I’m really enjoying class 1-1, believe it or not.
The funny thing is, the dictation as punishment has really been a wonderful vehicle for me and the class to develop a relationship of sorts.
As a result, these unruly boys have had to be my captive audience, and so I spend a great deal of thought and effort trying to find provocative material for them to consider as they listen and write. For two weeks I read about education in America and told them my own story, and how if I can go from THE WORST educational background in America to being accepted to Yale, then ANYTHING is possible if you want it bad enough. I read about the meaning of family and reunion and personal responsibility. Today I got to class and the class was (will wonders never cease?) getting. out. paper. and. pencil. and . ready…I read two commencement addresses: One by Anna Quindlan and the other by Steve Jobs.
Amazingly, half the class was at full attention listening to the Steve Jobs speech. One of the boys asked if he could have a copy. I think that’s kind of cool that he wasn’t embarrassed to ask for that out loud, so I just gave him my copy and said, “we all need a little inspiration from time to time,” and several heads nodded. I wonder if anyone ever says anything inspiring to them ever.
I’m feeling teaching is very rewarding today. I am glad I chose high school, because there is a certain level of self-determination that I like to appeal to that younger students just wouldn’t have.
In the other classes, I did a pre Halloween lesson. I showed the kids a common craft video on How to kill a zombie. Then, I gave each group images of different monsters/demons/what-have-you and asked the students to give the class a presentation on how to identify, prepare for, and kill the monster they were assigned using ordinals to explain the process instruction. As always, the girls did way better than the guys, and some of the presentations are hilarious. For example, In one scenario I wrote:
Werewolves are eating all the pets in your neighborhood and now your best friend is missing: what will you do?
One girl group decided that first, they would throw a “fat” party. “Why fat?” I asked. “Because he ate so many pets, he must have gotten fat. So we will throw a party for only fat people.” Then, they would drug everyone with sleeping pills. Next, they would check everyone’s teeth for fangs. And finally, they would pull out the fangs with pincers so he couldn’t chew meat anymore.
So I was really pleased with them. The students seem to be most creative when they see an opportunity for humor.
It’s kind of frustrating doing group work, simply because there are sooooo many kids in each class that you can’t engage them, give a lesson, and then give them enough time to both learn how to work on group projects AND prepare for presentation AND present. But somehow we manage to get something put forward each week. The Korean high school English classroom is a strange mixture of middle school projects with really high level vocabulary and elementary school verbal ability. But I think they’re enjoying it. And hopefully they’re speaking more than they were before. Not as in just speaking, but communicating their own thoughts.
Hmmm…do I really want to leave and get a hagwon job or search for the more lucrative but less secure private lesson market? I just wish this assignment wasn’t in Anyang. I’m vascilating and glad I didn’t turn in my letter of intent to not renew. Maybe I would like this job better if I got to move to old Anyang and took a bus into work. Or maybe I should try to get a rural assignment, like a friend of Willies – maybe take over his position if it is still available – where I’d have half as many students I saw twice as much and also make more money.