, but those two micro-managed how the class was sitting and took initiative to propose games and activities.
This really makes me wonder how I was at this age. I suspect I was pretty bossy which implies outgoing, but if so, what happened?!
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Posted in Taiwan, tagged kindergarten, subbing on Thursday, 25 March 2010|
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The money/hell week! I’m subbing two kindergarten classes and 3 Tree House classes in the next three work days, in addition to my normal 3 classes for that time period. Basically, I’ll be teaching what I thought I wanted when I asked for a contract back in February: kindergarten, mid-level, and buxiban, as full-time as an hourly teacher can get. I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll be overjoyed that I’m on the smallest contract come Monday night!
In other news, I get to move in to my new apartment in a week!
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