Sunday, April 5, 2015

Blog Carnival: Teaching and Age Preferences

It is my fourth month contributing to the Reach to Teach | Teach Abroad Blog’s monthly "Blog Carnival." Each month, a blogger-teacher-traveler hosts and asks a question, which is voluntarily answered by interested bloggers. Published by the fifth of each month by the host on their blog, the Blog Carnival focuses on advice and helpful tips for ESL teachers. If you'd like to contribute to next month's Blog Carnival, please do contact Dean at - it is a very welcoming process. 

I taught English as a Second Language (ESL) in two rural elementary schools in South Korea for one year (2013-2014). I also was a teaching assistant at Creative Learning Preschool in Wisconsin for seven months prior to Korea. I mainly taught in the Two-Year Old Program. 

April 2015 – Rebecca Thering:
Rebecca Thering of Rebe With A Clause asks:
"Who is best to teach? Adults? Teens? Kindergarten? Which group do you love teaching and why?"

"Good cheese." That is how I would sum up the level of interactions I have with my twenty-something peers and other adults, most often parents of the elementary-aged students and kids I teach and/or babysit. When I'm at a party, I am nine out of ten times making friends at the food table by commenting on how good the food is. I'm just very awkward with adults and end up trying to play to their expectations.

I often say that I could handle the straight-laced, dedicated student-type teenagers; I could be a great teacher to teenagers who were like me as a teen. That is my comfort zone, which I agree is pretty pathetic. With teens, I'm playing a line between trying figure out what they still like (action figures and hide-and-seek) and what is appropriate for them to start liking (scary movies and current events?), and I just don't like that confusion. I didn't like it when I was in middle/high school, and I feel at even more of a loss going at it as an adult.

One of the things I most admire about young kids is how "pure of heart" they are, as my Korean co-teacher would say. They love-love-love learning at its core and are genuinely curious about the world around them. I think kids hit an age where learning becomes less joyful and more quantitative. Even as an adult, when learning becomes more of an enthusiastic and fulfilling choice, I might be tempted to get an injection of fluency in French if that were possible. The idea of being able to take a pill, like in the Bradley Cooper thriller "Limitless," that would make you smarter, faster, more successful is pleasing to fantasize about.

Young kids don't care where knowledge lands them; the experiences themselves are what they crave and cannot get enough of. They are smart and endlessly creative. They like the feeling of sand and paint and running water. They are fashionistas who pause in front of mirrors to make silly faces. Absorbent sponges, young minds are resilient, forgiving, and full of honest judgements.


Abigail prefers walking to motorized vehicles and likes the idea of slow travel, getting to know a place by building up a routine that absorbs the new culture. Her interests include illustration, editing (film & writing), reviews, boston terriers, artist books, and iPhonography. 

1 comment:

  1. I love hanging out with kids too—I think you've captured another reason of why teaching elementary was so enjoyable for me. There's way less pressure when you're communicating with them, unlike with our peers—which is when my mind sometimes runs ("How will they interpret this?" "Will they wrongly assume x if I say y?" etc.)

    But the world so needs people who are comfortable hanging out with young kids!