Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Doing The Math

While I asked for this last semester, and didn't get one, I decided to ask again, since a whole different Mr Lee is my lead co-teacher for first grade: a copy of the English textbook. O Happy of Happinesses, I received it in a matter of hours. Including the "Activity Book" and the CD-ROMs with the listen-and-repeat audios. Sweet.

My objective, of course, is to coordinate my lessons with the subject matter the students are studying in their "regular" (non-foreign-weird-guy-taught) English classes. Glancing at the TOC (table of contents) with this same Mr Lee, I note there are ten lessons in the book. I ask him, "How long do you take to cover each chapter?" He says, "Two weeks." Mr Hwang concurs. "Yeah ... two weeks."

I note here that the semester is 20 weeks long, from now until July 17th. Exact-a-mundo, as Fonzie would say. So I go off and try to sketch out my "curriculum" matching up my lesson plans/ideas with the themes/content--such as they are--of the textbook.

Looking more carefully at the calendar, I quickly realize we must subtract two weeks' instruction for the taking of midterms and final exams. Aha, I say to myself, I must go back and ask Mr Lee which chapter gets shorted. Since, doing the math, I know that 2 weeks X 10 chapters = 20 weeks, not 18! (I was a math/science teacher in a former life.)

I am surprised to learn from him that the 10 lessons are spread (remember now, this was with a stated coverage of 2 weeks per lesson), not over 20 weeks of the semester, but 39 weeks of the whole school year. From that 39 weeks, subtract out 2 more weeks for 2nd semester exams, then Chuseok, and you're given 34 weeks to cover the 10 lessons in the book.

So my superior mathematics skills indicate a coverage rate of 1 chapter every 3.4 weeks (I'm keenly aware these guys are English teachers and not engineers, but that's an error of 70%). Should I plan accordingly? I doubt it, but I'll get back to you on that: Stay tuned to these pages for the continuing saga of "How Do I Teach Thee? Let Me Count the Weeks..."


Kelsey said...

It constantly amazes me how slowly they go through the textbooks.

Anonymous said...

.........and yet retain nothing.