Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Students

"Where is your textbook?"
"My grandma burned it."

Little did I know, this was a legitimate excuse which honestly should not have surprised me. Old Korean women have strong personalities and see no need for English. Korean households are more often than American households multi-generational, or simply, the grandparents raise their grand kids. So, when a grandma sees a book filled with English, naturally she tears it up and burns it in the fire. That was one of the funnier discussions I've had with my co-teacher. I mean, of course she tore it up and burned it. It's absolutely hilarious because it's true. For shame, "My dog ate my homework." You're not funny and even if you were true, we all know you force fed that dog like a fois gras goose.

Teaching has been a challenge. For third through sixth grade, I teach out of a textbook and accompanying CD that gets projected onto the touch screen. I think I could do my job better if the school didn't use those books. When I was in between co-teachers, there was a day that I taught by myself and without the book CD because it had gone rogue. It was by far the best day of teaching. I used the board and taught the material. I hadn't realized how much I had already begun to rely on the book activities.
I'm 99% sure "No Zoo" is the only
English phrase this student knows
-- Great sense humor

Unfortunately, disregarding the book is not an option, and I do see how it is working -- the students know English. Their levels vary, but regardless they make the effort and are able to talk to me. Those are precious moments; before and after class, having a bunch of students crowd around my desk and ask me how old I am and what I like to eat and telling me their names. That's a win in my book and perhaps a win for the textbook. I've also always prided myself on being able to work magic within boundaries. However, it's hard. Teaching is hard. Teaching Korean kids is hard. Some days, I just wish someone would take me up and pull a, "You poor, poor girl.

Hypothetical pity parties help shift my focus to the kids themselves. They are so great and have such big personalities; they are worth everything to me as a teacher. It is such a joy to see what they create and how they apply what they have learned. The first and second graders especially surprise me with their incredible minds, because I've turned into an adult and seem to have forgotten how quick and witty kids are. I'm so proud of them all and I love-love-love their work.

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