Monday, August 6, 2012

Things I've learned from Teaching:

This picture above is our school soccer yard, which is shared with the High school. (The students hate this)

 Below, a funny poster the students made. Holding hands is okay, but kissing is a no-no!

I love teaching. It's hard, stressful, and half the time I have no idea what I am doing. But, I love it. It's the kids that make me love it. 

I've learned a lot when it comes to teaching. I went into this job with zero experience. I've never taught before in my life, nor have I ever tutored anyone.  I am not an English major.  I was assigned a middle school. I thought I was set up to be a complete failure! But, with God's help, slowly I started learning the ropes and began enjoying myself. The kids are simply amazing and I wish I could continue to watch them as they grow up.

The first thing I learned is that if you aren't interested, then your kids certainly aren't interested. Yes, you can teach them the lesson right out of the book, but if it is boring to you then it's ten times as boring to the kids.

Secondly, I learned to cheat. That's right, I cheat my students. I learned this the first time I played a game with my students. It's very important!   Even if you try to split them up into fair teams, sometimes one team will just crush the others.  If one team is losing badly, they will give up. So, you cheat.  It has to be done very subtly though, because the students are very smart.  You have to make it look by chance.  If one team is ahead, maybe the next round I pick a question I think the losing team could get right, then say the question is worth five points instead of one. This doesn't always work though, sometimes your smart students will still get the answer first.  There are also 'bomb' games. These games are quiz type games but they have chances to steal or get a 'bomb' which blows up their own points. These games are great because anyone can win despite their skill level.

Thirdly, I learned to lose on purpose. Usually, the teacher is just the moderator of the team, but there has been one of two occassions where I have participated in a game with my students. After I won, i immediately realized what should have been the obvious, I should have lost on purpose.  The students know you are smarter than them, so winning against the teacher is a huge confidence boost to them.  I recently introduced the game Pit to my students. This american game is very simple, you have to trade cards with other players and get a full matching set to win. However, there is one bad card in the game and if the game ends and you have that card in your hand, then you are the ultimate loser.  I noticed one boy tended to get this card a lot and he was getting discourage by it.  So, I started trading with him more and getting the card back.  Sometimes i'd keep it, other times i'd give it to one of the high spirited boys who would laugh it off.
Fourthly and finally, majority doesn't always work. I have several games in my arsenal that I play with the kids during free time.  A lot of my kids love kpop so i'll play a game that has to do with kpop. I always give my students a choice what game to play, and they always choose kpop. Though, i've started to notice that while most of my students love that we play this type of game often, there are a small few that don't like this game and the fact that we play it often frustrates them and they stop paying attention to class. It's important to rotate no matter if other games aren't as popular.  You have to think of the class as a whole and can't exclude some of the children because their interests are different.

Below are some stories I wrote with my Summer Class. There were just five students during the entire week session. We took turns writing sentences.
"Once upon a time there was a short boy. He is a crazy. But he is handsome. He wanted to fly. He is in the hospital. He is die. He became a ghost. He has big body. He scared people. He flies everywhere. He fell down. He point spot and comeback to life. The end."
"She has long legs. She is thin. She was tall and she has a pretty face. She is Hulk. Today the Hulk meets her friend. But Hulk's friend is Shrek. But pretty. They started fighting. The Hulk win. But Hulk is a good student."  (For this one I told the students they wrote english and I'd write Korean, so the korean on the page is mine)


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