My day today was busy non-stop. I went in early, since I was so behind on everything. I had to find pencils and erasers and scissors and books for all my kids. I made a seating chart so that the seats were boy/girl/boy/girl. Except that then I realized that I have 6 girls and 4 boys and that didn't work so well. While I was finishing setting up the classroom, my kids started wandering in. Only half of them were wearing the name tags that they were given yesterday at the opening ceremony. They spoke just about no English, though, most of them could say, my name is .... I had to explain to them that their shoes and book bags go with their name tags, their silverware (they bring their own chopsticks and spoons) and their toothbrushes (they brush their teeth after lunch) go in the cabinet and their jacket gets hung on the hanger with their name on it. Some of them don't recognize their names in English, so you have to find everything for them.
Since they came in while I was getting the classroom set up, I didn't have my teaching supplies with me. I had to run back and get my board markers. I forgot my eraser, and had to use the tissues in the room. Then I brought them on a "school tour". This consisted of me walking around and showing them the water fountain, the sink, the front desk, the library and the bathroom.
We went back to class for 15 more mins and we talked about the date and the weather. I was surprised that they knew the days of the week. I mean... they didn't know that today was Wednesday, but they could shout out words like Saturday! and Monday! They even knew the date when I pointed to it on the calendar. I was impressed. Then we went over the weather. They knew sunny and cold and hot. I taught them sunny and cool, since it's not that cold out anymore.... and I guess you can call it sunny... you could kind of see the sun today through the smog.
Then we went to ballet class in the gym I had my kids line up, hold hands and walk though the hall. I must say, my kids were the best behaved kids I saw in the hall, but maybe I am biased. No one ran or jumped or screamed. They walked in a line and they were reasonably quiet. My partner teacher and I (she teaches in another classroom, but I'll explain that soon) sat and watched our two classes do ballet. It was quite entertaining to watch. I was also impressed with our ballet teacher's good English.
Then we held hands and walked back up to SLP. I was supposed to teach for 20 minutes, then eat snack for 10 minutes, then switch classrooms. Well, I let my pencil helper and eraser helper pass out the pencils and erasers, and I passed out my student's books. But... I suddenly realized that none of the pencils were sharpened. 10 new pencils and only one pencil sharpener among us. Well... as you can imagine, my 2o minutes were spent just sharpening the pencils. Did we write anything? Nope, because then it was time for snack time. So, they went out into the hall, washed their hands, then came back and got an orange. I got an orange too :-) . Then they cleaned up their peels and lined up to go to Jupiter class. Halfway to Jupiter class I decided that this would be the ideal time to bring them to the bathroom. So, I let them all go to the bathroom, even the ones who didn't want to. Then they went to Jupiter class.
In Jupiter class, they are taught by my Korean co-teacher. The students from Jupiter class then came to my classroom, Fornax, to learn today's lesson. During this block, we had 80 minutes to teach. So. We only had two pages of book to learn, so we played Duck, Duck, Goose on the carpet for about half an hour or so. They loved it. I've never seen kids so happy in my life. I'm used to making little kids sit through 40 minute long lectures, I forgot what it was like to see happy kids.
After this block, we switched kids back and we ate lunch. Lunch was good today. Teacher and children both scraped their plates clean (minus the pickles). Some kids even asked for more rice and more soup. I was impressed. I'm sure they would have asked for more donkkasu if that had been an option. I don't think school lunch is so good everyday, but hey, at least I don't have to buy lunch most of the time, like I do too often now. I was only supposed to stay in the room for the first 20 minutes of the 50 minute lunch (/play) time, but getting the kids used to the routine meant that I never left the room.
After lunch, the kids had Afternoon Activity. Fortunately, my kids didn't have to change classrooms, and I was teaching Jupiter class their afternoon activity. I think most days I will switch with other classes that aren't mine. I taught "Kid's Pop". This week's song was "Apples and Bananas". I remember this song from Barney when I was 5 years old or so (sad but true). Unfortunately, maybe I'm not a good music teacher, because half the kids looked absolutely bored to tears by this song. And the sad thing is that I only taught for 20 minutes. Usually, Kids Pop will be a 40 minute class. Great.
Then the kids went back to their homeroom and packed up to go home. I lined them up and brought them to their bus rooms for them to catch their bus to go home.
I feel as though I'm really lucky that I'm starting this now after 7 1/2 months of teaching at SLP. Even though I've never taught pre-school per say, though I have subbed a few times, a little experience with the school, listening to morning teachers talking about their classes all the time, and just teaching experience in general, helped enormously. We have 3 new teachers at the school who have not taught a single class until today. I think it was realllly stressful on them. The only reason why I felt stressed at all was just the fact that I wasn't as prepared as I wanted to be. But as far and actually teaching the class, it was a piece of cake.
After pre-school was over at 2:30, I had a break until 3:30. Sadly, it wasn't really time to do much at all, since I'm just trying to pull myself and all my crap together. I'm swimming between two desks right now. I'm trying to keep all my afternoon books and stuff at my old small afternoon teacher desk, and all my morning stuff at my new big morning desk. I think slowly I'll permanently drift over to my new desk, but that small old desk in the corner has been my home for so long.
At 3:30 I taught my High Kids class. Then I had another 40 min break, and I taught from 5-5:40... my worst class. While in this class (who went nuts on the poor newbie Korean teacher they had today) some of my students pointed out the window to the hallway and made some punching motions. These kids are really low level English, but they know the word punching for some reason though. At first I thought nothing of it, but on second thought, I knew that the kids in that class were my next class, and there are a few troublemaker 4th graders in there. I looked out the window to see a 3th grader boy who was punching the crap out of a 4th grader boy. I had to leave my class and break up the fight. The 4th grade boy was bawling, and the 3rd grader boy who was punching him was on the verge of tears. I sent the 3rd grader to the front desk to sit on the bench, and he went, but as soon as I came out of class 5 mins later, he was back with his classmates. I screamed at him to go back, but then the bell rang. I dragged both of them to my supervisor's office. I've never done that before, as much as I would have liked to. They got verbally abused by my supervisor, which is her trademark, and then got sent back to class, both of them bawling. By the time I got to class, the 3rd grader was calmed down and back in his seat. The 4th grader was holed up in a corner of the room, and refused to come sit at the table. I didn't feel like arguing. Honestly, as long as kids are quiet, I don't care what they do. The rest of class went smoothly.
Then I taught my favorite class last. My class of 3 middle school girls. We wound up fooling around and talking for 15 mins of class, but I think that just sitting around and talking is good for their English, so I don't really mind. I think it's probably more helpful than any book work can be. We talked about Spanish and Japanese and Chinese and how they are different from Korean and English. Teaching them is so much fun.
I really didn't feel tired until after my last class ended at 8:00. Then it started to hit me. But I went home, cooked mac n' cheese, and then went to dance class. :-)
After dance.... well, is now. And here I am, writing this blog post. And I'm exhausted. Its bed time for me. Good night.