If only I could have put every little anecdote to date into words…
Any teacher would tell you that there is never a dull moment when it comes to the classroom. Yes, there are those moments when you want to pull out your hair, but thankfully these are nicely neutralised by the times you can only smile and nod. Maybe even shake your head to disguise a smile that really shouldn’t be spreading across your face.
Two weeks ago, I commented on Facebook about teaching my daycare group the days of the week. Daycare consists of grades 1 and 2, so their English is just starting to take root – more so if they attend private tutoring (hagwons or academies). A lot of them have been exposed to some level of English and their vocabulary is steadily growing, but pronunciation… oh, pronunciation, you evil, evil thing!
Back to daycare. So we’re going through the days of the week. As any Christian would, I naturally started with Sunday (so does the song they learned, so don’t you come lecture me). I say the day, they repeat after me. Easy! Sunday. Sunday. Monday. Monday. Tuesday. Oh dear. Chooozday is about as close as they get. I’m good with that. For some, it’s their first try. Wednesday. Wennnnnnsday. I try and get them to pronounce less of the letter ‘n’, but no luck. We move on. Thursday. First-day. I let this one go. I’m just happy it’s not Pirst-day; at least we’re getting somewhere with phonics. Last one. How bad can it be? I’m all nice about it and break it up into syllables. Sa. Tur. Day. I make them say each syllable individually. No problem. Right? So let’s put them all together. Saturday. Sexurday. Saturday. Sexurday. Sa. Tur. Day. Sexurday. Over and over and over. Eventually I gave up, started singing a random song, just so it would be appropriate for me to break into a very entertained laugh.
Since then, we’ve made progress. Not only do they know the order of the days, but they can pronounce them well (for the most part).
Though I’m sure many would agree (and in fact many did on Facebook), Sexurday is the best day of the week!
Today something happened that stood out, too.
On Wednesdays I teach two kindergarten classes. Not my favourite part of the week by a long shot. 30 little kids running around (seriously, as soon as one is contained, five more jump up and go nuts). No English. No co-teacher. And they hit one another. And cry. All the time. I don’t do crying kids!
In the younger group, there’s this boy. The first time I saw him, I pegged him as, well, an energetic specimen. Spot-on. This kid doesn’t walk. He hops. He doesn’t run. He dances. He doesn’t sit. He momentarily pauses before embarking on his next adventure.
But I love him.
He’s a little bigger than the rest of the class, and a lot more confident, so I think he may be a year older. Not important. This kid. I never leave in a bad mood. Whenever he sees me, he breaks out into his English repertoire.
“Hello. How are you? I’m fine. I’m sorry.”
What makes it all the more amusing is his clipped accent. And his hand gestures. With each phrase he gestures with a pointed finger, almost like he’s scolding me. Just cuter.
Today he was walking around with four pieces of paper: pink, blue, green and yellow. He showed them to me. Instinctively, I threw in an impromptu lesson.
Here’s our little interaction:
Me: Ooh, different colours! Give me blue.
Him: (Gives me the blue piece)
Me: Thank you! Green?
Him: (Gives me the green piece)
Me: Thanks. Yellow?
Him: Hello. How are you? I’m fine.
Me: No, I mean the yellow paper. Ye. Low.
Him: Hello. How are you? I’m fine.
Four or five times. Of course I was just having fun, so I rung it out a little. I get to do these things, because they make me smile and remember that I love my job.
And who wouldn’t love their (teaching) job, if they got to have fun for 22 periods a week, with no back-chatting, no bunking, no marking, no invigilation and no admin. 🙂