Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some Co-teachers

Allow me to preface these comments by saying that I am pleased with my school situation--Young-il has been very supportive of me as their NSET, from the top level of administration to the dude who asks permission before he empties the trash in my classroom (or maybe he just thinks foreigners collect wastepaper, I don't know).

Still, some co-teachers ... are better than others.

I mentioned just recently my struggles with a "non-academic" second grade class and my hit-or-miss (let's face it, mostly miss) attempts to engage them. I am at the point where I don't even try to facilitate the curriculum--hell, neither do their other teachers, so I'm told.

Well, today, I had them eating out of the palm of my hand. My hand did have Mini-Twix bars in it, but that's, well, not exactly beside the point, but ... um, hmmm ...
Okay, first, go to this wonderful website and have a look at the part of today's lesson I'm going to talk about, the Halloween Bingo: http://bogglesworldesl. com/halloweenbingo.htm

I carefully explained to them, with PPT diagrams and everything, that to earn a BINGO you have to get FOUR-IN-A-ROW--horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Once you get FOUR-IN-A-ROW, you shout ... you guessed it, "BINGO!" They assured me they were quite familiar with how to play BINGO.

1) Nonetheless, Co interpreted this to the students as they must get ALL THREE four-in-a-rows: horizontal, vertical AND diagonal. Chrissakes! Well, after the game had gone on too long, I overheard a student say, "Oh! I've got one Bingo!" and I rushed over to him.

After checking his items, I said, "Congratulations! You got a Bingo!" Then, a few others said, "I got a Bingo, too!" "Me, also!" Etc... They were waiting to say "BINGO" until they had all three kinds. Chrissake, right?!

A heated discussion ensued but I was adamant that the very powerpoint slide on the screen at the moment made the objective clear. And whoever says BINGO first, and has a verified Bingo, is the winner. So he got his Mini-Twix. But what unnecessary drama!

2) Before we started the game, we reviewed the vocabulary of the Halloween Bingo game. The students' Bingo cards had images on them--like a robot, a skeleton, a vampire, an owl, etc. I put these same images in my PPT and went over each one, twice. They're high school juniors, who have had several Halloweens to learn these terms before now, anyway (alien, superhero, cobweb ...)

Part of the purpose of the game (hell, the only valid educational purpose) was to review then test the vocabulary. The deal was that I would pull an item from my plastic Jack-o'-lantern and call it out in English. Students had to remember the name of the objects on their Bingo card in order to make a match. So, what does Co do? Translate every term--graveyard, black cat, haunted house, et al--into Korean. God forbid they should be required to know a little English in the English classroom.

3) I gave Co my camera, and asked her to take some photos of the class. I did say to please get a good shot of me pulling a Bingo chit from the Jack-o'-lantern. At the back of my classroom is a seven-foot-wide bulletin board, nearly ONE-HALF of which is covered in photographs of various activities being done in my English class. Virtually EVERY photo is focused on a student or group of students doing some kind of activity. Just so you know.

I was pretty busy during Bingo: pulling chits, reading them out, and checking that the kids were on-task; but I glanced at Co to see her seemingly pointing the camera around. I was looking forward to making a collage of this class--weak in English but strong on personality--intently placing the Halloween stickers I bought last night at E-Mart (9000W total) over their Bingo squares. A good addition to the Photo board.

In twenty minutes of Bingo, she took five--count 'em, five--photos. Every damn one is of me, looking at or reading out one of the Bingo words.

Some are better than others.


Foreigner Joy said...

It's hit or miss. Certainly though you can't help but wonder.

Andy Turner said...

That is a great photo Steve. It says everything. The joy of being here and the futility of being here. All in one shot.