The classroom is where I spend most of my time.
I catch the 6:40am bus, and arrive at school around 7:26am. I take the 4:02 bus home, rushing out of the classroom about two minutes early so I can catch it, and arrive home around 4:37, just in time to miss helping my flat mates chase the singing trash truck.
During the hours I am at school, I wander between the teacher’s office, and the English classroom, spending most of my time in the latter.
So what happens during those hours? Many students take off their shoes, either lining them up neatly next to the door, or leaving them in a jumble. Chairs are tipped. Pencil cases are unzipped. Phonics are chanted.
When children are not here, the natural light flows in from windows on all sides, as well as some in the ceiling. It is altogether a nice place when you open both doors for a cross breeze. I am thankful we are on the third floor, even though it gets hot, because we get the most natural light.
Most of the time, the students have smiles on their faces.
I’m still not sure how I feel about using this smart board. Every time I accidentally lean against it, it minimises the software or scribbles on something. Just goes to show you that technology can be more trouble than it’s worth.
I spend a lot of time pasting things into books and grading papers.
cutting, grading and checking for correct English.
I really enjoy reading homework papers because of the mistakes and funny words. Is that mean?
When I am not teaching, I often use the computer. There are two in our classroom, I usually use the back one, because the front one is often attached to the projector.
We have a back balcony where I’ve often thought of taking a nap or reading with a breeze.
We use the white boards to hang examples of work we would like the students to produce. This was one of the homework assignments from the first week for 3rd grade, I think. They had to create acronyms of their name with words. I had a lot of fun creating the model.
Each period is 40 minutes long, and we always have the same grade back to back, for example: 5A then 5B. I teach each grade once a week, as I am only allowed to teach half the number of classes that Ellen does. I think this is a fair rule, as I am often mentally fried at the end of the day. Not so much from teaching, as from coteaching. I think it would go a bit more smoothly if I had my own classroom, but as it is now, I shall have to wait at least a year or two before that happens.
Coteaching is probably the most difficult thing and doesn’t really compare to being a substitute. I often feel like I was more useful as a substitute, and felt more professional. I guess being called, ‘Miss Brower’ can really do wonders for your professional self esteem.
As for whether I think this year will prepare me for having my own classroom, of course it will. That said, I am also acutely aware of how different it is to teach English to speakers of other languages (TESOL or TESL) rather than in one classroom where even the youngest students can understand your requests and instructions.
Another huge difference is the number of students I have. Here at KX, I have about 300, and admittedly do not yet know all of their names. At home, in the states, I would have my own class of 30 students tops, and be able to get to know them quite well indeed. Some of the students here do not even know their English name, and I often end up pointing with my palm and asking politely, ‘ Good! Now would you please tell me your English name? 你的英文名字是什麼?’
Everything improves. Everything is worth practice. I just need to keep switching it up so that I don’t get glum doing the same thing every day. The textbooks (I shall do a post on them, as they are quite…interesting) do not change format, so if you’re not careful, things can get quite mundane.
I’m off to get my weekly intellectual stimulation- I am tutoring an English teacher from Taipei on Religion. She has simililar interests to me (Religion and conflict, gender, experience, etc) and I am excited to be able to use my major, because I had really thought I never would except in reading books for pleasure. We are reading, speaking of books, Karen Armstrong’s, “A Case for God” which is quite good so far. I really like her open approach to thinking about Religion, and it affirms some of the ideas I’d had before about it as well.
Ps: This is a lesson I’ve learned this week:
PPS: If you need a cheerful little ditty, here is one song by one of my favourite artists, Yann Tiersen.